Symposium on “Popular Sovereignty, Self-determination and Secession” to be held at Texas Law Jan. 22-24

A symposium on “Popular Sovereignty, Self-determination and Secession” will be held Jan. 22-24 at The University of Texas School of Law.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of Appomattox, the formal end of the attempt of the Confederate States of America to secede from the United States, and the 240th anniversary of the American Revolution.

All events will take place in the Eidman Courtroom at The University of Texas School of Law. The symposium is open to the public. Formal registration is not required.


Thursday, Jan. 22

5:30 p.m. Tom Sealy Lecture by David Armitage (Harvard): “Three Concepts of Civil War: Succession, Supersession, Secession”

Friday, Jan. 23

9:10-9:25 a.m. Introductory Remarks: Dean Ward Farnsworth, Sanford Levinson

9:30-10:30 a.m. An overview: What have written constitutions actually said about popular sovereignty and secession? Zack Elkins (University of Texas Department of Government), comment by Wayne Norman (Duke University).

10:45 a.m. -12:30 p.m. Rule by “we the people” in the United States: To what degree have legal instruments (ranging from the British constitution in operation in 1776 to the United States Constitution of 1787 and state constitutions) cabined “popular sovereignty”? Sandy Levinson, moderator and participant. David Armitage (Harvard University), Roman Hoyos (Southwestern Law School); Michael Les Benedict (Ohio State Department of History, emeritus); George Forgie (Department of History, University of Texas).

12:40-1:55 p.m. LUNCH

2:05-5 p.m. Secessionist impulses in Europe and the former Soviet Union. Ran Hirschl (University of Toronto), moderator and participant. Victor Ferreres Comella (Barcelona, visiting the University of Texas Law School); Stephen Tierney (University of Edinburgh); Elise Giuliano (Columbia); Susanna Mancini (University of Bologna, Johns Hopkins).

Saturday, Jan. 24

9:30 a.m. -Noon Coming to terms with the theories (and practices) of popular sovereignty, self-determination, and secession. Gary Jacobsohn (University of Texas Department of Government), moderator and participant. Wayne Norman (Duke); Stephen Tierney (Edinburgh); Susanna Mancini (Johns Hopkins and Bologna), David Armitage (Harvard); Maurizo Viroli (University of Texas Department of Government).

For more information, contact: Trish Do at or 512-232-4860.

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