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Faculty and Staff Profile

Christina Bambrick

Assistant Professor

Office: Brackett 231A
Vita: View
Personal Website:

 Educational Background

Ph.D. Government
University of Texas at Austin

M.A. Government
University of Texas at Austin

B.A. Philosophy, Legal Studies
Scripps College

 Courses Taught

POSC 4370: Constitutional Law: Rights and Liberties
POSC 4380: Constitutional Law: Structures of Government
POSC 4500: Rights: Theory, Practice, Debates


Christina is an Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department at Clemson University. She studies constitutional theory and development, American and comparative constitutionalism, and the history of political thought. She is currently writing a book manuscript on the horizontal application of rights to non-state actors in comparative context. Christina has designed and taught different undergraduate courses in political science focusing on constitutionalism and political theory. She views her concentration on constitutional rights as offering an important opportunity to educate students about their own rights and duties in a constitutional democracy. She received her doctorate in Government from the University of Texas in 2019, and has a Bachelor’s in philosophy and legal studies from Scripps College in Claremont, CA.

 Research Interests

Christina’s book manuscript, Horizontal Rights: Constitutionalism and the Transformation of the Private Sphere, studies shifting understandings of public and private in comparative constitutionalism, specifically in the United States, Germany, India, South Africa, and the European Union. Jurists have traditionally understood the constitution as a separate kind of law that obligates only the state. However, courts increasingly understand constitutions as creating obligations for private entities such as private individuals, businesses, schools, and hospitals. For example, the South African Constitutional Court decided in 2017 that landlords have a constitutional duty to ensure their tenants live in conditions consonant with human dignity. Similar questions arise even in the United States, which historically has resisted the idea that constitutional rights bind private individuals. Recently, the Supreme Court found itself asking whether a Christian baker must bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The practice of applying rights “horizontally” to private actors raises a range of questions from the theoretical to the practical and from the jurisprudential to the political.

Christina draws on constitutional debates, court cases, and political histories to argue that this development of horizontal effect reflects a republican intervention (as in, classical republican political theory) in constitutionalism, so altering the politics surrounding rights accordingly. While the conventional liberal narrative emphasizes the rights of individuals, horizontal effect builds a catalogue of individual duties as well, corresponding to the commitments and aspirations of a given constitutional order. In addition to examining constitutional histories, therefore, this research draws on classical and contemporary republican political theory.

 Research Publications

“Neither Precisely National Nor Precisely Federal”: Governmental and Administrative Authority in Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. Publius: The Journal of Federalism, Volume 48, Issue 4, 1 September 2018, Pages 586–606, DOI: 10.1093/publius/pjy030.

Horizontal Rights: A Republican Vein in Liberal Constitutionalism. Forthcoming in Polity, Spring 2020.

 Honors and Awards

2019 Nominated for Edward S. Corwin Dissertation Award, APSA’s Law and Courts Section,
Department of Government, University of Texas

2018 Liberal Arts Excellence in Teaching Award, Liberal Arts Council, University of Texas


“Neither Precisely National Nor Precisely Federal”: Governmental and Administrative Authority in Tocqueville’s Democracy in America
Interview about teaching with the American Political Science Association