Society of Fellows

Applications for the 2018-2019 Society of Fellows Program are now open, and materials can be accessed using the link below:

The deadline to apply is Friday, March 2, 2018, and an optional information sessions will be held on Tuesday, February 20, 2018, at 5:00pm in Jesse Hall 410. Any questions about the application process can be directed to Kinder Institute Communications Associate Thomas Kane, at


The Society of Fellows is a competitive academic fellowship program exclusive to University of Missouri undergraduates that provides participants with an opportunity to build an intellectual community devoted to an in-depth exploration of the philosophical foundations, historical development, and contemporary practice of American constitutional democracy.

The three cornerstones of Society of Fellows programming are:


The Society of Fellows kicks off each year with a four-day, three-night residential summer conference held at the Tiger Hotel in downtown Columbia. The conference provides each new class of fellows with an introduction to the program’s interdisciplinary approach to studying the American constitutional and democratic traditions through a series of seminars, discussions and dinners with Kinder Institute faculty. Past seminars have examined topics ranging from the influence of Republican Rome on democratic thought in America to the long and entangled history of money and politics. Participation in the summer residential conference is a mandatory component of membership in the Society of Fellows.


Fellows continue their study of the theory, history, and practice of American constitutional democracy throughout the academic year through quarterly dinner lectures and discussions with University of Missouri faculty and invited guests of the Kinder Institute. Attendance at each quarterly dinner meeting also is a mandatory component of Society of Fellows participation. During the 2015-16 academic year, these quarterly meetings included lunches with Pulitzer Prize-winning authors David McCullough and Annette Gordon-Reed, a dinner lecture on civil discourse with MU Law Professors Christina Wells and Paul Ladehoff, and a Q&A with Professor of African History Frances Musoni prior to a screening of the critically acclaimed documentary Democrats.

In addition to these quarterly meetings, the Kinder Institute often holds exclusive events with visiting scholars and professionals for Society of Fellows members.


All members of each class of the Society of Fellows are invited to take part in the creation of the Kinder Institute’s annual undergraduate-run Journal on Constitutional Democracy. Founded by Anurag Chandran, a member of the Institute’s inaugural class of undergraduate fellows, the Journal consists of primary source-driven, scholarly articles that each year explore a new theme chosen by Journal staff members that is relevant to the Kinder Institute’s scholarly focus on the underlying theory, historical evolution, and contemporary practice of American constitutional democracy. In addition to writing all content, undergraduate staffers are responsible for editing, designing, and marketing each volume of the Journal. Tackling the theme of “democracy: within & beyond,” Volume 1 of the Journal consisted of articles that addressed topics including the documentary history of the women’s suffrage movement and the 18th-century foundations of the interpretational philosophies of contemporary Supreme Court Justices. Published in April 2016, the second volume of the Journal explored the theme of “rhetoric: founding to the present” through articles that focused on subjects ranging from the outsider in electoral politics to the typographical idiosyncrasy of Thomas Jefferson’s “First Inaugural Address.”

More details about the first two volumes of the Journal on Constitutional Democracy can be found here.

Starting in 2016-2017, students can receive up to three (3) course credits (two in the fall semester and an additional one in the spring) for their participation in the creation of the Journal by enrolling in HIS/POL SC 4975.