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LEGS Seminar

Chris Kendall, Politics

"Divided Sovereignty: Race and Constitutional Innovation in the American Empire"

May 2, 2012, Noon, 438 Robertson Hall

Please join us on Wednesday, May 2, when Chris "Kip" Kendall, Ph.D. candidate in Politics, will present "Exercising Discretion on the Front Lines of Healthcare: How Pharmacists Negotiate Legal and Medical Gatekeeping Roles." 

Abstract:  "This paper explores the role of the United States Supreme Court in America's imperial expansion across North America and into the Asia-Pacific region. It argues that the United States relied on a bifurcated extension of sovereignty over conquered territories, with imperial outcomes differing according to the demographic characteristics of the local populations encountered. In areas such as North America and Hawaii, where local populations were decimated by disease and prior European contact, temporary incorporation as territories eventually would lead to statehood. Meanwhile, in areas such as the Philippines and Puerto Rico, where local populations resisted demographic incursions, American sovereignty was extended without any commitment to incorporating the newly conquered territories as states. The degree of political incorporation into the modern American state can therefore be predicted based on the racial make-up at the period of initial territorial acquisition.  Throughout this discussion, the focus is on the role of the Supreme Court, which defined and articulated the limits of sovereignty as America extended its control to new regions. Throughout its expansion, the United States extended formal sovereignty over territories where possible, relieving them of international legal personhood and precluding unnecessary great power conflict. Internally, however, the Court extended American constitutional structures only piecemeal, guaranteeing American access to the newly acquired territories, but cordoning off local populations from the American constitutional system."

Chris Kendall is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Politics. He has broad interests in comparative politics, international relations theory, constitutionalism, and sovereignty claims. His dissertation examines how domestic institutions shape and constrain the spread of international legal norms. Prior to coming to Princeton, he received a JD from Berkeley Law.

LEGS, or "Law-Engaged Graduate Students," meets during the academic year to discuss a work in progress by one of our Graduate Associates. Academic papers, dissertation proposals, and dissertation chapters have been presented at these meetings, to an audience of fellow graduate students.

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