To truly realize the Kinder Institute’s overall goal of promoting greater understanding of the philosophical foundations and historical origins of the United States, and also of 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 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 continuing education opportunities for Missouri high school teachers, to fellowships to support the career advancement of the next generation of professors.
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 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.
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.
Conference organizers are currently accepting paper proposals for the 2022 Shawnee Trail Conference, to be held on Friday, April 29, in Waco, TX. Submissions are open to scholars of all ranks in departments of Political Science, History, Law, and related disciplines, and the conference welcomes papers on all aspects of American politics and constitutionalism, broadly defined to encompass political and constitutional development, political thought, and public law. See the Call-for-Papers link below for more information.
Paper proposals and queries should be sent to Dr. Curt Nichols, firstname.lastname@example.org, by January 31, 2022. Formal conference invitations will be made in early February, with working papers to be distributed no later than early April.
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.