Reading Group: Reading the Federalist in the 21st Century
Semester: Spring 2016
Class Unique: 27954
Course ID: 135G
Credit Hours: 1
This course is inspired by Prof. Levinson's book An Argument Open to All: Reading the Federalist in the 21st Century, published by the Yale University Press in November 2015. The central question posed by the book, a collection of 85 separate short essays each one on the respective number of the original Federalist published in1787-88, is whether Publius still has anything to teach anyone interested in constitutional design in the 21st century. It should be emphasized that this is a wholly different question from whether The Federalist has any utility in interpreting the Constitution that was in act written in 1787. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but that's not what this course is about.
The format is that you will be asked to read several of the original essays and then Prof. Levinson's own essays commenting on them from a 21st century perspective. Prof. Bobbitt will lead off each of the meetings with his own reflections both on Publius and on whatever Prof. Levinson will have written. Then it is up to you to take over and keep the discussion going.
There will be symposium on the central topic of the book on Janary 21-23, and it is not only strongly urged, but just as strongly assumed, that everyone signing up for the reading course will in fact attend all of the sessions on Friday and Saturday morning unless they conflict with another class you may be taking. Given this requirement, we will meet only six rather than the usual seven times over the remaining part of the semester.
The two required books will be Professor Levinson's and any edition The Federalist, though we will be asking the Coop to stock the edition edited by J.R. Pole, which has the advantage of excellent historical notes in addition to its being published in a highly readable font.