Shawnee Trail Conference

Started in 2015, the annual Shawnee Trail Regional Conference is designed to foster intellectual connections between scholars who work and study at institutions located along the former Shawnee Cattle Trail, which ran from Texas to Missouri, passing through (or skirting past) Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Open to faculty and graduate students whose work focuses on all aspects of American politics and constitutionalism, broadly defined to encompass political and constitutional development, political thought, and public law, the Shawnee Trail Conference convenes annually, rotating between the Kinder Institute’s home in Columbia, MO, and other locations throughout the region, and utilizes a sequential panel format with presenters pre-circulating papers in advance of the meeting date.

The 2019 Shawnee Trail Conference will be held March 7-8 in Columbia, MO, with a graduate workshop taking place on the 7th and panels on the 8th. In addition, a pair of book symposia will be held on the 7th, for Boston University Professor of Law and Paul M. Siskind Research Scholar Linda C. McClain’s Bigotry, Conscience, and Marriage: Past and Present Controversies (under contract with Oxford University Press) and Boston University Honorable Paul J. Liacos Professor of Law James E. Fleming’s Constructing Basic Liberties: A Defense of Substantive Due Process (under contract with University of Chicago Press).

A call-for-papers for the 2019 Conference will be made available on the Kinder Institute website prior to the start of the fall semester. A full list of panels and papers from the 2018 Shawnee Trail Conference can be found here, in the Institute’s Spring 2018 newsletter.

General inquiries about the 2019 Shawnee Trail Conference can be directed to Kinder Institute Director Justin Dyer (, and questions specifically about the March 7 graduate workshop should be directed to Baylor University Associate Professor of Political Science Curt Nichols (

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