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Constitution Day Events to Feature Scholars Kathryn Abrams and Orville Vernon Burton

September 1, 2011

Media Contact: Mark Vanderhoek, or (478) 301-4037

MACON — Mercer University will hold two lectures in September to mark Constitution Day.  Noted constitutional law scholar Kathryn Abrams, a professor at University of California, Berkeley Law School, will present “Fear and Loathing in Maricopa County:  The Emotions of Immigration Regulation” at Mercer Law School’s Constitution Day celebration. The event will take place at noon on Sept. 16 in the moot courtroom of the Law School. It is free and open to the public. In addition, Mercer’s Southern Studies Program will sponsor a lecture by historian Dr. Orville Vernon Burton, titled “The Constitution and the Age of Lincoln,” Sept. 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the Presidents Dining Room of the University Center.

The lectures are part of the University’s observance of Constitution Day, a national holiday that commemorates the ratification of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787. Established by federal law in 2004, Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution. The day is also designed to recognize those who have become U.S. citizens.

Abrams is a distinguished professor of law at Berkeley Law, University of California. Before entering academia, Abrams clerked for Judge Frank M. Johnson of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. She has taught at the law schools at Boston University, Indiana University-Bloomington, Harvard University, Northwestern University and Cornell University. She has been on the Berkeley faculty since 2001. Abrams teaches and writes on feminist jurisprudence, voting rights and constitutional law. Her scholarship has explored questions of employment discrimination, minority vote dilution, campaign finance, constitutional law, and law and the emotions, but it has focused most centrally on feminist jurisprudence. Within this area, Abrams has written on feminist methodology and epistemology, the jurisprudence of sexual harassment, and cultural and theoretical constructions of women’s agency.

Dr. Burton is a prolific author and scholar, having written or edited 16 books, most recently The Age of Lincoln, and has published more than 180 scholarly articles. Dr. Burton is a professor of history at Clemson University and the director of the Clemson Cyberinstitute. From 2008-2010, he was the Burroughs Distinguished Professor of Southern History and Culture at Coastal Carolina University. He was the founding director of the Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts and Social Science at the University of Illinois, where he is emeritus University Distinguished Teacher/Scholar and Professor of History, African American Studies and Sociology. Recognized for his teaching, Dr. Burton was selected nationwide as the 1999 U.S. Research and Doctoral University Professor of the Year and in 2004 he received the American Historical Association’s Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Prize. Dr. Burton’s research and teaching interests include the American South, especially race relations and community, and the intersection of humanities and social sciences. He has served as president of the Agricultural History Society and is currently president-elect of the Southern Historical Association.