Federalism and Constitution-Making in the Post-Revolutionary Americas

Constitutions and constitutionalism have been major threads for research and discussion in the Liberalism in the Americas project, and it seems they are becoming the focus of a lot of new investigation. On 6 June, the York Centre for the Americas is hosting a one-day symposium on “Federalism and Constitution-Making in the Post-Revolutionary Americas”, with the involvement of several network members, including Nicholas Guyatt, Rosie Doyle, Jay Sexton, and David Jones.

Just as the Liberalism in the Americas project has considered the role of liberal constitution-making in the legitimisation of new states in the Americas following the revolutions for Independence, with Prof. Linda Colley’s lecture amongst others, this symposium seeks to investigate the transnational processes and debates shaping constitution-making, with the focus of discussion on federalism rather than liberalism.,

As the advertising flyer for the symposium indicates, the symposium wants to explore several core issues that have been central to our events in the Liberalism in the Americas series: “Why did so many federations emerge in the Americas during the Age of Revolutions? Were these emerging polities isolated or connected events? Had the US perfected an exportable model for the Americas, or did European constitutional arrangements remain influential? Or were the new constitutions of Latin America principally shaped by local concerns, debates and innovations?” For an indication of how our various events have intervened in these issues, you can catch up with a series of videos, conference reports and working papers here.

It is also worth emphasising that the York symposium is pursuing a transnational and comparative approach. Bringing together perspectives from North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Atlantic World, and situating those perspectives in the context of world history has been a consistent aim of the Liberalism in the Americas project from the very outset, with our launch events, including an excellent lecture by Prof. Greg Grandin, transcending the old North-South divide! Throughout the project, bringing together North Americanists and Latin Americanists in particular has been extremely productive (if very challenging at times!) and it is wonderful to see similar approaches being taken in other research projects.

I can’t attend the 6 June event at York, but I’m sure it will be of enormous interest to many of our network members. To register interest in attending, and for further details, contact David Jones. Speakers include: Catherine Andrews (Escuela Nacional de Biblioteconomía y Archivonomía, Mexico City); Rosie Doyle (Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London); Jordana Dym (Skidmore College); Max Edling (King’s College, London); David Jones (University of York); Jay Sexton (Corpus Christi College, Oxford); and Jordi Vernet (Rovira i Virgilli University).

It would be great to have some more info about the discussions that take place at the symposium to share with network members who can’t attend. So, if anyone wants to write a guest-blog on the event – let me know!

This entry was posted in Events, Non-ISA events, Research Themes by Deborah Toner. Bookmark the permalink.

About Deborah Toner

Deborah worked at the Institute for the Study of the Americas as a postdoctoral research fellow in Latin American history from 2011-12, on the project ‘Liberalism in the Americas’, which is creating a digital library of resources for the study of liberalism in Peru and Argentina in the long nineteenth century. Now a Lecturer in Modern History at the University of Leicester, Deborah continues to work with ISA in overseeing the Liberalism in the Americas project as it comes to fruition. She completed her PhD on alcohol and nation-building in nineteenth-century Mexico at the University of Warwick, where she also completed her MA and BA in history.

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