Constitution Day – 2018

Call for Papers, Presentations, and Panels:

“Rights and Wrongs: A Constitution and Citizenship Day Conference at San Francisco State University” 

17-18 September 2018

            We welcome proposals for papers, presentations, panels, roundtables, teach-ins, and workshops at “Rights and Wrongs: A Constitution and Citizenship Day Conference,” which will take place on 17-18 September 2018. Our keynote presenters will be Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz, Professor Emerita of Ethnic Studies at California State University, Hayward, “How the Second Amendment Reveals White Nationalism,” and Ian F. Haney López, Earl Warren Professor of Public Law, University of California, Berkeley, “The Future of Whiteness: Dog Whistle Politics or Cross-Racial Solidarity?”

            Over the last year, the people of the United States have participated in far-reaching debates and discussions about the U.S. Constitution. Many of these conversations have focused on democratic governance and its relationship to presidential elections, foreign collusion, political corruption, voting rights, legislative redistricting, and constitutional impeachment. Others have addressed specific constitutional provisions such as freedom of speech, freedom of the press, separation of church and state, privacy rights, rights to bear arms, protections against unreasonable searches and seizures, birthright citizenship, due process rights, and rights of equal protection. Meanwhile, some of the most polarizing national discussions of 2017 and 2018—about racialized policing, immigration restriction, sanctuary cities, health care, sexual harassment, LGBT rights, hate speech, and gun control—have been framed as matters of constitutional meaning and significance. Just as important and revealing are the constitutional topics that much of the country has not been considering, including the rights of indigenous, colonized, incarcerated, and institutionalized peoples on lands currently claimed and controlled by the United States.

            What did the U.S. Constitution say and do in the past and what does it say and do today? Has it produced, preserved, and promoted social hierarchies or has it supported the expansion of citizenship, democracy, and equality? What does the Constitution reveal and obscure? Is the United States experiencing constitutional crises? Have the country’s recent political troubles exposed longstanding problems with the U.S. constitutional “order”? Can the history of the U.S. Constitution serve as a resource for people troubled by today’s uses and abuses of U.S. power and politics? For those seeking social change, is the Constitution an opportunity or obstacle? Can and should it be followed, changed, modified, or abandoned? Who makes meaning out of the U.S. Constitution and what meanings are made of it? What are the implications of our interpretations and transformations of the U.S. Constitution?

            Please join us to discuss these and other issues at “Rights and Wrongs.” San Francisco State University has a proud tradition of sponsoring Constitution and Citizenship Day conferences. Last year’s event was sponsored by the College of Liberal and Creative Arts and cosponsored by eleven other colleges, schools, departments, centers, and other campus organizations at SF State. More than 1600 faculty, students, and community members attended the event, which featured faculty, graduate student, and community-based presenters. As was the case last year, the 2018 conference will provide multiple opportunities to reflect critically on the past, present, and future of constitutional rights and freedoms and larger questions about equality, democracy, and justice.

            Proposals for papers, presentations, panels, roundtables, teach-ins, and workshops (maximum 250 words) should be submitted by 25 June 2018 to We welcome individual and group submissions. Please submit short vitas/resumes for all participants. Recommended topics include but are not limited to:

  • Affirmative Action

  • Amending the Constitution

  • Asian American Legal Histories: Colonialism, Exclusion, and Internment

  • Athletes and the First Amendment

  • Black Lives Matter and Racialized Policing

  • Campaign Finance, Citizens United, and the First Amendment

  • Civil Disobedience, Political Protest, and the Constitution

  • Colonies and the Constitution: Cuba, Guam, Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Samoa

  • Disability Rights to Life, Liberty, and Equality

  • Dreamers, Deportation, and the Constitution

  • Educational Rights, Teacher Tenure, and Faculty Unions

  • Fascism, Nationalism, Populism, and the Constitution

  • Free Speech at Colleges and Universities

  • Guantanamo and the Constitution

  • Gun Control and the Second Amendment

  • Education, Health, Housing, and Welfare Rights

  • Immigration Law and the Politics of Exclusion

  • Impeachment and Presidential Politics

  • Indigenous Treaty Rights and Political Sovereignty

  • Islamophobia and the Muslim Ban

  • Palestine, Israel, and Campus Politics

  • Press Freedoms and “Fake News”

  • Prisons, Prisoners, and the Carceral State

  • Privacy and the Constitution in the Social Media Era

  • Sanctuary Cities, Federalism, and the Politics of Immigration

  • Sex Discrimination and LGBT Rights

  • Sexual Citizenship and Queer Rights

  • Sexual Harassment Law

  • Slavery, Freedom, and Reparations

  • Student Activism and Constitutional Rights

  • Supreme Court Appointments

  • Surveillance, Security, and Constitutional Law

  • Trans Rights and Freedoms

  • The U.S. Constitution in Comparative, Transnational, and Global Contexts

  • Voting Rights and Legislative Redistricting

  • War Powers and National Security: Congress, President, Supreme Court

  • Women’s Rights, Sex Discrimination, and Gender Equality

Organizing Committee:

Conference Coordinator: Marc Stein, History Department

Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies

Soumyaa Behrens, School of Cinema

Martin Carcieri, Political Science Department

Teresa Carrillo, Latina/Latino Studies Department

Mali Kigasari, Paralegal Studies Program

Catherine Kudlick, History Department and Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability

Blanca Maria Missé, Modern Languages and Literatures Department

Kym Morrison, History Department

Maria L. Quintana, Latina/Latino Studies Department

César "Ché" Rodríguez, Criminal Justice Studies Department

Wendy Salkin, Philosophy Department

Clare Sears, Sociology and Sexuality Studies Department

Kendra Van Cleave, J. Paul Leonard Library

Venise Wagner, Journalism Department

Sponsor: College of Liberal and Creative Arts

Co-sponsors: College of Ethnic Studies, College of Extended Learning, Division of Graduate Studies, History Department, History Students Association, Labor Archives and Research Center, Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability, Modern Languages and Literatures Department, Paralegal Studies Program, Philosophy Department, Political Science Department, School of Public Affairs and Civic Engagement, Sociology and Sexuality Studies Department, Jamie and Phyllis Pasker Chair in U.S. History, and more to be announced.

Conference Website:

We will be using the hashtag #rightsandwrongs for the conference. Please feel free to use it in your tweets and tag us @RightsWrongsSF to continue the conversations online.