Faculty of Law

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Faculty of Law
Faculty of Law

Colloquium in Legal and Political Philosophy

The Colloquium in Legal and Political Philosophy is the flagship activity of the Program in Law, Ethics, and Public Affairs.

Founded in Fall 2015, the Colloquium is an initiative by the Faculty of Law, the Department of Philosophy, and the Department of Political Studies. It consists of a series of seminars and workshops within the broad ambit of the Colloquium’s mandate. Students registered with the course meet with the Colloquium convenors to discuss a recent paper by a leading scholar. The following week, the students meet with the author, along with other faculty members and invited guests, for a workshop about the paper.

The Colloquium’s aim is to promote closer collaboration between legal, philosophical, and political studies, by bringing together students and faculty from these overlapping disciplines to engage in rigorous intellectual engagement. The Colloquium contributes to the Queen’s Collaborative Program in Political and Legal Thought.

In Fall 2016, the Colloquium convenors are Professor Jean Thomas and Professor Grégoire Webber. It is funded by the Canada Research Chair in Public Law and Philosophy of Law.

All of the sessions will be held at Watson Hall, room 517, 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

All members of the Queen's community are welcome to attend any of the workshops listed below:

Monday September 19, 2016 (Watson Hall, room 517, 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.)

Cheshire Calhoun (Arizona State)

Cheshire Calhoun is Professor of Philosophy at Arizona State University, chair of the American Philosophical Association’s board of officers, and Research Professor at the University of Arizona’s Center for the Philosophy of Freedom. Her work stretches across the philosophical subdisciplines of normative ethics, moral psychology, philosophy of emotion, feminist philosophy, and gay and lesbian philosophy.


Monday, October 3, 2016 (Watson Hall, room 517, 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.)

Anna Stilz (Princeton)

Anna Stilz is Associate Professor of Politics at Princeton University.  Her research focuses on questions of political membership, authority and political obligation, nationalism and self-determination, rights to land and territory, and collective agency.  She also has a strong interest in early modern political thought (particularly 17th and 18th centuries). 

Unilateral Appropriation and Territory

Monday, October 17, 2016 (Watson Hall, room 517, 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.)

Brian Tamanaha (Washington University Law) 

Brian Z. Tamanaha is the William Gardiner Hammond Professor of Law at Washington University Law. Before becoming a law professor, he clerked for the Hon. Walter E. Hoffman, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, was an Assistant Federal Public Defender in Hawaii, was an Assistant Attorney General for Yap State in Micronesia, and was Legal Counsel for the 1990 Micronesian Constitutional Convention. After these varied practice experiences, he earned a Doctorate of Juridical Science with a focus on legal theory at Harvard Law School.

Law in the Age of Organizations

Monday, October 24, 2016 (Watson Hall, room 517, 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.)

Michelle Dempsey (Villanova)

Michelle Madden Dempsey joined Villanova in 2009 , after teaching at the University of Oxford, where she was a University Lecturer (CUF) in Law and Tutorial Fellow.  Professor Dempsey teaches and writes in the areas of criminal law, feminist legal theory, and jurisprudence. She has served as Chair of the American Association of Law School’s Section on Scholarship and Section on Jurisprudence, and was elected to the American Law Institute in 2015.

Sex, Wrongs, and Criminalization

Monday, November 14, 2016 (Watson Hall, room 517, 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.)

Liam Murphy (NYU)

Liam Murphy works in legal, moral, and political philosophy and the application of these inquiries to law, legal institutions, and legal theory. Subjects of his publications range from abstract questions of moral philosophy (for example, the book Moral Demands in Nonideal Theory, 2000) to concrete issues of legal and economic policy (such as the book The Myth of Ownership: Taxes and Justice, 2002, coauthored with Thomas Nagel). A central theme in all Murphy’s work is that legal, moral, and political theory cannot be pursued independently of one another; they are, in fact, different dimensions of a single subject.

Private Law and Public Illusion

Monday, November 28, 2016 (Watson Hall, room 517, 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.)

Wil Waluchow (McMaster)

Wil Waluchow is a Professor in McMaster's Department of Philosophy, the Senator William McMaster Chair in Constitutional Studies, and an Adjunct Member of the Graduate Faculty of Osgoode Hall Law School. His BA and MA in philosophy are from the University of Western Ontario (Huron University College) and his DPhil in the philosophy of law is from Oxford University, where he studied under the supervision of H.L.A. Hart. 

Normative Reasoning from a Point of View

Course Requirements

Students enrolled in the Colloquium also meet separately with Professors Thomas and Webber for an additional two-hour seminar on alternate Mondays. Part of the seminar is devoted to a review of the preceding week’s Colloquium discussion and the greater part is devoted to preparation for the following week’s Colloquium workshop. Students are asked to write short papers weekly and a final term paper, in addition to being active participants during the seminars and workshops.


Students Interested in Applying for Credit

Admission to the seminar is by application to the student’s department. Students wishing to take the Colloquium for credit may express their interest to Professors Thomas and Webber (Law), Professor Christine Sypnowich (Philosophy), or Professor Margaret Moore (Political Studies). A call for applications will be circulated in the Faculty of Law in the Winter term and in the Departments of Philosophy and of Political Studies in the summer.


Past Speakers: Fall 2015

  • Kimberley Brownlee
  • John Gardner 
  • Sherry Colb and Michael Dorf
  • David Miller 
  • John Oberdiek
  • Thomas Christiano