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2007 Robert G. Wesson Lecture: Caesarism in Democratic Politics - Reflections on Max Weber



Date and Time

March 13, 2007 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM


Open to the public.

No RSVP required


Bechtel Conference Center
The concept of "caesarism" was of considerable importance to Max Weber and, in reading Weber, one cannot help but be struck by the relevance, to our own historical situation. His arguments about what nowadays, we would call "governance" are anything but theoretical as we encounter caesarist tendencies in contemporary politics.

About the Speaker
Born in 1937, Gerhard Casper grew up in Hamburg, the port city on the Elbe River. Mr. Casper studied law at the universities of Freiburg and Hamburg, where, in 1961, he earned his first law degree. He attended Yale Law School, obtaining his Master of Laws degree in 1962. He then returned to Freiburg, where he received his doctorate in 1964. He has been awarded honorary doctorates, most recently in law from Yale and in philosophy from Uppsala.

In the fall of 1964, Mr. Casper emigrated to the United States, spending two years as Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1966, he joined the faculty of the University of Chicago Law School, and between 1979 and 1987 served as Dean of the Law School. In 1989, Mr. Casper was appointed Provost of the University of Chicago. He served as President of Stanford University from 1992-2000.

Mr. Casper has written and taught primarily in the fields of constitutional law, constitutional history, comparative law, and jurisprudence. From 1977 to 1991, he was an editor of The Supreme Court Review.

His books include a monograph on legal realism (Berlin, 1967), an empirical study of the Supreme Court's workload (Chicago, 1976, with Richard A. Posner), as well as Separating Power (Cambridge, MA, 1997) concerning the separation of powers practices at the end of the 18th century in the United States. About the Stanford presidency, he wrote Cares of the University (Stanford, CA, 1997). He is also the author of numerous scholarly articles and occasional pieces.

He has been elected to membership in the American Law Institute (1977), the International Academy of Comparative Law, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1980), the Orden Pour le mérite für Wissenschaften und Künste (Order Pour le mérite for the Sciences and Arts) (1993), and the American Philosophical Society (1996).

At present, Mr. Casper serves as a successor trustee of Yale University, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Central European University in Budapest, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Academy in Berlin. He is also a member of various additional boards, including the Council of the American Law Institute.

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