Directory

More than anything, the Kinder Institute is a vibrant, diverse community of scholars who share not only an academic interest in rigorously unpacking the complex history of constitutional democracy in the U.S. and around the globe but also a commitment to collective inquiry. Both in the classroom and beyond it, our undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty learn both alongside and from one another, and they do so with the kind of civility and interdisciplinary curiosity that is essential to generating innovative scholarship and engaging in productive discourse.

You can contact the Kinder Institute front desk with questions at, (573) 882-3330. For questions specifically regarding undergraduate programs, contact Dr. Thomas Kane, Director of Undergraduate Studies, at KaneTC@missouri.edu.

Use the tabs below to meet the people who make up the Kinder Institute.

Thomas Bennett

Thomas Bennett

Kinder Institute Faculty,

Kinder Institute Associate Professor of Constitutional Democracy, MU Law Associate Professor and Wall Family Fellow, thomas.bennett@missouri.edu
Thomas Bennett is Associate Professor of Constitutional Democracy at the Kinder Institute and Associate Professor and Wall Family Fellow at MU’s School of Law, where he teaches constitutional law and civil procedure. His research focuses on how complex civil litigation strains the relationship between state and federal courts and impacts the separation of powers. Professor Bennett’s scholarship has appeared or will appear in the NYU Law Review, the Cornell Law Review, and the Minnesota Law Review. Before joining the faculty in 2020, he was a Furman Academic Fellow at NYU School of Law and spent four years in private practice litigating appeals, complex civil cases, and administrative matters. Professor Bennett is also a former law clerk to the Honorable Gerard E. Lynch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the Honorable Jesse M. Furman of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. He holds a JD magna cum laude from NYU School of Law and a BA with honors from Swarthmore College.

Billy Coleman

Billy Coleman

Kinder Institute Faculty,

Assistant Teaching Professor (Kinder Institute, MU Honors College, Department of History), colemanw@missouri.edu
Billy Coleman coordinates the collaborative Kinder/Honors sequence in Revolutions and Constitutions and directs the Kinder Institute Democracy Lab. He is the author of Harnessing Harmony: Music, Power, and Politics in the United States, 1788-1865 (University of North Carolina Press)—winner of the American Musicological Society’s H. Robert Cohen/RIPM Award—and his research articles on early and nineteenth-century American music and politics appear in the Journal of Southern History, the Journal of the Early Republic, and Oxford Bibliographies in American Literature. Previously, after completing a Ph.D. in History at University College London (UCL), he held postdoctoral fellowships with the Kinder Institute and in the Department of History at the University of British Columbia. He was the Book Reviews Editor of American Nineteenth Century History for five-years and is co-editing an upcoming special issue on music in American nineteenth-century history for the same publication. His new project, “Making Music National in a Settler State,” is exploring the transnational origins of national music in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Alongside the Revolutions and Constitutions sequence, Dr. Coleman regularly teaches history seminars on the American Revolutionary Era and The Young Republic for the Kinder Institute, interdisciplinary humanities electives in the Honors College, and survey courses in early American history.

 

Carli N. Conklin

Carli N. Conklin

Kinder Institute Faculty,

Kinder Institute Associate Director, Associate Professor of Law and Constitutional Democracy, conklinc@missouri.edu
Carli N. Conklin is the Kinder Institute Associate Director, Associate Professor at the School of Law, and Associate Professor of Constitutional Democracy in the College of Arts & Science.

Professor Conklin’s research interests are in American legal and intellectual history. She completed her B.S. in English and M.A. in Education at Truman State University and studied law and history at the University of Virginia through a joint J.D./M.A. program in American legal history. She was awarded the School of Law’s Madeleine and John Traynor Prize for her Master’s thesis, which explored state court treatment of arbitration in early America. Professor Conklin served as Associate Professor of History and Co-Director of the Pre-Law Professional Program at John Brown University before returning to U.Va. to complete her Ph.D. in History. Her dissertation explored the meaning of the pursuit of happiness in historical context.

