— PhD August 2012, The University of Texas at Austin
Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow, University of Houston
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I received my PhD from the University of Texas at Austin, Department of Government, in August 2012. My fields of study are public/constitutional law and political theory. In my dissertation work I examine the intersection of critical constitutional veneration and aspirational constitutional theory. Constitutional veneration in general is a term I borrow from James Madison's analyses of the phenomena in Federalist 14 (where he lambasts blind veneration) and Federalist 49 (where he condones veneration). I extend this theory into what I call critical veneration, which depends on having a mixed view of the Constitution. In order to venerate critically, Americans must first understand the aspirations behind the constitutional order and then make moves to change that order based on those aspirations. Thus critical veneration and aspirationalism are entwined in our effort to improve our governing order. This dissertation begins from the conflict between Madison and Jefferson over veneration and rebellion, growing into disputes with various contemporary authors on the topics of veneration and aspirationalism.
My ongoing research has been funded by multiple sources, including the Earhart Foundation and the departmental Macdonald fellowship.