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Legal Intellectuals in Conversation

Legal Intellectuals in Conversation: Reflections on the Construction of Contemporary American Legal Theory

EDITED BY James R. Hackney
Copyright Date: 2012
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 255
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  • Book Info
    Legal Intellectuals in Conversation
    Book Description:

    In this unique volume, James Hackney invites readers to enter the minds of 10 legal experts that in the late 20th century changed the way we understand and use theory in law today. True to the title of the book, Hackney spent hours in conversation with legal intellectuals, interviewing them about their early lives as thinkers and scholars, their contributions to American legal theory, and their thoughts regarding some fundamental theoretical questions in legal academe, particularly the law/politics debate.Legal Intellectuals in Conversationis a veritable Who's Who of legal thought, presented in a sophisticated yet intimate manner.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-4543-4
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. INTRODUCTION Some Thoughts on Biography
    (pp. 1-17)

    A bit of personal background is necessary to fully understand the motivation behind this project. I attended Yale Law School between 1986 and 1989. It was truly an exciting time to be at Yale, which had more of the feel of a think tank than a law school. There were ideas flying around from every direction, but the big idea that captivated my imagination was law and economics. This was a predictable outcome given my undergraduate training in economics. But law and economics was only one of an array of theoretical positions being bandied about, which included law and literature,...

  5. 1 Critical Legal Studies
    (pp. 19-45)

    HACKNEY: Why did you make the choice to become a legal academic? KENNEDY: For me, becoming a legal academic was a third choice—given my druthers I would have been a novelist. And if not a novelist, I would have been a participant in a liberal political reform movement as a wielder of state power. Being a legal academic began to look good to me when I was in law school. When I began law school it never occurred to me to go into legal academics, but both the novelist option and the wielder of state power option suddenly began...

  6. 2 Law and Economics
    (pp. 47-61)

    HACKNEY: So why did you choose to become a legal academic?

    POSNER: I just fell into it. I didn’t have any plan, but when I was working for the government some law schools expressed interest in my becoming an academic.

    HACKNEY: And when you were in government what position did you have?

    POSNER: Well, it was in the sixties, and I was right out of law school. I spent six years in the government, first as a law clerk, then with the FTC and the Justice Department, and last working with the presidential task force.

    HACKNEY: It seemed like a...

  7. 3 Legal History
    (pp. 63-85)

    HACKNEY: I’m going to begin with some general background questions in terms of academic history and influences. So let’s start in college. Can you give me a sense of what it was like being a student at CCNY, now CUNY, in the early sixties?

    HORWITZ: It would be the years 1955–1959—the late fifties. So one of the general points is I felt the fifties all around me. In general, there was an incredibly narrow set of conventional wisdom about politics and morality and so on. The only difference was, at City College, there was this small active left...

  8. 4 Law and Society
    (pp. 87-111)

    HACKNEY: Your initial training is as a political scientist, and Amherst doesn’t have a law school, so how did you become interested in law as a subspecialty in political science, or have you always had that interest?

    SARAT: I went to graduate school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, for political science with the idea of studying and doing urban politics. My interests shifted, and my training as a graduate student and my PhD were focused in the field of political science, which was then called public law. After Wisconsin, I did a postdoctoral fellowship at the Yale Law School...

  9. 5 Critical Race Theory/Law and Literature
    (pp. 113-127)

    HACKNEY: Can you give an account of your undergraduate educational experience? What was the academic and political environment?

    WILLIAMS: Actually I was cross-registered at Wellesley and MIT; that is to say, while I matriculated from Wellesley I spent nearly half of my undergraduate years at MIT. My major was urban studies and city planning, which wasn’t exactly a strength at Wellesley, with its leafy green environs, at least not back then. However, MIT had an outstanding urban studies program so I took most of my major classes there. It was an extremely interdisciplinary curriculum, and that had a big impact...

  10. 6 Feminist Legal Theory
    (pp. 129-143)

    HACKNEY: Please give an account of your undergraduate training prior to law school and graduate school.

    MACKINNON: At Smith College, I was a government major but took courses in many other fields, taking advantage of its being a liberal arts college. My plan was to take everything but government the first two years, and then major intensively the last two. Political theory and constitutional law were my primary interests.

    HACKNEY: Were there any professors there who you studied with more closely?

    MACKINNON: Yes, Leo Weinstein, who is acknowledged in some of my books. I learned an immense amount from him....

  11. 7 Postmodern Legal Theory
    (pp. 145-165)

    HACKNEY: First, if you could just give a brief account of your undergraduate training. I think it was philosophy and math.

    CORNELL: I went to undergraduate school starting in 1968. By that time I’d already been a political radical, and had been involved in the civil rights movement from the time I was in high school. In fact, I volunteered to go to a black high school when I was fifteen. My first college was Scripps College and there was a struggle at that time to have a black studies program, so I quickly became involved in that. I became...

  12. 8 Contemporary Liberal Constitutional Theory
    (pp. 167-187)

    HACKNEY: First I want to begin with some preliminary background questions. Can you just give me a brief description of your undergraduate training?

    ACKERMAN: I was in government and philosophy at Harvard. My tutors were John Rawls, Judith Shklar, and William Yandell Elliott. I read about five hundred pages and wrote a twenty-page paper every week. So I really got a pretty good education in political philosophy at Harvard, and then I came to Yale Law School at one of its best moments. It was full of people with ideas, like Alex Bickel, Ronald Dworkin, Charlie Reich, Bob Bork, and...

  13. 9 Classical Liberal Constitutional Theory
    (pp. 189-203)

    HACKNEY: I’m going to begin first with some general background. You’re originally from Prague. Can you tell me a bit about your family migration to the United States and what impact that experience had on you?

    FRIED: I was very young when it happened. The impact is obviously conjecture and retrospective analysis. My parents were what I would describe as typical assimilated Jews from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. My mother was born in 1904; my father was born in 1899. Their adolescence and childhood was in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and then Czechoslovakia in their youth. My father was an engineer by...

  14. 10 Law and Philosophy
    (pp. 205-234)

    HACKNEY: First I want to begin by asking, why did you make the choice to be situated in a law school as opposed to a philosophy department?

    COLEMAN: Well, I view all these choices as somehow temporary, but that’s probably not the point. Rather than temporary, let’s say they are subject to revision, like my views generally in philosophy. My main area was always in philosophy of law, and I focused on the issues that I was interested in through the lens of philosophy—largely uneducated about how lawyers thought about the same subject and the context in which these...

  15. INDEX
    (pp. 235-244)
    (pp. 245-245)