Professor Conklin’s research has been published by the American Journal of Legal History, the Ohio State University Journal on Dispute Resolution, the University of Missouri Journal of Dispute Resolution, and the Washington University Jurisprudence Review. Her recent book, The Pursuit of Happiness in the Founding Era:  An Intellectual History, was published through the Kinder Institute’s Studies in Constitutional Democracy monograph series with the University of Missouri Press.

Professor Conklin teaches courses in lawyering and dispute resolution at the School of Law and courses on intellectual history at the Kinder Institute. She serves as the Kinder Institute Director of Undergraduate Studies, coordinating, among other things, the Society of Fellows program and the Constitutionalism and Democracy Honors College course series.

Jay Dow

Jay Dow

Kinder Institute Faculty, Advisory Board,

Kinder Institute Professor of Constitutional Democracy, Professor of Political Science, dow@missouri.edu
Jay Dow is Professor of Political Science and 2017-2020 Frederick A. Middlebush Chair in Political Science. Before coming to the University of Missouri, he earned an undergraduate degree at the University of Oregon and a Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin. Professor Dow’s research focuses on voting and elections, which he approaches from the public choice tradition in political science, as reflected in his recent book, Electing the House: The Adoption and Performance of the Single-Member District Electoral System (University Press of Kansas, March 2017). Professor Dow regularly teaches courses on American government, parties and elections, and American political thought, as well as the “Constitutional Debates” course for the Kinder Institute’s Honors College series, and he also organizes the Jefferson Book Club, an extracurricular undergraduate reading group that meets monthly to discuss great books in the classical liberal tradition.

Rob Fletcher

Rob Fletcher

Kinder Institute Faculty,

Kinder Professor of British History, Professor of History, r.fletcher@missouri.edu
Rob Fletcher is Kinder Professor of British History and Professor of History at the University of Missouri. His work explores the history of Britain and its empire in the modern period, and the interplay of national, transnational, and global histories. He grew up in Colchester, England, and read Modern History at Magdalen College, University of Oxford. He lived in Tokushima, Japan, before returning to Oxford to complete his doctoral studies. He has previously held positions as the Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Global History at Oxford, Lecturer in Imperial and Global History at the University of Exeter, and Reader in the History of Britain and Empire at the University of Warwick.

Professor Fletcher’s research on the history of Britain’s empire is wide-ranging, and has appeared in Past and Present, The English Historical Review, Journal of Historical Geography, and Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient. He is the author of British Imperialism and ‘The Tribal Question’: Desert Administration and Nomadic Societies in the Middle East, 1919-1936 (Oxford University Press, 2015), which told the story of what happened when the British empire and Bedouin communities met on the desert frontiers between the Mediterranean Sea and the Persian Gulf. His second book, The Ghost of Namamugi (Amsterdam University Press, 2019) provided an examination of mercantile ambition and imperial power in Shanghai and Yokohama in the mid-nineteenth century.

Professor Fletcher has been the Principal Investigator on a number of research projects supported by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, including a Science in Culture award on the international campaign against the desert locust in the twentieth century. In conducting his research, he has collaborated with a number of museums and public organisations in the UK, Europe, and Australia. His current book project examines Britain’s historic relationship with the world’s desert environments.

Matthew Frierdich

Matthew Frierdich

Kinder Institute Faculty,

Assistant Teaching Professor (Kinder Institute, Honors College, Truman School), mfghp@missouri.edu
Originally from Kirkwood, MO, Matthew Frierdich received his B.A. in History and Government from Drury University, his M.Div from Vanderbilt Divinity School, and his Ph.D. in Political Theory from University of Virginia. Prior to joining the Mizzou faculty as an Assistant Teaching Professor, jointly appointed in the Honors College, Kinder Institute, and Truman School of Government and Public Affairs, he served as a board-certified chaplain at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville. At the Honors College and Kinder Institute, he co-coordinates the new Revolutions and Constitutions social science sequence. His dissertation at UVA, entitled “Turning Rubble and Memory into Seeds: Visions of Democracy in Monument Removal,” focuses on how activism around public memorializations of race and racialized violence offer possibilities and pitfalls for the work of social transformation. As memory becomes a popular political vernacular for articulating justice in the U.S. and elsewhere, the project considers how memory activism raises questions about what democratic engagement must become to cultivate new ways of being human.

