This seminar will focus on the political and legal theories attached to "federalism" and "decentralization," together with some relevant political science and historical materials addressing why federal systems emerge in the first place and challenges they face in maintaining themselves (against, for example, pressures to secede). At least some of the seminar will focus on comparative materials. It is assumed that everyone will have at least a basic knowledge of major Supreme Court decisions, though we will probably engage in intensive examination of McCulloch v Maryland and Chisholm v Georgia. Each student will be required to write a single substantial paper, a first draft of which should be suitable for short presentation during one of the two final meetings. The seminar will meet, incidentally, for three hours, from 3:45-6:35, with a break around 5.