Hammond Society

The Hammond Society is named for the late Professor Hammond, whose initial gift continues to help finance its activities to serve the needs of students within the department. Some of the activities are social; meetings are held regularly to discuss concerns about the program, which may include lobbying the faculty for changes. Another function of the Hammond Society is a discussion group in which graduate student papers are read and critiqued.

How to Join

Membership in the Society is reserved, as set forth in the Constitution, solely for graduate students in the Department of Philosophy of the Johns Hopkins University. There is provision, however, for the election of members who otherwise do not immediately qualify for membership, though this is, to the best of our knowledge, a technicality of which little use was, or is, ever made.

Full membership in the Society has been set to $25. Dues may be paid to the treasurer and should be given in advance of any meeting at which a qualified student would wish to participate with full rights of membership.

Constitution and Bylaws

The history behind the constitution of the Society, like a great many other of the details of the body’s earliest days, has been, if not quite lost, then thickly obscured. More than two decades separate us from the last known mention of the document as it was originally framed, and still precisely what inspired the drafting of the document as it was then, and how it may have altered since those days until its later vanishing, remains unclear. But if present custom should be taken as any indication, much of what was there laid out appears, rather than to have been purposefully sloughed off in favor of another instrument or none at all, more likely to have simply faded, first from its stature as formality, and thereafter from memory all together.

The document which is presented here, unearthed in the University Archives as three crinkled, year-yellowed sheets, is to the best of our knowledge the original governing instrument of the Society. It can be said with certainty to date in the main to sometime before 1985 (the same year in which the president of the Society casually alludes to the document in a letter to incoming students) and—though we are left only to conjecture—probably well before that. Whether or not it bore any further amendment since those days remains, as a result of the sickly state of the records, quite unsure. (Though, on this subject as before, a look at the unwritten customs handed down through the Society would seem to suggest a great many more continuous threads with past administrations than rupture or upheaval.)

Whatever the case may have been, the Society voted unanimously at the start of the Fall 2009 term to reaffirm the authority of the original form of the constitution, amended in parts, and eventually also a modified form of the Bylaws, both of which can be viewed and downloaded from the link below.

Constitution of the Hammond Society