Kenneth I. Kersch


Assistant Professor of Politics

Affiliated Faculty

 241 Corwin Hall

 Curriculum Vitae





Date archived: June 1, 2007
Ken I. Kersch is Assistant Professor of Politics at Princeton University, where he is a member of the Executive Committee and Faculty Associate in Princeton's James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Faculty Associate in the Woodrow Wilson School's Program in Law and Public Affairs, and Faculty Advisor and Fellow in Forbes Residential College. His primary interests are American political and constitutional development, American political thought, and the politics of courts. He is the recipient of the American Political Science Association's Edward S. Corwin Award (2000), and the J. David Greenstone Prize (2006) for the best book on politics and history. He has published articles in Studies in American Political Development, Political Science Quarterly, The Journal of Supreme Court History, The University of Chicago Law Review, The University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, The Good Society, Critical Review, Commentary, The Public Interest, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and other academic, intellectual, and popular journals. He is the author of The Supreme Court and American Political Development (Kansas, 2006)(with Ronald Kahn), Constructing Civil Liberties: Discontinuities in the Development of American Constitutional Law (Cambridge, 2004), and Freedom of Speech: Rights and Liberties Under the Law (ABC-Clio, 2003). A member of the bar of New York, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia, Kersch received his B.A. from Williams, his J.D. from Northwestern, and his Ph.D. (Government) from Cornell.
Constructing Civil Liberties: Discontinuities in the Development of American Constitutional Law by Ken I. Kersch
(Cambridge University Press, August 2004)

The modern jurisprudence of civil liberties and civil rights is best understood, not as the application of principles to facts, but as a product of currents of progressive reformist political thought. This book demonstrates that rights of individuals in the criminal justice system, workplace, and school now identified with the essence of civil rights and liberties, were the end point of a layered succession of progressive-spirited ideological and political campaigns of statebuilding and reform. In questioning this vision of constitutional development, this book integrates the developmental paths of civil liberties law into an account of the rise of the modern state and the reformist political and intellectual movements that shaped and sustained it. In doing so, Constructing Civil Liberties provides a vivid, multi-layered, revisionist account of the genealogy of contemporary constitutional law and morals.