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Constitutional Patriotism: Founding Documents and the Emotions from Magna Carta to the Declaration of Human Rights

 600x250 Magna Carta

 Pictures of English History: From the Earliest
Times to the Present Period (1868), London:
George Routledge and Sons

Date: Thursday 17 - Friday 18 September 2015
Venues: 17 Aug - Napier Lecture Theatre, North Terrace Campus, The University of Adelaide.
               18 Aug - Majestic Roof Garden Hotel, 55 Frome Street, Adelaide, South Australia 5000
Registration: Register here for Academic/staff - $100. Register here for Student/unwaged - $50
                       (price includes drinks reception, lunch and refreshments, and collaboratory dinner).
Enquiries: Jacquie Bennett
Majestic Roof Gardens (discounted conference rate)

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Prof. Paul Halliday, History and Law, University of Virginia
Prof. Sharon R. Krause, Political Science, Brown University
Prof. David V. Williams, Law, The University of Auckland

When it was sealed in 1215, Magna Carta was essentially just a treaty between an embattled Norman king and his fractious Anglo-Norman aristocracy, and most of its provisions were irrelevant to the vast majority of the common people. It is only in retrospect, and through its investment with patriotic emotion by interested rhetoricians like Sir William Blackstone in his Commentaries, that this document and its origins at Runnymede have come to symbolize liberty resisting arbitrary power through ‘due process’ of law.

Arguably, the treatment of Magna Carta by Blackstone (and countless others across the centuries) is an example of ‘constitutional patriotism’. Constitutional patriotism is the practice of constructing a unifying ideology that emphasizes emotional attachment to the arrangements of government, and is common in multi-ethnic and/or pan-national states that are or aspire to be democracies. Jurgen Habermas developed the concept in the context of post-war Germany as a means of combating nationalistic and racial approaches to establishing state identity. As such it is a useful heuristic tool for discussing foundational constitutional documents and their subsequent emotional appeal (or lack of it).

Indeed studying constitutional patriotism may assist in understanding the causes and consequences of collective emotions generally, because affective investment in ink and parchment surely requires special efforts of rhetorical engineering and particular forms of reception.

Convenors: Prof. David Lemmings and Emeritus Prof. Wilfrid Prest, The University of Adelaide.

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Thursday 17 September (Napier Lecture Theatre)

7.00pm: Public lecture Paul Halliday, ‘Making the Charter Great: Law’s Visual Vernacular’

Chair: John Williams

Friday 18 September (Majestic Roof Gardens Hotel, Frome St)

Welcome David Lemmings

9.30-10.50: Sharon Krause, ‘Empathy, Interdependence, and Human Rights: A Moral Sentiment Approach’

Chair: Claire Walker

10.50-11.15: Coffee

11.15-1.00: (3 x 20 min papers + 10 min commentary)

Panel: ‘Stories about rights, affection, and constituting affective communities’

Marco Duranti, ‘Human Rights as Nostalgia: Charters and the Medievalist Origins of Postwar Transnational Communities’

Benjamin Authers, ‘“Rights have worked their way deep into our psyches”: Patriotism, temporality, and Canadian constitutional rights’

David Ash, ‘The corporation and constitutional patriotism – An inescapable price?’

Chair and commentary: Paul Halliday

1.00-2.00: Lunch

2-3.20: David Williams ‘The Treaty of Waitangi – the Magna Carta of New Zealand’

Chair: Matthew Stubbs or Rebecca La Forgia

3.20-4.00: Tea

4.00-4.30: Closing roundtable discussion

Chair: Wilfrid Prest

7:00: Dinner (Majestic Roof Gardens)