Program & Papers

Congress and History Conference

Harvard University/MIT

June 13-14, 2019

Knafel Center, Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study


Note:  Papers will be posted here as they are received.




6:00:  Informal dinner at the home of Charles Stewart

14 Hurlbut Street, Cambridge (12-minute walk from Sheraton, 4-minute ride)



Knafel Center, Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study


8:00am-9:00am:  Continental breakfast


9:00am-10:40am:  The Antebellum Congress

Chair: Dan Carpenter (Harvard)

Joel Sievert (Texas Tech University): The Long-Term Consequences of Legislative Voting for Party Development

Maggie Blackhawk (University of Pennsylvania): Private Bills and Petitioning

Charles Stewart III (MIT): Elections Under Majority Voting in the Antebellum Period

Discussants: Richard Bensel (Cornel), Kate Krimmel (Barnard)


10:40am-11:00am:  Break


11:00am-12:15pm:  Congress, Booze and Moral Legislation

Chair:  Bruce I. Oppenheimer (Vanderbilt)

Shyam K. Sriram (Butler University) and John T. Woolley (University of California, Santa Barbara): Presidents, Refugees, and Rhetoric from 1863 to 2019: A Theory of Moral Panics

Tobias Resch (Harvard University) and Benjamin Schneer (Harvard University): Petitioning Congress for Beer: German-American Counter-Mobilization to Prohibition Efforts and the Eighteenth Amendment

Michael Olson (Harvard University) and James M. Snyder (Faculty, Harvard University): Dyadic Representation in the American North and South: The Case of Prohibition

Discussant: David Bateman (Cornell)


12:15pm-1:45pm:  Lunch


1:45pm-2:45pm:  Representation

Chair: Robert Erikson (Columbia)

Andrew Hall (Stanford), James Feigenbaum (Boston University), Dan Thompson (Stanford), and Jesse Yoder (Stanford):  Who Becomes a Member of Congress? Evidence From De-Anonymized Census Data

Danielle Thomsen (University of California, Irvine): Dropout Decisions in U.S. House Elections, 1980-2016

Discussants:  Jennifer Nicol Victor (George Mason)


2:45pm-3:00pm:  Break


3:00pm-4:40pm:  Congress and Race

Chair: Eleanor Powell (Wisconsin)

Alfredo Gonzalez (California State University, Dominguez Hills): Constraining Access, Gaining Power: From Citizenship-for-Service to Service-for-Citizenship

Alex P. Smith (University of Florida): The Art of Coalition-Building: The Role of Heresthetics in Negotiating the Civil Rights Act of 1957

Shamira Gelbman (Wabash College): The Unity among These Groups Is Truly Tremendous: The Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Jeff Jenkins (University of Southern California) and Justin Peck (Wesleyan University): Congressional Action on Civil Rights: The Fair Housing Act of 1968

Discussants: Ruth Bloch Rubin (Chicago), Gregory Wawro (Columbia)


5:00pm-6:00pm:  Keynote Speaker

Richard White (Stanford)


6:30pm-7:00pm:  Cocktails

Harvard Faculty Club


7:00pm- :  Dinner

Harvard Faculty Club



Knafel Center, Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Study


8:00am-9:00am:  Continental breakfast


9:00am-10:40am: Constitutional and Institutional Development

Chair:  Steven S. Smith (Washington University)

Joshua Huder (Government Affairs Institute at Georgetown University): Cycles of Reform: Organizational Development of the U.S. House of Representatives, 1879-2015

John Dearborn (Yale University):  The Political Efficacy of Ideas: Congress and the Institutional Presidency

Burdett Loomis (University of Kansas): Congress Against Itself: The Co-Equal (?) Branch from the 1970s to the Present

Discussants: Richard Beth (Congressional Research Service, retired)


10:40am-11:00am:  Break


11:00am-12:15pm:  Congress at Work

Chair: Jon Rogowski (Harvard)

James Wallner (R Street Institute): Legislative Gridlock and the Politics of Effort

Alison Craig (University of Texas, Austin): The Fate of Collaborative Legislation in Congress

Discussant: Wendy Schiller (Brown)


12:15pm-2:00pm:  Lunch and Roundtable on The Imprint of Congress

David Mayhew (Yale)

Daniel Carpenter (Harvard)

Jeff Jenkins (University of Southern California)

Eleanor Powell (University of Wisconsin)

Vanessa Tyson (Scripps College)