University of Wisconsin–Madison
Students listen to a lecture on the first day of class. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)


People affiliated with the Center teach a number of courses for undergraduates at the University. See them here.

CSLD Undergraduate Essay Competition

2019 Topic

“Should social media platforms be permitted to censor controversial speech?”

This year’s essay topic reflects on the heated and ongoing discussions about the role of social media in American social life, elections, and democratic practice.

First place: $1,000
Second place: $500
Third place: $250

The winners will also be invited
to a dinner hosted by the Center

Length: ~1000 words
Only essays from undergraduate students will be accepted. The deadline for submission is March 15, 2019. Submit your essays through the form below.

  • Please use your email address.
  • Accepted file types: doc, docx, pdf.
    Upload your essay. Remember, it should be about 1000 words long. Please upload only Word documents or PDFs.

2018 Topic: “Should the Citizenship Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution—which states that ‘All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside’—be repealed or modified to restrict more precisely the definition of who may claim citizenship?”

Winners: Dana Coggio, Ben Johnson, August Schultz

2017 Topic: “Should the U.S. Electoral College be abolished, reformed, or left to the states to determine?”

Winners: Ean Quick, Garrett McLaughlin, Joshua Gutzmann

2016 Topic: “Are the goals of fostering freedom of speech on campus and of fostering a welcoming environment for all students incompatible?”

Winners:  Joshua GutzmannRebekah CullumZawadi Carroll

Students listen and take notes as Cindy I-Fen Cheng, associate professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, teaches during her History 161 - Asian American History lecture course in the Humanities Building on Feb. 21, 2017. Cheng is a recipient of a 2017 Distinguished Teaching Award. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madison)