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New Director Spotlight: Professor George Thomas

George Thomas is Wohlford Professor of American Political Institutions at Claremont McKenna College, where he has taught for over ten years. He teaches courses in Constitutional Law and in CMC’s PPE Program. He is the author of The Founders and the Idea of a National University: Constituting the American Mind (Cambridge University Press, 2015), and The Madisonian Constitution (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008). He would like to strengthen the Salvatori Center’s presence among CMC students, making it a center of intellectual life at the college—particularly in thinking about American democracy. Last year he organized a student-led conference on “Free Speech on Campus” and this year he plans to organize a conference on the “Populist Challenge” which will be open to 5C students, faculty, and staff. He hopes these sorts of events help us think about and engage the constitutional and philosophical aspects of contemporary issues.


I was granted the Harrison fellowship while studying abroad in Freiburg, Germany during my sophomore year of college. My study abroad program was centered around EU politics and it allowed me to travel to ten countries within the EU and learn about the local government of each given country and its relation to the EU.  I used this opportunity to conduct my research while traveling around Europe. Germany was my home base and it is the country that inspired my research question: how will the rise of populism and nationalism influence modern day human rights? The title of my fellowship is The Pre-Modern Threat to the Modern Human Rights Regime. The highlight of my research was working with my German professor of Human Rights Law and traveling with him to the European Court of Human Rights  (ECHR) in Strasbourg, France. There, I was given the opportunity to meet a judge of the ECHR and discuss court cases such as S.A.S. v. France, regarding the burqa ban in France. Opportunities like this assisted me in refining my research and creating a foundational argument in my paper. I was able to take a deeper look into influential court decisions and discuss the political repercussions with an expert on human rights law.

New Literature Alert!

Professor Appel is a professor of International Relations, George R. Roberts fellow, and the most recent recipient of the G. David Huntoon Senior Teaching Award. Her recent book, co-authored by Mitchell Orenstein, From Triumph to Crisis, was published in April 2018. The thought-provoking book explores the topic of neoliberal economic reforms in postcommunist countries. We recommend it to anyone interested in the world economy.

Stay tuned for a book chat with Professor Appel hosted by the Salvatori Center!