Helen J. Knowles

Assistant Professor of Political Science

SUNY Oswego

Primary email: helen.knowles@oswego.edu

Secondary email: h.j.knowles [at] gmail.com

Phone (cell): (315) 254-4083

SSRN page: http://ssrn.com/author=657261


Helen Knowles writes and teaches about constitutional theory and jurisprudence, and constitutional law and history. Born and raised in England, where she did her undergraduate work, she emigrated to the US in 2000, and became a proud U.S. citizen in 2009. She received her Ph.D. from Boston University

She is currently working on a book-length project entitled Parchment Slaves. The archival research for this received funding from the American Historical Association (Littleton-Griswold research grant in May 2009) and the American Political Science Association (Small Research Grant in October 2010).

Her most recent article (August 2013), published in Law and History Review (vol. 31, issue 3, pp. 531-558) will form the basis of several components of Parchment Slaves:

HJK - Law and History Review 2013.pdf

(Cambridge Journals link here: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayJournal?jid=LHR)

She is also co-editing (with Steven B. Lichtman - Shippensburg University) Judging Free Speech (to be published by Palgrave Macmillan on September 17, 2015). This volume contains nine original essays, each providing a comprehensive, yet concise and accessible overview of the free speech jurisprudence of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Analyzing the First Amendment expressive freedom opinions of justices from the 1920s through the 21st Century, the essays go beyond simply identifying and explaining key animating themes that are particular to specific members of the Court. The different authors also demonstrate the way in which free speech jurisprudence has evolved over time. Included are: Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.; George Sutherland; Hugo L. Black; William J. Brennan; John Marshall Harlan, II; Potter Stewart; Anthony M. Kennedy; Clarence Thomas; and Stephen Breyer.

The book is intended for use in undergraduate First Amendment and Civil Liberties courses. It fills an important void in the literature that is currently dominated by casebooks and works telling the stories of specific free speech decisions.

Dr. Knowles’s first book, The Tie Goes to Freedom, published in February 2009, examined the abortion, gay rights, race relations, and free speech opinions of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. It was the first book about Justice Kennedy, and was featured in a CATO Institute Book Forum later televised as part of the C-SPAN BookTV series.


In 2006 Helen received the U.S. Supreme Court Historical Society’s Hughes-Gossett Award – presented by Chief Justice John Roberts in a ceremony at the Supreme Court.

For more information about her career - the stuff she neither chooses to, nor considers it prudent to put on her homepage - please see the link to her cv.