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Sometimes I think I am the only person on the web who hasn’t met the Dalai Lama, wrestled a python along the Amazon, or climbed some insanely steep mountain. The fact is the only mountains I’ve climbed lately are mountains of unwashed laundry. But I hope you still want to learn more about me.

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.   And after authoring, editing, or translating several books and numerous articles on comparative law and philosophy, I am now trying my hand at commercial publishing, completing The Fun Master (under submission) and a number of short stories and personal reflections.

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

– Ernest Hemmingway


Things I Write

Scholarly Publications

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.

“Constitutional Theory represents an unparalleled milestone in Schmitt translations. Indispensable to scholars in political and legal theory, it will undoubtedly occupy a pivotal place in debates over Schmitt. In itself, the Seitzer-Thornhill introduction constitutes one of the most authoritative and intellectually sophisticated contributions to this field in decades.”

Joseph Bendersky

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).

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).

Scholarly Publications (More)

Andreas Kalyvas on Comparative History and Legal Theory in Constellations (2004).

Seitzer’s study breaks away from the orientations and interests that inform most of the existing literature on Schmitt and as such it represents a major methodological departure. Instead of engaging in unproductive polemics and by rejecting the standard portrayal of Schmitt as a thinker obsessed with violence, race, and the irrational, Seitzer focuses on a key aspect of Schmitt’s vast work that has been relatively overlooked: his constitutional theory. With a careful and detailed reading of Schmitt’s three major texts, Constitutional Theory, Guardian of the Constitution, and Legality and Legitimacy, Seitzer succeeds not only in establishing their pivotal place within the field of twentieth Century constitutionalism and jurisprudence, but also in challenging the conventional depiction of Schmitt as a categorical adversary of the Weimar Republic and an enthusiastic advocate of permanent dictatorship.



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


Public Radio Credits

Documentary Features

  • 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

Commercial Publications

Besides The Fun Master: A Memoir, I have written several short pieces.

“Final Friends,” a short story entered in Writer’s Digest

Your Story #83 competition; “Crisis du jour,” personal reflection entered in the memoir category of the Writer’s Digest 2017 Annual competition;

“Maybe Just a Vacant Lot to Some,” submitted to Chicago Magazine.

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

-Maya Angelou


The Fun Master
My Path To The Fun Master

My first scholarly writings were motivated by the thought that important problems in political and legal theory cannot be fully resolved through more sophisticated interpretive methods. Instead, I proposed using comparative history to identify and test different institutional responses to important problems. To illustrate this approach, I wrote a book on Carl Schmitt’s use of comparative history in several of his major writings during the Weimar Republic.

Shortly before this book appeared, I became a stay-at-home dad of our son Ethan, a wonderful boy with fragile health.  Unable to spend much time in the library, I needed projects I could work on mostly at home, so I translated and edited two of Schmitt’s major works, Legality and Legitimacy and Constitutional Theory.

Ethan thrived after a few rocky years. Able to get to the library more, I began work on a book about John Dewey’s argument in The Public and Its Problems that the key to enhancing international understanding is revive neighborhoods, where regular face-to-face contact is possible.

But then the worst possible thing happened: our son died in a tragic accident, not quite three weeks shy of his 10th birthday. Devastated and in need of understanding, I wrote a memoir, The Fun Master (under submission), which is a celebration of childhood, both Ethan’s as a remarkable child and mine as a man-child finally coming of age through my love for him. Anxious and self-involved, I was miscast as his stay-at-home dad and caregiver. Ethan’s joyful disposition and instinct for fun saved me from despair over and over as we made each day fun and rewarding regardless of the circumstances. Though forty-two years my junior, he taught me to control my anger, live in the moment, and accept others as they are.

I have written several short pieces since the completion of The Fun Master.  “Gangsterstadt Pizza,” a personal reflection about shipping a stuffed Chicago pizza to Germany for a friend’s birthday; “Final Friends,” a short story;  “A Vacant Lot to Some Maybe, ” a remembrance of Chicago’s Children’s Memorial Hospital, submitted to Chicago Magazine, and “Crisis du jour,” an entry in the 2017 Writer’s Digest Annual Competition under memoir. 

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

– Andre Maurois


I Translate
I am currently completing a translation for Oxford University Press entitled The Unfettered Court: A Critical Assessment of the Federal Constitutional Court after Seventy Years, writtern by Oliver Lepsius et al, and I have been commissioned to translate Christoph Möllers, Die Möglichkeit der Normen, both originally published by Suhrkamp. Please contact me if you have a major work in German you would like translated. My specialty is German history, law, philosophy, and politics. But I have a major interest in German literature and poetry and would like to try my hand at translating something in these areas, especially classic works