The Fun Master

Jeff’s New Book


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Jeff Seitzer writers award 2023 book of the year

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Born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska, I live now in Chicago with my family after a number of years in Washington, D.C., Germany, and London. Bartender, truck driver, nursing assistant, and college professor are just a few of the jobs I’ve held besides my primary occupation of stay-at-home dad. I survived encephalitis and a number of life-threatening accidents only to acquire a severe degenerative condition, which miraculously has had only a minor effect on me.  I’ve authored, edited, and translated several books and many articles on law and philosophy, and I have several new projects underway. However, I devote most of my energy now to writing short stories, personal essays, and creative nonfiction. Drill deeper to find information about and links to recent and forthcoming publications in literary journals, magazines, and newspapers as well as my award-winning memoir, The Fun Master (SparkPress 2022).

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”

– Ernest Hemmingway






Here are a few of my scholarly publications. Please contact me if you would like a complete listing.

Carl Schmitt, Constitutional Theory. Edited and Translated by Jeffrey Seitzer. Introduction by Jeffrey Seitzer and Christopher Thornhill (Duke, 2008.

Carl Schmitt, Legality and Legitimacy. Edited and Translated by Jeffrey Seitzer. With an Introduction by John McCormick (Duke, 2004).

“Nominated for an Unger German Translation Award”

Comparative History and Legal Theory: Carl Schmitt in the First German Democracy. Greenwood, 2001).


Selected Essays

Experimental Constitutionalism: A Comparative Analysis of the Institutional Bases of Rights
Enforcement in Postcommunist Hungary. In Constitutional Dialogues in Comparative Perspective (Macmillan, 1999). Experimental Constitutionalism: A Comparative Analysis of the Institutional Bases of Rights

Carl Schmitt’s Internal Critique of Liberal Constitutionalism: Verfassungslehre as a Response to the Weimar State Crisis. In Law as Politics: Carl Schmitt’s Critique of Liberalism (Duke, 1998).

Public Radio Credits

Documentary Feature

  • The Mostly Silent Partner: The Salvation Army and American Public Assistance.Public Affairs Program. WBEZ Radio. A National Public Radio Affiliate, Chicago, Illinois. Aired August 7, 1997.

On Air Segments, Produced and Directed

  • Temporary Workers
  • Dr. Seuss (Co-Produced and Co-Directed)
  • University of Chicago Economists
  • Churches and Social Welfare Reform


``There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.``

-Maya Angelou


My Writing Assignment

What’s a guy to do when he is surrounded by women not making eye contact? For me, the answer is simple: write in my notebook.

I started a journal at my mother-in-law Aleta’s suggestion, who thought one day I should share some of my stories about being a stay-at-home dad. But I decided against it when our son Ethan was around three, because he did not like to be the center of attention. As he put it: “I don’t need to be the main character. Some do. But not me.” I continued taking notes, though, just so that I could remember all the love we shared and the fun we had together.

Everything changed on a beautiful day in August of 2010, just two weeks shy of his tenth birthday. We were frolicking in the surf of Lake Michigan when we were swept into a maelstrom. The waves came from both directions simultaneously, crashing over our heads with great force. It was like being cast into a washing machine.

Suddenly, we were several feet under water. I held him by the collar of his swim shirt while I tried to swim toward the disk of light above us formed by the bright summer sun.   It was hopeless. We were sinking.   Eventually, my arms and legs gave out, and I was certain we were going to die. Just then the oddest thought popped into my head: I won’t be able to tell his story.

After several minutes under water, I was pulled to safety by someone, who had attempted to save Ethan, almost drowning himself. I have no recollection of him swimming out to rescue Ethan, and I cannot account for my survival. I do believe, however, that I was spared to tell his story, which is a celebration of childhood, his as a very remarkable child who overcame serious health problems with a joyful disposition that was truly infectious and an instinct for having fun under the most trying circumstances and mine as a man-child finally coming of age through my love for him.

“Without Family, Man, Alone, Trembles With Cold”

– Andre Maurois

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