The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
It's July, and many academics are likely finalizing their syllabi for the upcoming academic year. For those who may be considering adopting one of my books, I have an offer: if you assign the book, or any substantial part of it, I will do a free virtual presentation to your class. It can be on Zoom or other similar platform. If you are located in the Washington DC area, I can come in person instead—also for free. Outside the DC area, I can potentially come in person, as well; but your institution will have to pay for transportation costs. I've given talks at dozens of universities and other institutions across the United States, and in twenty other countries. So I have experience speaking to a wide range of audiences, including law students, graduate students, undergraduates, and even high school students.
Yes, this is shameless self-promotion. But self-promotion is a time-honored academic tradition. It's a blogging tradition, too. What books do I have available? I'm glad you asked!
My most recent book is Free to Move: Foot Voting, Migration, and Political Freedom (Oxford University Press, revised and expanded edition, 2022). Free to Move makes the case for expanding opportunities for people to "vote with their feet" in the private sector, within federal systems, and through international migration. It explains why all three types of foot voting can do much to expand political freedom and human welfare, and addresses a wide range of possible objections. It's the first book to fit all three types of foot voting in a common framework. FTM is a good fit for courses on democratic theory, migration rights, constitutional structure (there's a whole chapter on the implications of foot voting for latter), international law (chapter on that, too) and general political theory. While the book is relatively new, it has already been used in courses at multiple universities in the US and Canada, including Georgetown and the University of Montreal. I have even heard of it being assigned to at least one high school class. Fifty percent of all royalties generated by FTM go to charities benefiting refugees.
Democracy and Political Ignorance: Why Smaller Government is Smarter (Stanford University Press, 2nd ed., 2016) is my mostly widely assigned book. It explains why widespread political ignorance is a major problem for democracy, critiques standard solutions and attempts to dismiss the problem, and outlines a new approach to addressing it. As with the subject of FTM, you might say that the Trump era and its aftermath has made the issues covered by this book great again. DPI has been assigned in various economics, political science, communications, and law courses at Harvard, NYU, Duke, Swarthmore, BYU, and elsewhere. Also various universities and seminars outside the US, including one as far afield as Ethiopia. It's even been assigned in several high school classes, as well as both undergrad and graduate courses. There are Japanese and Italian translations of the book, if you want to use it in courses in those languages.
The Grasping Hand: Kelo v. City of New London and the Limits of Eminent Domain (University of Chicago Press, 2015) assesses one of the Supreme Court's most important and controversial property rights decisions. It's useful for law, econ, or political science courses on property rights, law and economics, judicial review, and the interaction of law and popular movements. Suitable for undergrad as well as graduate and law classes. Don't take my word on the latter point. Take that of the American Political Science Association's Law and Politics Book Review, which made this very suggestion!
Eminent Domain: A Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press, 2017) is suitable for classes on property and comparative law, and has been used successfully in seminars for government officials in various Asian nations (I co-edited the book with two Korean law and economics scholars).
I've also authored or co-authored two other books: A Conspiracy Against Obamacare: The Volokh Conspiracy and the Health Care Case (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) and Stillborn Crusade: The Tragic Failure of Western Intervention in the Russian Civil War, 1918-20. (Transaction Publishers, 1996, reprinted by Routledge). But the first four above are the ones I think most likely to be useful for classes.
In some cases, the publishers may offer a bulk discount to students in a class where the book is assigned. Reach out to me or to the publisher for additional information on that, if interested.