Elizabeth Beaumont

TitleAssociate Professor,
Director of Legal Studies
DivisionSocial Sciences Division
DepartmentPolitics Department,
Legal Studies
AffiliationsOakes College
Phone831-459-2052
Email,
OfficeMerrill 114
Office HoursWinter 2017 W 2:00-3:30 Sign up outside office
Campus Mail StopMerrill Faculty Services
Elizabeth Beaumont

Research Interests

Elizabeth Beaumont is Associate Professor of Politics and Director of Legal Studies at UCSC. Her research focuses on the theory and practice of constitutionalism and democracy, as well as civic engagement and education. She is particularly interested in problems of unequal citizenship, the relation between citizenship, democracy, and education, and how civic actors seek to shape rights, law, and political power and policy. She teaches and advises students in the areas of public law and legal studies, political theory, and American political and constitutional development.


Her recent book, The Civic Constitution: Civic Visions and Struggles in the Path Toward Constitutional Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2014), focuses on the role of several major civic groups and social movements in shaping American constitutional creation and change. She examines groups such as eighteenth century Revolutionaries, Anti-Federalists, Abolitionists, and Woman Suffragists as "civic founders" who profoundly influenced the Constitution's text, allocations of power, definitions of citizenship, and the meanings of rights. The Civic Constitution has been featured in a symposium in Constitutional Commentary and a Critical Dialogue in Perspectives on Politics. Her writing has appeared in a range of publications, including The Journal of PoliticsPolitical TheoryPerspectives on Politics, the Stanford Law ReviewHypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, and HA: The Journal of the Hannah Arendt Center.


Current Research Projects


Unruly Citizens and the Rule of Law: Civic Dissent, Disobedience, and Protest (book project)


The Problem of Jim Crow Constitutionalism: Racial Violence and Caste Citizenship


(Re-)Constituting Republics?: Philip Pettit’s New Republicanism


From 2000-2005, Beaumont was a Research Scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, where she helped lead the foundation's work on civic education and engagement, including serving as co-Principal Investigator and Director of the national Political Engagement Project. These interdisciplinary, multi-method research projects are the basis of two co-authored books: Educating for Democracy (Wiley 2007) and Educating Citizens (Jossey-Bass 2003). The books are resource texts for the American Democracy Project, an AASCU partnership including more than 240 state college campuses, and helped inform the national report, A Crucible Moment: College Learning and Democracy’s Future (National Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement, 2012).

Biography, Education and Training

Ph.D, Politics, Stanford University 2000


B.A., cum laude, English Literature, Pomona College 1993


Before joining UC Santa Cruz, Beaumont was an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Minnesota. She was previously a Research Scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Honors, Awards and Grants

Professor Beaumont's scholarship has been recognized by a Fellowship at the Edmund J. Safra Ethics Center at Harvard University (2015-2016), and by a McKnight Land-Grant Junior Professorship (2008-2010), the University of Minnesota's highest research award for junior faculty. Her research has also been supported by a number of grants and fellowships, including awards from the Ford Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the CIRCLE Foundation, and the Carnegie Corporation.


She previously served on the advisory board of the New Civics Initiative at the Spencer Foundation, and is currently a member of the editorial board for the new journal, Constitutional Studies.

Courses Taught

LGST/POLI 111A Constitutional Law
POLI 120C American Political Development
LGST 111B Civil Rights & Civil Liberties
POLI 200 Social Forces and Political Change
Social Movements, Ideas, and Legal Change
Constitutional Meanings and Movements
Citizenship, Law, and Democracy
Constitutional and Legal Theory