Prof. Rougeau Participates in London’s “Cheapside Debates”

Author: Susan Good

Vince Rougeau

Notre Dame Professor of Law Vincent Rougeau was invited to participate in one of London’s best-known forums—The Cheapside Debates—on Tuesday, March 10 at the St. Mary le Bow Church. The Cheapside Debates form a regular program of nine debates each year on matters of public and faith interest, usually chaired by the Reverend Jeremy Caddick, dean of Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

This debate is titled “Imagining America: The Vocation of a Nation.” The debate’s other speaker is Michael Binyon, lead writer and former diplomatic editor of “The Times of London.”

Rougeau was invited to speak as the author of the book “Christians in the American Empire: Faith and Citizenship in the New World Order,” released in November 2008 by Oxford University Press. In it he argues that orthodox Christianity, properly understood in its intellectual and historical context, is much more supportive than is generally understood of many of the political and legal ideas championed by “progressives” in American politics. Using Catholic social teaching and its secular philosophical antecedents as his point of departure, Rougeau explores how key assumptions underlying Catholic thinking diverge from many of the ideas animating American law and public policy in areas like poverty relief, immigration, and redress for racial discrimination. He also develops an understanding of Christianity as a natural partner for international human rights and a foundation for a legal cosmopolitanism that transcend nation-state boundaries.

His current research and writing consider the relationship between religious identity and notions of democratic citizenship and membership in an increasingly mobile global order, one that is marked in certain regions by high levels of economic inequality and political instability. During the 2008-2009 academic year, he will be working on a second manuscript as a Senior Fellow of the Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago in which he hopes to explore the intersections between cosmopolitan philosophy and Catholic social teaching as a way to reconsider the role of religion in multi-faith, pluralist democracies.

Rougeau joined the Notre Dame Law School faculty as a visiting associate professor in 1997 and became a tenured associate professor in 1998, after teaching as both assistant and associate professor at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. He served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 1999-2002. He received his A.B. magna cum laude from Brown University in 1985, and his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1988, where he served as articles editor of the Harvard Human Rights Journal.

Rougeau’s teaching interests are in contract and real estate law, as well as in law and religion. He teaches first year contracts, real estate transactions, and seminars in Catholic social teaching and immigration and multiculturalism. He is a member of the bar in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Before entering the academy, he practiced law at the Washington, DC office of Morrison & Foerster from 1988-1991.

Professor Rougeau is a Research Associate at the Von Hügel Institute, St. Edmunds College, Cambridge University. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Contextual Theology Center (“CTC”) in London and co-founded an effort called “Just Communities: Christian Witness in a Pluralist Society.” Just Communities is a partnership among Notre Dame, the CTC, and Magdalen College, Oxford University that explores the role of religious communities in community organizing and the formation of democratic citizens in the multi-cultural neighborhoods of East London. He is the director of the Notre Dame Law School’s Center for Law and Government and supervises the Journal of Law, Ethics, and Public Policy.

CONTACT: Vincent Rougeau, 574-631-8610,