Blog of the International Journal of Constitutional Law

Five Questions with Donald Horowitz

Richard Albert, Boston College Law School

In “Five Questions with … ” here at I-CONnect, we invite a public law scholar to answer five questions about his or her research.

This edition of “Five Questions with … ” features Donald Horowitz, the James B. Duke Professor of Law and Political Science Emeritus at Duke University and a Senior Fellow in the International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy. His full bio follows below:

Donald L. Horowitz is the James B. Duke Professor of Law and Political Science Emeritus at Duke University.  He holds law degrees from Syracuse and Harvard and a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard. Professor Horowitz  is the author of seven books: The Courts and Social Policy (1977), which won the Louis Brownlow Award of the National Academy of Public Administration; The Jurocracy (1977), a book about government lawyers; Coup Theories and Officers’ Motives: Sri Lanka in Comparative Perspective (1980); Ethnic Groups in Conflict (1985, 2000); A Democratic South Africa? Constitutional Engineering in a Divided Society (1991), which won the Ralph Bunche Prize of the American Political Science Association; The Deadly Ethnic Riot (2001); and Constitutional Change and Democracy in Indonesia, published in 2013 by Cambridge University Press and issued in a Bahasa Indonesia translation in 2014.

Professor Horowitz has been a Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago Law School and at the Central European University and a Visiting Fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge, at the Law Faculty of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, at Universiti Kebangsaan in Malaysia, in the Academic Icon program at the University of Malaya, and in the Distinguished Visitor program at the National University of Singapore and at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. In 2017, he will be a visitor at Nuffield College, Oxford.   In 2001, he served as Centennial Professor at the London School of Economics, and in 2001-02, he was a Carnegie Scholar. In 2009, he was presented with the Distinguished Scholar Award of the Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Migration Section of the International Studies Association.

Professor Horowitz is currently writing a book about constitutional process and design, particularly for divided societies, a subject on which he has advised in a number of countries. In 2010-11, he was a Fellow of the Woodrow Wilson Center, working on this project. In 2011-12, he was a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace, and in 2013, he was a Siemens Prize Fellow of the American Academy in Berlin. Since 2013, he has been a Senior Fellow of the International Forum for Democratic Studies of the National Endowment for Democracy, where he delivered the Lipset Lecture in 2013.  He also gave the Corry Lecture at Queens University in Ontario in the same year; the BIARI conference keynote at Brown in 2015; and the Castle Lectures on Ethics, Politics, and Economics at Yale in 2016.

Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1993, Professor Horowitz served as President of the American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy from 2007 to 2010. In 2011, he was awarded an honorary doctoral degree by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the Flemish-speaking Free University of Brussels.

1. Tell us about something you are working on right now.

A big book on constitutional process and design for severely divided societies, with much of the focus on why there are so few innovations to reduce conflict.  Some of these are described in a Journal of democracy article published in 2014, and more were elaborated in my Castle Lectures at Yale last September.

2. How and when do you write? Do you have a routine or do you write whenever and wherever you find the time?

Sporadically, depending on how complete my research is for the chapter or section I am writing. If it’s complete, I try to write every weekday. If not, I first fill in what I need to know; no matter how complete the preparation is, there’s always a new question that pops up that has to be explored.

3. Whose scholarship jumps to the top of your reading list when she or he publishes something new? 

Tom Ginsburg, Jon Elster, and Christina Murray (when she writes something based on her extraordinary experience).

4. Is there an article or book that influenced you as a student and that continues today to be an important reference point for you?

Several: the Hart-Fuller exchange; Llewellyn’s Common Law Tradition; Bickel, The Passive Virtues; Fuller’s Anatomy of the Law (a brilliant book that deserves a much wider reading than it has ever received); Berle, Power without Property.

5. What are some of the big questions ripe for inquiry in your area of research interest?

In addition to those I mentioned in #1, rule of law institutional issues for the enforcement of rights promised in constitutions.


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