Students taking this seminar must be committed to producing publishable-quality papers as the work product of the seminar. Students seeking to take the seminar must apply for admission by submitting to Professor Franke by e-mail, no later than August 26, a two-page description of the writing project they will undertake during the seminar, plus a one-page reading list. Students who are admitted to this course and who accept a place in the course may not drop the course during the add/drop period at the beginning of the term.
This seminar will examine the production of legal scholarship for those who are or think they may at some later point be interested in a career as a legal academic. How do you select a topic? How do you match a methodological approach to the kind of question you are addressing? What does it mean to do interdisciplinary work? How do you go from outline to rough draft to finished article? How do you get your paper published? And most importantly, what makes for good legal scholarship? With a goal toward gaining greater focus for your research topics, exploring the theoretical and methodological underpinnings of a work, and in working through what it takes intellectually and practically to begin serious work on an academic paper, we will spend substantial time reading published scholarship across a range of methodological and substantive fields. Students will become familiar with how to both give and receive serious feedback on their work.
The seminar will focus on two related topics: (1) Expose students to various disciplinary approaches to legal scholarship, with the objective of making them methodologically aware, both as consumers of scholarship drawing on different disciplinary approaches, and as potential producers of scholarship within a particular tradition. This will include socializing students into the life of legal scholarship, with a focus on how legal scholars choose subjects for research, select appropriate methods for analysis, situate themselves within scholarly communities (both in law and academic disciplines), and maneuver between the different standards of law schools and the social science and historical fields; (2) Specific work on the students' individual writing projects, including discussion of topic selection, methodologies, voice and audience. The semester will close by workshopping student papers at a mini-conference.
Students may receive major writing credit for their work in this seminar. Students who wish to write papers in areas outside of Professor Franke's expertise are welcome in the seminar, but they will be required to find another, more knowledgeable, faculty member to provide additional substantive feedback on their papers.