To stay grounded in an otherwise chaotic world, Dr. Frierdich loves to tend to his garden, mostly vegetables and a few flowers. He also stays invested in Marvel comics, horror films, and anywhere that sells used books. His partner Emily, son Ezra, and cats Zelda and Tish fill up his cup every day.

 

Alan Gibson

Alan Gibson

Kinder Institute Faculty,

Kinder Institute Distinguished Faculty Fellow, argc5f@missouri.edu
Alan Gibson is Professor of Political Science at California State University, Chico. His focus is American political thought, especially that of the American founding. Gibson has held fellowships from the International Center for Jefferson Studies in Charlottesville, Virginia, the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has published articles in, among other journals, American Political Thought, Polity, History of Political Thought, and The Review of Politics. Gibson is the author of two books on the historiography of the American founding, both published by University Press of Kansas, and he is currently working on a study of the political thought of James Madison, tentatively titled James Madison and the Creation of an Impartial Republic. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Notre Dame.

Rodolfo Hernandez

Rodolfo Hernandez

Kinder Institute Faculty,

Kinder Institute Assistant Teaching Professor of Constitutional Democracy, Assistant Teaching Professor of Political Science, hernandezrk@missouri.edu
Rodolfo (Rudy) Hernandez is a Kinder Institute Assistant Teaching Professor of Constitutional Democracy and Assistant Teaching Professor of Political Science. His research focuses on political theory and American political development, and his dissertation considers the political economy of Abraham Lincoln’s thought, especially as it relates to the principle of equality expressed by the Declaration of Independence. Recently his work has appeared in The Political Science Reviewer.  He frequently teaches American Government, American Political Thought, and Race and the American Story. Dr. Hernandez received his Ph.D. in Political Theory from Louisiana State University (2017) and his B.A. from St. John’s College (Annapolis, 1999). He previously taught as a Visiting Instructor at Louisiana Tech University and as a Senior Lecturer at Texas State University, and he served from 2018-20 as a Kinder Institute Postdoctoral Fellow in Political Thought & Constitutionalism. He also has prior government experience, including having been in AmeriCorps, having worked as a tax examiner in the U.S. Treasury Department, and eight years in the U.S. Army Reserve.

 

Jennie Ikuta

Jennie Ikuta

Kinder Institute Faculty,

Kinder Institute Assistant Professor of Constitutional Democracy, Assistant Professor of Political Science, jcikuta@missouri.edu
Jennie Ikuta is an Assistant Professor of Political Science in the Truman School of Government & Public Affairs and an Assistant Professor of Constitutional Democracy at the Kinder Institute. Born in San Diego and raised in Yokohama, Japan, she returned to the United States as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago (2007) and completed her Ph.D. in political theory at Brown University (2014).

As a political theorist, Ikuta’s research interests center on the role of moral psychology in politics, especially in 19th- and 20th-century political thought. Her first book, Contesting Conformity: Democracy and the Paradox of Political Belonging (Oxford University Press, 2020) examines the thought of Tocqueville, Mill, and Nietzsche in order to investigate the notion of nonconformity and its relationship to modern democracy. Articles drawn from this project have been published in Constellations (2017) and Philosophy & Social Criticism (2015).

Since then, she has turned her attention to the kinds of motivations necessary for generating social change in contexts of historical injustice. This is the focus of her second book project, White Losses: Moral Psychology and the Demands of Racial Justice, which is under advance contract at Oxford University Press. This project employs the thought of Ida B. Wells-Barnett, W.E.B. Du Bois, and James Baldwin—in conjunction with analyses of popular forms of American liberalism and contemporary political theory—to illuminate the psychological transformations required by members of historically dominant groups for the sake of a more egalitarian society. Articles drawn from this project have been published in The Journal of Politics (2021) and Polity (2022); another is forthcoming in Political Theory.

