Professor John E. Finn, Ph.D.

Professor John E. Finn
  • Wesleyan University
  • Princeton University
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I like to teach courses about the Constitution because [it] requires citizens who are up to the task of making the Blessings of Liberty a reality. Constitutional literacy is not about inculcating reverence for the Constitution, but rather preparing us to participate in the civic life of the community.

John E. Finn is Professor of Government Emeritus at Wesleyan University, where he taught for thirty years. Finn received a Ph.D. in political science from Princeton University, a J.D. from Georgetown University, a B.A. in political science from Nasson College, and a degree in culinary arts from the French Culinary Institute. His scholarly research and teaching focuses on constitutional theory, comparative constitutional law, the first amendment, and the legal regulation of terrorism and political violence. Professor Finn is an internationally recognized expert on constitutional law and political violence. His public lectures include testimony in front of the House Judiciary Committee, as well as lectures in Chile, Bolivia, Spain, Italy, Canada, England, and France.

Finn is the author of four highly regarded and influential books on constitutional law: Fracturing the Founding: How the Alt-Right Corrupts the Constitution (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019), Peopling the Constitution (Kansas, 2014), American Constitutional Law: Essays, Cases, and Comparative Notes 4th ed. (coauthor, West Academic Publishing, 2018), and Constitutions in Crisis: Political Violence and the Rule of Law (Oxford, 1991), and of numerous scholarly articles in professional journals.

Finn’s research and scholarly writing also extends to the study of food, recipes, and politics. He has published a book on the history, philosophy, and meaning of omelets, including recipes, The Perfect Omelet (Countryman, 2017), and several essays and articles, including “How Does a Recipe Mean,” in Table Matters: A Journal of Food, Drink, and Manners(2016), an entry on “Measurements,” in The Oxford Companion to Sweets, ed. Darra Goldstein (2015), an essay on Julia Child in Gastronomica (2007), and articles on “The Perfect Recipe,” (2011) and “The Kitchen Voice as Confessional,” (2004) in Food, Culture & Society.


"Professor Finn is an articulate, highly-intelligent and superb teacher.  His course presents challenging and controversial topics with clarity, balance, and thoroughness.  Very highly recommended!!!"

10 Courses and Sets

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10 Courses and Sets