February 26, 2007 Gerhard Casper To Discuss "Caesarism in Democratic Politics" March 22

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639
Public Contact: Robert Saladini (202) 707-2692

President Emeritus of Stanford University Gerhard Casper, who recently occupied the Chair of American Law and Governance in the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, will talk about “Caesarism in Democratic Politics: Reflections on Max Weber” on March 22.

The lecture will be at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 22, in Room 119 of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. Sponsored by the Kluge Center, the event is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

Casper believes that the concept of “Caesarism” was of considerable importance to Max Weber, the German political economist and sociologist considered to be one of the founders of the modern study of sociology. According to Casper, “In reading Weber one cannot help but be struck by the relevance to our own historical situation. As we encounter Caesarist tendencies in contemporary politics, what Weber has to say about ‘governance’ is anything but theoretical.”

Casper served as president of Stanford from 1992 to 2000. He is currently the Peter and Helen Bing Professor in Undergraduate Education at Stanford. He is also a professor of law, a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a professor of political science (by courtesy).

Born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1937, Casper studied law at the universities of Freiburg and Hamburg, where he earned his first law degree. He received a master’s in law from Yale in 1962 and eventually earned his doctorate in law from Freiburg in 1964. He has been awarded honorary doctorates, most recently in law from Yale and in philosophy from Uppsala University in Sweden.

Following his immigration to the United States, Casper was assistant professor of political science at the University of California at Berkeley from 1964 to 1966. He then joined the faculty of the University of Chicago Law School, and between 1979 and 1987 served as dean of the law school. In 1989, Casper was appointed provost of the University of Chicago.

Casper has taught and written extensively 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 (1967); an empirical study of the Supreme Court’s workload (1976, with Richard A. Posner); “Separating Power” (1997), concerning the separation of powers practices at the end of the 18th century in the United States; and “Cares of the University” (1997), about the Stanford presidency. He is also the author of numerous scholarly articles.

Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world’s best thinkers to stimulate, energize and distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington. For more information on fellowships, grants and programs offered by the Kluge Center, visit www.loc.gov/kluge/.


PR 07-033
ISSN 0731-3527