Constitution Day – 2018

Event Date: Monday, September 17 - 8:30 am to Tuesday, September 18 - 8:30 am

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.

            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 SFSU. 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

Venise Wagner, Journalism Department

Sponsor: College of Liberal and Creative Arts


Co-sponsors: To Be Announced


Conference Website: