Tom Ginsburg : Courses and Seminars
Comparative Constitutional Design
Recent constitutional reconstructions in Iraq and Afghanistan have called new attention to the problems of institutional design of political systems. In this seminar we will examine the design and implementation of national constitutions. In particular, we will address the following questions. What are the basic elements of constitutions? How do these elements differ across time, across region, and across regime type? What is the process by which states draft and implement constitutions? What models, theories, and writings have influenced the framers of constitutions? In this seminar, we will review the historical roots of constitutions and investigate their provisions and formal characteristics. We will also discuss the circumstances surrounding the drafting of several exemplary or noteworthy constitutions, from various regions of the world. We will then examine particular features of institutional design in depth, and analyze the factors that make constitutions effective and enduring.
Comparative Legal Institutions
This course is designed to examine a range of legal institutions from a comparative and interdisciplinary perspective. It is not a traditional course in comparative law, in that it focuses not so much on particular rules of substantive law but on the structure of different legal systems and the consequences of those structural differences for law and society, especially for economic development. Readings will be drawn from legal and social science literature, including works from anthropology, economics, political science and sociology. The course will explicitly cover non-Western legal traditions to an extent not found in conventional comparative law courses. The course will conclude with reflections on what a comparative perspective tells us about American legal institutions. Course grades will be given on the basis of a take-home written exam, with a small component for class participation. There is a paper option for 2L, 3L and LLMs, but it is limited for 1L students.
International Human Rights
This course is an introduction to international human rights law, covering the major instruments and institutions that operate on the international plane. It includes discussion of the conceptual underpinnings of human rights, the structure of the United Nations System, the major international treaties, regional human rights machinery, and the interplay of national and international systems in enforcing human rights. There are no prerequisites. Grading will be on the basis of a take-home exam at the end of the quarter. Students who wish to write, in lieu of the exam, a paper sufficient to satisfy the substantial writing requirement, may do so upon approval of the topic in advance. Undergraduate students by instruction permission only.
Workshop: International and Comparative Law
This workshop offers students the opportunity to read and respond to cutting-edge research in the field of international and comparative law. It consists of four workshops with invited speakers– two on international law and two on comparative constitutional law – as well as a brief introductory meeting with Professor Ginsburg to introduce key concepts and protocols for the workshop. Assessment for the workshop will be based on four response papers (each 5 double-spaced pages in length) setting out and explaining potential questions raised by the workshop papers. Please see http://www.law.uchicago.edu/workshops/internationallaw for the current schedule.
Daniel Abebe, Tom Ginsburg