Slavery and the Constitution: Two New Books, Two Views

Paul Starr and Sean Wilentz

Fri, 09/28/2018 - 10:30am to 12:00pm
LAPA Conference Room, 348 Wallace Hall
Event Category: 
By Invitation Only
Faculty, Fellows, Graduate Students

The Program in Law and Public Affairs invites you to attend a faculty seminar as part of its Constitutional Development Series:


Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs
Entrenchment: Wealth, Power, and the Constitution of Democratic Societies

(Yale University Press, forthcoming June 2019)

George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History
No Property in Man: Slavery and Antislavery in the Nation’s Founding
(Harvard University Press, September 2018)

We will send excerpts from the two books to those who RSVP

NOTE: This is an invitation only event. Members of the Princeton community seeking an invitation should contact Leslie Gerwin ( )

Paul Starr
Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs

Paul Starr is Stuart Professor of Communications and Public Affairs and Professor of Sociology, with a joint appointment in the Woodrow Wilson School. His interests include institutional analysis, political sociology, sociology of the media, and the sociology of knowledge, technology, and information, especially as they bear on questions of democracy, equality, and freedom. These interests are reflected in his teaching as well as his research. Professor Starr has written three books about health care institutions and policies: The Social Transformation of American Medicine(1983), which won the Bancroft Prize (American History), C. Wright Mills Award (Sociology), and Pulitzer Prize (General Nonfiction); The Logic of Health Care Reform (1992); and Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle over Health-Care Reform (2011, revised ed. 2013). He is also the author of The Creation of the Media: Political Origins of Modern Communications (2004), as well as numerous articles about contemporary changes in media and the public sphere. At Princeton, he holds the Stuart Chair in Communications at the Wilson School, serves on the American Studies committee and the Program in Law and Public Affairs, and chairs the University Resources Committee. Outside the university, he writes extensively on public issues for a non-academic audience. In 1990, with Robert Kuttner and Robert Reich, he co-founded The American Prospect, a liberal magazine. During 1993 he served as a senior health policy advisor at the White House. His bookFreedom's Power (2007) provides an account of both the philosophical and institutional development of liberalism from its classical to modern phases. He is currently working on a project on the entrenchment of power, law, and social structure, as well as a book about unanticipated changes in the development of post-industrial societies.

Sean Wilentz
George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History

Sean Wilentz studies U.S. social and political history. He received his Ph.D. in history from Yale University (1980) after earning bachelor’s degrees from Columbia University (1972) and Balliol College, Oxford University (1974). Chants Democratic (1984), which won several national prizes, including the Albert J. Beveridge Award of the American Historical Association, shows how the working class emerged in New York City and examines the changes in politics and political thought that came with it. It has recently been republished with a new preface in a 20th-anniversary edition. In The Kingdom of Matthias (1994), Wilentz and coauthor Paul Johnson tell the story of a bizarre religious cult that sprang up in New York City in the 1830s, exploring in the process the darker corners of the 19th-century religious revival known as the Second Great Awakening. Professor Wilentz is also the coauthor and coeditor of The Key of Liberty (1993) and the editor of several other books, including Major Problems in the Early Republic (1992) and The Rose and the Briar (2004, Greil Marcus coeditor), a collection of historical essays and artistic creations inspired by American ballads. His major work to date, The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln (2005), was awarded the Bancroft Prize and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His most recent books are The Age of Reagan: A History, 1974-2008, a reconsideration of U.S. politics since the Watergate affair, and Bob Dylan in America, a consideration of Dylan's place in American cultural history. A contributing editor to The New Republic, and a member of the editorial boards of Dissent and Democracy, Professor Wilentz lectures frequently and has written some three hundred articles, reviews, and op-ed pieces for publications such as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Review of Books, the London Review of Books, the American ScholarThe Nation, Le Monde, and Salon. His writings on music have earned him a Grammy nomination and a Deems Taylor-ASCAP award. In his spare writing time, he is historian-in-residence at Bob Dylan’s official website.