The Kinder Institute’s undergraduate programs are designed to promote rigorous, communal inquiry into the history, theory, and practice of constitutional democracy in the United States and around the globe. We envision this happening first and foremost in the classroom, and our new B.A. in Constitutional Democracy in the College of Arts & Science was created to encourage students to engage in an in-depth study of the history of democracies across centuries and continents. We also want students’ exploration of these subjects to expand far beyond the classroom walls, and we have designed a number of programs with this goal in mind: a FIG community for first-year MU students, a summer program in Washington, D.C., week- and yearlong study abroad opportunities at University of Oxford, a January intersession study abroad course at University of the Western Cape in South Africa, and an extracurricular academic fellowship program for Mizzou undergrads of any and all majors.
The Kinder Institute will be recruiting for four different Spring 2024 and Summer 2024 programs during the fall semester: our study abroad courses in South Africa and Oxford; our spring Constitutional Litigation seminar, which includes a Spring Break trip to Washington, D.C.; and our 2024 Kinder Scholars D.C. Summer Program. For convenience, application links for all four programs will be stored here as their details are finalized.
Questions about any of these undergraduate programs can be directed to Kinder Institute Director of Undergraduate Studies Dr. Thomas Kane at KaneTC@missouri.edu.
B.A. IN CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY
The Kinder Institute’s B.A. in Constitutional Democracy not only engages Mizzou undergrads in a close, interdisciplinary examination of the ideas and events that are central to understanding the founding of the United States but also provides students with an opportunity to trace the reverberation of these ideas and events over time and around the globe. How and why have the philosophical ambitions and historical practice of constitutional democracy changed over time? What are the institutions and who are the figures that have been most responsible for driving this change? How, over the course of its history, has U.S. constitutional democracy influenced—and been influenced by—foreign nations? These are just some of the many questions that students can explore through the major, which consists of required common curriculum courses and concentrated upper-level electives in Constitutional Democracy, History, Black Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, Philosophy, Public Affairs, Economics, and more.
KINDER INSTITUTE DEMOCRACY LAB FIRST-YEAR FIG
The Kinder Institute Democracy Lab, formerly the Kinder Institute Residential College, allows first-year Mizzou students interested in politics and history to begin forming a scholarly community right when they get to campus. All participants take courses together during the fall and spring semesters with Kinder Institute faculty and participate in a wide range of extracurricular activities associated with the program. Starting the application process is as easy as choosing “Kinder Institute Democracy Lab” on Slate as you’re going through the Mizzou admission process.
Scholarships for the 2024-25 Democracy Lab cohort of first-year students are currently open on Scholarship Universe, with an early deadline of December 1, 2023, and a regular deadline of January 15, 2024. For more details on how to apply, see the call-for-applications below.
STUDY AT OXFORD
Launched in Spring 2018 by Kinder Institute Director and Professor of History Jay Sexton, the “Global History at Oxford” class is a study abroad program unlike any other. Every spring, students spend the semester’s first ten weeks exploring the global history of empire with Prof. Sexton on the MU campus, and then cross the Atlantic during Spring Break to continue their study with distinguished faculty at University of Oxford’s Corpus Christi College, one of the globe’s oldest institutions of higher learning.
Applications for the Spring 2024 HIST 4075/4075H “Global History at Oxford” course, which run through MU’s Study Abroad Office, are officially open, with a deadline of November 1, and a scholarship deadline of October 23.
Students can find a link to the separate scholarship application when they open the general study abroad application. Contact Caroline Spalding, firstname.lastname@example.org, with scholarship questions.
In addition, the Kinder Institute has a yearlong exchange program with Corpus Christi, through which an MU undergrad spends three Oxford terms as a fully-embedded student of history. Applications for the yearlong fellowship are due each April. Contact Dr. Thomas Kane, Kinder Institute Director of Undergraduate studies, at KaneTC@missouri.edu, to find out more about the yearlong Oxford Fellowship program.
SOCIETY OF FELLOWS
The Kinder Institute’s flagship undergraduate initiative, the Society of Fellows is an academic fellowship program through which students of all majors come together to forge an intellectual community dedicated to studying and drawing connections between the ideas and events of the American founding and the present state of constitutional democracy in the U.S. and abroad. The program kicks off each August with a three-day residential conference at the historic Tiger Hotel in downtown Columbia and continues throughout the school year with a series of lunch and dinner discussions with MU faculty and guests of the Kinder Institute.
Applications for the Fellows program open up in January of each year, with the start of the spring semester.
KINDER SCHOLARS D.C. SUMMER PROGRAM
The Kinder Scholars D.C. Summer Program provides rising MU juniors and seniors with a rare chance to wed theory and practice by spending the summer in the nation’s capital taking a 3-credit hour seminar on U.S. constitutional history while also interning four days a week at an organization whose mission complements their academic coursework and post-college interests.
Applications for the 2024 Kinder Scholars D.C. Summer Program are now closed and will re-open in fall for the 2025 cohort.
MINOR & CERTIFICATE IN AMERICAN CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY
Any student enrolled at Mizzou is eligible to apply to receive the Kinder Institute’s Minor or Certificate in American Constitutional Democracy. With a truly interdisciplinary curriculum that weaves together the study of history, political science, philosophy, economics, and more, both degrees were designed to provide students with expansive, diverse courses of study in the philosophical foundations and historical development of constitutional democracy not only in the United States but also around the globe.
JOURNAL ON CONSTITUTIONAL DEMOCRACY
Founded by Anurag Chandran, a member of the inaugural classes of the Society of Fellows and Kinder Scholars Program, the Journal on Constitutional Democracy is a student-run, scholarly publication organized each year around a new theme. Now structured as a two-semester, three-credit hour class with an Honors option, the Journal not only lets staff members conceptualize and patiently execute an article-length, academic writing project of their own devising but also gives them experience in the worlds of copyediting, layout and design, and promotion. All current and past members of the Kinder Institute’s Society of Fellows are eligible to take the Journal course, with seats also open for Constitutional Democracy majors.
RACE & POLITICS IN SOUTH AFRICA
Immerse yourself in the culture of South Africa over winter break! Spend 10 days in Cape Town with other MU students exploring the history and ongoing legacies of racialized rule. Led by Dr. Merve Fejzula and Dr. Matthew Frierdich, you will examine the nexus between race and politics in the history of South Africa through seminars, guest lectures and tours.
Applications for the “Race & Politics in South Africa” January 2024 intersession study abroad program are now closed and will re-open in fall for the January 2025 study abroad trip.
A regular, three-credit hour spring course, Constitutional Litigation (CNST_DEM/POL_SC 4231) walks students step-by-step through the history and process of federal constitutional adjudication, from the contours of federal courts as laid out in Article III, through how the present-day Supreme Court goes about choosing its docket.
As part of the curriculum, students spend Spring Break in D.C. exploring the course’s subject matter in context through sitting in on oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court and touring other sites of relevance.
Applications for the Spring 2024 Constitutional Litigation seminar are now closed and will re-open in fall for the Spring 2025 class and D.C. trip.