Let’s Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Constitutionalism

Posted By:  Liz Goodrich
Date Posted:  1/7/2015

ConstitutionDeschutes Public Library remains a leader in offering programs that encourage civic engagement and the opportunity to discuss difficult or sensitive topics. This January DPL continues to lead the way with “Let’s Talk About It: Making Sense of American Constitutionalism,” a four-part series of reading and discussions led by author, constitutional scholar and OSU-Cascades Professor James Foster. During the series, participants will explore how American constitutionalism, the activity by which we bring to life the principals of the Constitution, has shaped us and vice versa.

Foster maintains that “Our constitution is a verb—not a noun. It is what we the people make of it.” The series explores the nature and three illustrative aspects of American constitutionalism. Following the introductory session, the content of the readings and discussions turns to issues, including money, guns and immigration that highlight the dynamic nature of the Constitution. Series participants will be provided articles for reading that represent the two sides of each issue. Following a brief explanation of the readings by Professor Foster participants will engage in group discussion of the issues raised by the assigned readings. Foster believes that “civil discussion of hot-button issues” is an essential part of being citizens of our body politic and that “interaction with a variety of ideas and opinions” is critical to our understanding of what American constitutionalism is.

Foster specializes in constitutional law. He earned his BA in Political Science from Lewis and Clark College, his Masters in Political Philosophy from UCLA and his Ph.D. in Public Law and Judicial Politics from the University of Washington. He has been widely published in a variety of legal journals, reviews and books. Foster regularly teaches classes on constitutional law, judicial politics, and gender and law. His book, Bong Hits 4 Jesus: A Perfect Constitutional Storm in Alaska’s Capital, published by the University of Alaska Press, explores free speech issues. Foster says participants in the series can look forward to “engaging conversations about important matters with thoughtful people.”

The series is limited to 15 participants and registration is required (register online at the links below).

All discussions will be held in the Meeting Room of the Redmond Library. All sessions begin at 1:00 p.m. The series discussion topics and dates are:

January 31 - Constitution and series overview
February 14 - Money
February 28 - Immigration
March 14 - Guns

For details about the series or to register, please visit or contact Jenny Pedersen at 541/617-89 People with disabilities needing accommodations (alternative formats, seating or auxiliary aides) should contact Linda at 541/312-1051.

Page Last Modified Wednesday, March 8, 2023