Marcus P. Nevius

Marcus P. Nevius

Kinder Institute Faculty,

Kinder Institute Associate Professor of Slavery and Atlantic World History, Associate Professor of History, mpnevius@missouri.edu
Marcus P. Nevius is Associate Professor of Slavery and Atlantic World History at the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy, jointly appointed in the Department of History. He leads undergraduate and graduate seminars in topics of slavery, the Revolution, Confederation, and Early Republican periods in the early United States, and seminar topics in the history of the African diaspora in the Atlantic world.

Nevius is the author of City of Refuge: Slavery and Petit Marronage in the Great Dismal Swamp, 1763-1856 (University of Georgia Press, 2020). He has also published “New Histories of Marronage in the Anglo-Atlantic World and Early America,” in History Compass, and “Global Warfare, Conspiracy Scares, and Slave Revolts in a World of Fear,” Review of Books, in the William and Mary Quarterly. He has published book reviews in Slavery and Abolition, the Journal of African American History, the Journal of Southern History, and H-Net Civil War.

Nevius’ work has been supported by research fellowships granted by the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan; the Special Collections Research Center of the Earl Gregg Swem Library at the College of William and Mary; the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at Mount Vernon; and the Virginia Museum of History and Culture in Richmond.

Nevius holds the Ph.D. in history from The Ohio State University, and the B.A. and M.A. in history from North Carolina Central University.

Jeffrey L. Pasley

Jeffrey L. Pasley

Kinder Institute Faculty,

Kinder Institute Chair of Early American History, Professor of History, pasleyj@missouri.edu
Jeffrey L. Pasley is Professor of History and Journalism, Frederick A. Middlebush Chair of History, and the Kinder Institute Chair in of Early American History. A graduate of Carleton College, he was a reporter-researcher for The New Republic and a speechwriter for Al Gore’s 1988 presidential campaign before entering academia. He completed his Ph.D. in the History of American Civilization at Harvard University and taught at Florida State University before coming to Missouri in 1999. His teaching and research focus on American political culture between the American Revolution and the Civil War. Professor Pasley is co-editor of Beyond the Founders: New Approaches to the Political History of the Early American Republic (2004) and author of “The Tyranny of Printers”: Newspaper Politics in the Early American Republic (2001) and The First Presidential Contest: The Election of 1796 and the Beginnings of American Democracy (2013), the latter of which was named a finalist for the prestigious George Washington Book Prize.

Haley Proctor

Haley Proctor

Kinder Institute Faculty,

MU Law and Kinder Institute Visiting Fellow in Constitutional Litigation
Haley Proctor joins the Kinder Institute and MU Law School as a jointly-appointed Visiting Fellow in Constitutional Litigation after having practiced law for seven years at Cooper & Kirk, PLLC, where she specializes in constitutional litigation and will remain of counsel. She previously served as a law clerk for Justice Clarence Thomas on the United States Supreme Court and for Judge Thomas B. Griffith on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Her research focuses on civil procedure and constitutional law, and specifically on the rules that allocate and guide decision-making. She graduated from Yale Law School in 2012, and from Yale College, magna cum laude, in 2009.

Emily F. Regier

Emily F. Regier

Kinder Institute Faculty,

Kinder Institute Assistant Professor of Constitutional Democracy, Assistant Professor of Political Science, eregier@missouri.edu
Emily F. Regier is an Assistant Professor of Political Science in the Truman School of Government & Public Affairs and an Assistant Professor of Constitutional Democracy at the Kinder Institute. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Pennsylvania and her J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Emily focuses on American constitutionalism, public law, and legal theory. Her research connects prominent models of judicial decision making to different conceptions of democracy. Her work suggests that dominant accounts of judicial decision making in terms of judicial ideology and/or strategic action are too narrow. A fuller understanding of judicial decision making requires attention to the political suppositions of different legal frameworks, including, importantly, their understandings of and orientations toward democracy.

