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Histories of Legal Scholars: the power of possibility


Bartie, S, Histories of Legal Scholars: the power of possibility, Legal Studies, 34, (2) pp. 305-327. ISSN 0261-3875 (2014) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2013 The Author, Legal Studies, The Society of Legal Scholars

DOI: doi:10.1111/lest.12019


This paper makes two claims. First, it claims that there are various trends within academic law that discourage legal scholars from learning about their predecessors. These trends are explained. Secondly, it claims that there are a number of benefits which could flow from addressing this neglect. Several of these benefits have been acknowledged elsewhere. For example, some scholars maintain that ideas are best treated historically before being dealt with analytically. The more scholars read whole bodies of their predecessorsí works, the better their interpretations and understandings of such works become, thus strengthening the intellectual integrity of the discipline. While agreeing with this argument, the purpose of the second section of this paper is to articulate other, perhaps less obvious, benefits. It is argued that by learning about a wider range of past academic endeavour, legal scholars are encouraged to challenge existing notions of academic standing and consider not only what the legal academy has become but also what it ought to be. Learning about scholarly predecessors could help scholars better contextualise current challenges. Such learning could be empowering in the context of a discipline whose scholarly practices have meant that there has been little reason to look to the past.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:Public law
Research Field:Public law not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Justice and the law not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Bartie, S (Ms Susan Bartie)
ID Code:85947
Year Published:2014 (online first 2013)
Web of Science® Times Cited:11
Deposited By:Law
Deposited On:2013-08-16
Last Modified:2018-03-08

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