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Classroom convention: teaching comparative constitutional design through simulation

Sarah Fisher (Department of Politics, Law, and International Relations, Emory and Henry College, Emory, Virginia, USA)
Florian Justwan (Department of Politics and Philosophy, University of Idaho, Moscow, Idaho, USA)

Social Studies Research and Practice

ISSN: 1933-5415

Article publication date: 23 May 2017




The purpose of this paper is to detail a simulation exploring the academic and real-world debates surrounding constitutional design.


The authors deployed this simulation in different contexts: undergraduate courses in comparative politics and middle school classrooms of gifted students in India.


In conjunction with discussion of institutional setup, such as parliamentary vs presidential systems and judicial review vs parliamentary sovereignty, the students were required to design a new constitution for a fictional country that just overthrew a brutal dictator. Throughout the simulation, the students were assigned to be the representatives of a particular ethnic group, each with distinct interests to be represented during the constitutional convention.


The authors detail the learning objectives and simulation setup for this constitutional convention. Finally, the authors discuss some issues raised by the students during the simulation.



Sarah Fisher would like to thank Kayce Mobley, Arpita Roy, Sandeep Singh Gadihok, and Meghan Barnes for help on this project.


Fisher, S. and Justwan, F. (2017), "Classroom convention: teaching comparative constitutional design through simulation", Social Studies Research and Practice, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 84-94.



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