The Center for the Study of Federalism (CSF) was founded in 1967 by Daniel J. Elazar at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Center operated at Temple University until Professor Elazar’s death in 1999. Thereafter, the Center moved to Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania, under the direction of John Kincaid. The CSF website was launched in 2016 in order to enhance the visibility of the Center’s past and current work.

The Center’s most well-known product is Publius: The Journal of Federalism, first published in 1971. The journal’s first and long-time editor was Daniel J. Elazar, followed by John Kincaid, Carol Weissert, and John Dinan.

The Center has attracted a diverse array of scholars and students to participate in its activities, generated many publications, and organized many conferences and workshops on diverse themes, especially American federalism, comparative federalism, American political culture, covenant and politics, civil communities, cities of the American prairie, urbanization and suburbanization, and state constitutions.

The Center also has hosted many institutes for young international scholars funded by the U.S. Information Agency and U.S. Department of State as well as institutes for middle-school and high-school teachers funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and Liberty Fund seminars on many different topics.

In all these ways, the Center has served as the leading academic institution in the United States for the study of federalism. It also played an important role in bringing together scholars and practitioners interested in this field by founding the Section on Federalism and Intergovernmental Relations of the American Political Science Association, as well as the International Association of Centers for Federal Studies, and helping to found the Research Committee on Comparative Federalism and Multilevel Governance of the International Political Science Association.