September 17, 2021

Victory for academic freedom at the University of Toronto (UPDATED)

After an offer on the law faculty was blocked as a result of outside political interference, the University of Toronto was censured by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT).  CAUT has now "paused" the censure, since the University has now offered the position to the candidate previously blocked. 

UPDATE:  The censure is only "paused" because it's not yet clear whether the University of Toronto will protect the offeree's academic freedom in the face of harassment from outside groups.

(Thanks to Mohan Matthen for the pointer.)

9/18/21 UPDATE:   This is not so good:

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), which imposed the censure in April, says it has called for a pause on the measure after it says the school met one of its key demands: to re-offer the position of director of the school's International Human Rights Program to Valentina Azarova....

After careful consideration, the CAUT says, Azarova has declined the offer.

"Her decision, while unfortunate, is understandable given the University's initial reaction to the unfounded and scurrilous attacks on her reputation and her research," CAUT said in a statement Friday.

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September 17, 2021 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

September 13, 2021

On mention of the N-word in a pedagogical context

Sensible analysis, as usual, from law professor Randall Kennedy (Harvard); an excerpt:

I am skeptical of some of the claims of hurt. I suspect that some of them are the product of learned strategic ripostes. It is now well known that in certain settings, particularly those that strive to be socially enlightened (like colleges and universities), you can effectively challenge speech to which you object by claiming not only that it is socially abhorrent (racist, sexist, transphobic, etc., etc., etc.) but that it makes you feel insulted, offended, or endangered.

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September 13, 2021 in Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice | Permalink

September 08, 2021

Fall 2021 law school admissions

The Blog Emperor has the final statistics.

September 8, 2021 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

September 06, 2021

Best of the summer blog

September 03, 2021

New "State and Local Government Law" blog..., featuring an excellent group of younger as well as more senior scholars.

September 3, 2021 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

September 01, 2021

"Record-breaking diversity at top law schools"

So this news story announces, but when you look at the details, all you find is reference to "students of color," which presumably includes students of Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Bengali, South American, and Cuban descent, as well as African-Americans; and it probably also includes non-American students from China, Japan, India etc..  That the actual representation of African-Americans is now rendered invisible by the triumph of "diversity" (thanks to a mistaken SCOTUS opinion by a Southern corporate lawyer!) tells us how much we have betrayed affirmative action's original goal:  namely, as remediation (indeed, reparations) for the world-historic injustice and cruelty visited upon African-Americans for hundreds of years in the United States, from slavery to de jure apartheid in the South and de facto apartheid in much of the North.  Compensating the victims and their descendants for this grotesque history was the real purpose of affirmative action, not "diversifying" schools with anyone non-white to allegedly improve the educational experience of everyone else.  Of course, the current SCOTUS is unlikely to restore affirmative action's original purpose, let alone follow Bakke and GrutterYet another reason to rein in the super-legislature known as the Supreme Court!


September 1, 2021 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

July 30, 2021

New Facebook group for those interested in "Experimental Jurisprudence"


(Thanks to Roseanna Sommers [Michigan] for calling this to my attention on Twitter.)

July 30, 2021 in Jurisprudence, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

July 19, 2021

Invitation to participate in "Legal Academy and Theory Survey"

Law professor Kevin Tobia (Georgetown) writes:

I am conducted an anonymous survey, with a graduate student collaborator, to learn more about the legal academy and legal theory. Anyone who self-identifies as a member of the “legal academy” is invited to participate. Participants might include, among others: law professors, fellows, and students; legal practitioners; and scholars from adjacent fields.

The survey has three parts: 1. Demographics; 2. Your views about which areas of law are most “central” in the legal academy; 3. Your views about substantive questions in legal theory. You are invited to take all parts of the study and are welcome to skip any questions, for any reason. The survey has obtained ethical approval and no identifying information will be retained. Detail about the survey construction can be found here. The survey will close on September 1, 2021. Thank you for your help!

To take the survey, follow this link:

July 19, 2021 in Of Academic Interest | Permalink

July 16, 2021

Books by Nobel prize winners to read (or listen to) this summer

One of the great joys of being a student or academic is the ability to engage in self-directed learning.  The freedom this affords can be overwhelming, given the massive volume of books, articles, and other media that could be consumed.  This raises the question, what should be read for pleasure first?

Recently, I've been reading (and listening to audio books) by Nobel prize winners.  There are of course many great books by people who have not won Nobel prizes, and who many never win one (for example, because they work in a field that is not eligible).  But there seem to be few bad books by Nobel prize winners, and so I've been pleased with my selections.*  

I'm including a partial list of books by Nobel prize winners that I've recently enjoyed. 

I encourage others to use the comments section to include books by Nobel prize winners that they've enjoyed. Please only use the comments for this purpose, and please include your real name.

Please also indicate what field the author won the Nobel prize in, and (to your knowledge), whether an audio book version is available.  For purposes of the list below, I am including the Nobel prize in economics and am not counting the Nobel Peace prize, since my interest is in scientists, writers and social scientists rather than politicians. 

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July 16, 2021 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Of Academic Interest, Science | Permalink | Comments (4)

July 12, 2021

Disability in a post-pandemic world

Law professor Adam Samaha (NYU) writes insightfully about this issue, drawing on his own experience.

July 12, 2021 in Faculty News, Of Academic Interest | Permalink