Emily is particularly interested in the development and legacy of the mid-twentieth century institutional-competence-based framework for legal decision making known as Legal Process Theory. She also has research interests in American pragmatism and feminist theory.

Alec Zuercher Reichardt

Alec Zuercher Reichardt

Kinder Institute Faculty,

Kinder Institute Assistant Professor of Constitutional Democracy, Assistant Professor of History, reichardta@missouri.edu
Alec Zuercher Reichardt received a Ph.D. at Yale University and joined the Kinder Institute faculty in Fall 2018 as an Assistant Professor of Constitutional Democracy and an Assistant Professor of History, after spending a year as a junior visiting fellow at the Center for Humanities & Information at the Pennsylvania State University. Prof. Reichardt’s research revolves around 18th century European and Indigenous empires in North America and the Atlantic World, with a project currently in the works that examines the contest for the American Interior in the decades before the American Revolution and maps the development of communications infrastructure over the long Seven Years’ War. Prof. Reichardt’s next project will turn toward the spatial politics of native and Euro-American transportation landscapes, from the colonial period through the rise of the early American state. ​

Jay Sexton

Jay Sexton

Kinder Institute Faculty, Advisory Board,

Rich and Nancy Kinder Chair of Constitutional Democracy, Professor of History, Kinder Institute Director, sextonj@missouri.edu
Jay Sexton is the Rich and Nancy Kinder Chair of Constitutional Democracy, Professor of History, and Director of the Kinder Institute. A native of Salina, Kansas, Sexton returned to the Midwest to the University of Missouri in 2016 after spending the better part of two decades at Oxford University in England. He started in Oxford as a grad student Marshall Scholar and worked his way up to being Director of the Rothermere American Institute (RAI) and, upon his departure, being elected a Distinguished Fellow of the RAI and an Emeritus Fellow of Corpus Christi College.

Sexton specializes in the political and economic history of the nineteenth century. His research situates the United States in its international context, particularly as it related to the dominant global structure of the era, the British Empire. His most recent book, A Nation Forged by Crisis: A New American History (Basic Books, 2018), argues that international forces shaped the course of U.S. history during its greatest moments of transformative change.

His other books include Debtor Diplomacy: Finance and American Foreign Relations in the Civil War Era, 1837-1873 (Oxford, 2005; 2nd ed. 2014) and The Monroe Doctrine: Empire and Nation in Nineteenth-Century America (Hill and Wang, 2011). He also has published four major collaborative projects: The Global Lincoln (co-edited with Richard Carwardine, Oxford, 2011); Empire’s Twin: U.S. Anti-Imperialism from the Founding to the Age of Terrorism (co-edited with Ian Tyrrell, Cornell, 2015); Crossing Empires: Taking U.S. History into Transimperial Terrain (co-edited with Kristin Hoganson, Duke 2020); and, also co-edited with Kristin Hoganson, The Cambridge History of America and the World: Vol. 2, 1820-1900 (Cambridge, 2021).

Sexton enjoys working with enterprising students, undergrad or grad, who set their own intellectual agenda. When he is not reading or talking history, he is cheering for KC sports teams and following British politics.

.

Charles U. Zug

Charles U. Zug

Kinder Institute Faculty,

Kinder Institute Assistant Professor of Constitutional Democracy, Assistant Professor of Political Science, czug@missouri.edu
Charles U. Zug is Kinder Assistant Professor of Constitutional Democracy and Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Missouri. He received his Ph.D. in Government from the University of Texas at Austin. His expertise is in American political development and constitutional theory, with a focus on the American presidency and the relationship between ideas and institutional development. In addition to scholarly articles, book chapters, and popular press writings, he is the author of Demagogues in American Politics (Oxford University Press, 2022) and Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Federal Highway Act (University Press of Kansas, 2024). Among other projects, he is currently writing a book tentatively titled Constructing a Mythology of American Federalism.