Program on Constitutionalism and Democracy

Home » Program Overview

Program Overview

The University of Virginia’s Program on Constitutionalism and Democracy (PCD) was founded in 2006 by Professor of Politics James W. Ceaser, who continues to serve as Program Director.

PCD currently conducts a three-part program at the University.

First, PCD supports up to three residential pre- and post-doctoral fellows each year who pursue their own research, serve as instructors in PCD’s undergraduate program, and occasionally offer advanced seminars in political philosophy and American political thought. On occasion, PCD has also supported advanced scholars on sabbatical leave who wish to conduct research at the University of Virginia.

Second, PCD offers undergraduate seminars on the American Political Tradition and in American Political Economy. Approximately 900-1000 students have enrolled in the program’s landmark American Political Tradition course since it was first offered in 2006. (One can follow this link to a video describing the course.) Launched in the spring of 2014, the American Political Economy course has expanded the program’s curriculum and generated considerable student interest.

Since its inception, PCD has made a significant effort to disseminate the courses developed under its auspices. The program’s inaugural year (2006-2007) was funded in large part by a curriculum development grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, which encouraged dissemination of sponsored curricula. Versions of the program’s American Political Tradition course have been offered or are planned at a number of colleges and universities, including Emory University, Middlebury College, Boise State University, the University of Montana, the University of Dallas, Louisiana Tech University, Christopher Newport University, and the City University of New York. We hope that the American Political Economy course will prove an equally attractive model for undergraduate education.

Third, PCD sponsors a series of 10-12 guest lectures each year. These lectures are an integral part of the American Political Tradition course, with each speaker addressing a joint meeting of the several sections of the course on a topic that is a part of the regular syllabus. PCD’s guest lecturers come mostly from outside of the University and are generally leading experts in American politics, political theory, American history, and public policy. When possible, PCD also hosts a seminar at which the guest meets with PCD fellows and UVA Politics graduate students and faculty to discuss a working paper.