To truly realize the Kinder Institute’s overall goal of promoting greater understanding of the philosophical foundations and historical origins of the United States, as well as the lasting, global relevance of these ideas and events, we have a number of programs in place to support the research and professional development of scholars on the Mizzou campus, at other higher learning institutions, and in our community.
As the sections below indicate, these programs range in audience, nature, and scope, from international conferences for leading scholars in the fields of political thought and history, to educational enrichment opportunities for Missouri high school teachers and high school students, to fellowships to support the career advancement of the next generation of professors.
FALL 2023 CONFERENCE
Test-driving “electocracy” as an historical concept, the Kinder Institute’s Fall 2023 “Electocracy in America & the Atlantic World” conference (October 13-14, 2023) will gather scholars of electoral and governmental practices and institutions, organized dissent, and contextualized political thought in order to stimulate interdisciplinary and cross-national discussion of election-based regimes as systems of power and deepen our understanding of electocracies and their operations in the U.S. and elsewhere. A full conference description can be found in the call for papers below.
To apply, send a 1- to 2-page abstract along with a short-form c.v. to Mackenzie Tor, firstname.lastname@example.org, by February 1, 2023. For further information, or to discuss ideas, contact conference co-conveners: Reeve Huston, Associate Professor of History Duke University, email@example.com, or Professor Jeff Pasley, Kinder Institute Chair of Early American History, PasleyJ@missouri.edu, 573-529-3163.
To advance the careers of recently-minted Ph.D.s in History, Political Science, and Government, the Kinder Institute sponsors a number of postdoctoral fellows each year in Political History and Political Thought & Constitutionalism. The postdoctoral fellowships are one-year appointments, typically with the possibility of renewal for a second and third year, and provide recipients with office space at the Kinder Institute, a vibrant intellectual community with which to share research, and the opportunity to teach and develop undergraduate courses for the Institute’s new B.A. in Constitutional Democracy, as well as for MU’s B.A. programs in History and Political Science.
One of the Kinder Institute’s primary goals is to create a vibrant intellectual community on the MU campus dedicated to producing and discussing innovative scholarship on the complicated history of constitutional democracy in the U.S. and abroad. To advance this goal, we have created a number of opportunities, in addition to our regular series of colloquia, for scholars on campus, in the region, and around the globe to share current research with one another. See the individualized pages for the Shawnee Trail Conference and Missouri Regional Seminar for more details on these programs.
Studies in Constitutional Democracy Book Series
Studies in Constitutional Democracy, the Kinder Institute’s interdisciplinary monograph series with University of Missouri Press, officially launched in April 2016 with the publication of MU Professors James Endersby and Bill Horner’s co-authored Lloyd Gaines and the Fight to End Segregation, the first manuscript to devote itself entirely to exploring the historical and political significance of Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada (1938), an integral, though often overlooked, landmark in civil rights history. Since then, the Institute and Press have continued to put out at least two books per year on topics that plumb the foundations, origins, evolution, and application of constitutional democracy in the U.S. and around the globe, from before the American Revolution into the 21st century.
Missouri Summer Teachers Academy
In Summer 2016, in partnership with the Missouri Humanities Council, the Kinder Institute launched the Missouri Summer Teachers Academy, a residential conference that provides high school social studies teachers from around the state with an opportunity to gain new content knowledge in their field by studying alongside Mizzou faculty.
The conference is organized around a new theme in political history each year, and thanks to the generosity of the Humanities Council, teachers’ participation in it is fully subsidized.
Shawnee Trail Conference on American Politics & Constitutionalism
In the early nineteenth century, the Shawnee Trail conveyed cattle from Texas pasture-lands to Missouri railheads and thence the nation. Drawing on this spirit of regional connections and networks of exchange, the Shawnee Trail Conference was launched in 2015 as a way for scholars throughout the Midwest to share their research on topics related to American politics and constitutionalism with colleagues in a serious but convivial setting. Over time, the conference has outgrown its regional roots to become a national gathering that draws professors and graduate students from both coasts to a location in the middle of the United States for a day of roundtable paper presentations and lively conversation.
Missouri Regional Seminar on Early American History
Launched with the Kinder Institute in 2014, the Missouri Regional Seminar on Early American History (MRSEAH) provides scholars working on topics related to American history before 1900 with an opportunity to share research-in-progress with colleagues from around the Midwest in a constructive and convivial workshop setting. We welcome work on all aspects of American history, broadly defined Missouri-style to extend geographically throughout the Americas and Atlantic World, and chronologically from pre-colonial times forward through the 19th century.
Drawing its core members from faculty, graduate students, and public historians of the greater St. Louis area and Missouri River Valley, the MRSEAH meets twice per academic semester, once each in St. Louis and Columbia, with plans in the works for a fifth seminar in Kansas City.
A new initiative at the Kinder Institute, “Constitution Camp” is an academic summer program designed for Missouri high school students who are passionate about civic education and who would like to spend a week diving deeply into the subjects of American political history and American political thought.
Hosted every July on the MU campus, the camp is built around a series of discussion-based seminars led by MU faculty that present participants with the opportunity to tackle questions of historical significance and apply their answers to the current state of U.S. politics. They will, for example, not only consider how the U.S. Constitution was designed to create an effective government that would stay within its limits and not become tyrannical but also turn to the present to assess whether the Constitution has been successful in striking this balance.
Applications for the Summer 2023 Constitution Camp will open in January.
Electocracy in America & the Atlantic World: Fall 2023 Conference
Throughout the world, disinformation, political violence, and other attacks on established political norms are inspiring citizens to defend open and competitive elections, fact-based political debate, and the rule of law. But what is it, exactly, that we are defending?
This question, and more, will be answered at the October 13-14, 2023, Conference on “Electocracy in America & the Atlantic World: Elections and their Alternatives.” Co-convened by Kinder Institute Chair in Early American History Jeff Pasley and Duke University Associate Professor of History Reeve Huston, the conference will test-drive “electocracy” as an historical concept, gathering scholars of electoral and governmental practices and institutions, organized dissent, and contextualized political thought in order to stimulate interdisciplinary and cross-national discussion of election-based regimes as systems of power.
See the call-for-papers above for more information on how to participate. The deadline to submit a paper proposal is February 1, 2023.