The University of Texas at Austin - Civitas Institute

The Cambridge Constitutional History of the United Kingdom

April 11
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM UT Law School, Eidman Courtroom 2.306

What is the British Constitution?  How did it develop, how does it shape politics and government, and can it constrain political actors and institutions?

Join Dr. Harshan Kumarasingham (University of Edinburgh) as he discusses his recently published Cambridge Constitutional History of the United Kingdom. This multi-disciplinary, two-volume project features essays by leading scholars of law, history, and politics to answer essential questions about Britain’s “unwritten” constitution and its implications not only for government and public power but for society more generally.

UT scholars will also provide commentary on these volumes and participate in a discussion of constitutionalism in the UK, the United States, and globally.

Moderator: Richard Albert
William Stamps Farish Professor in Law
Director of Constitutional Studies

Discussant: Sanford Levinson
W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood, Jr. Centennial Chair in Law
Professor of Government

Discussant: Rhonda Evans
Senior Lecturer in Government
Director, Edward A. Clark Center for Australia and New Zealand Studies

This event is sponsored by the Civitas Institute and co-sponsored by the Program on Constitutional Studies and the Department of Government.


The Cambridge Constitutional History of the United Kingdom

Peter Cane and Harshan Kumarasingham (co-editors) bring together the methods and insights of historians, lawyers, and students of politics to give readers an appreciation not only of the historical development, legal nature, and political importance of the constitution, but also of its general relevance to all aspects of human social life. Featuring contributions from leading scholars of law, history, and politics, this path-breaking volume traces the development of the UK constitution from Anglo-Saxon times and explores its role in the creation, exercise, and control of public power. Chapters in Volume One, entitled ‘Exploring the Constitution’, approach the constitution and its history from various different scholarly perspectives, and provide historically sensitive discussions of constitutional actors and institutions, and of political traditions of the constitution. Essays in Volume Two, entitled ‘The Changing Constitution’, examine the development of the constitution chronologically from the departure of the Romans up to the present day and beyond. This is the first, wide-ranging history of the constitution to be published for more than 50 years. By its cross-disciplinary approach, taking account of the latest legal, political, and historical scholarship on the constitution, it fills a large gap in the literature of the constitution.


Dr. Harshan Kumarasingham is Reader in Politics and History at the University of Edinburgh. His work and interests cover the history and politics of the United Kingdom, the late British Empire, and the Commonwealth. His publications include the edited collections Constitution-Maker: Selected Writings of Sir Ivor Jennings (Cambridge University Press, 2015), Constitution-Making in Asia: Decolonisation and State-Building in the Aftermath of the British Empire (Routledge, 2016), and Viceregalism: The Crown as Head of State in Political Crises in the Postwar Commonwealth (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). His most recent publication is the path-breaking two-volume The Cambridge Constitutional History of the United Kingdom (2023, co-edited with Peter Cane). He is Co-Editor of the Transactions of the Royal Historical Society.

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