Critical Legal Theory

Jon Hanson

An exploration of legal history and ideas, featuring the academics and activists who created them. read less
EducationEducation

Episodes

Episode 10: Duncan Kennedy on his 1983 Work “Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy: A Polemic Against the System.”
Mar 11 2023
Episode 10: Duncan Kennedy on his 1983 Work “Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy: A Polemic Against the System.”
In this episode, we’re bringing you the second portion of another interview with Duncan Kennedy. Here, Craig Orbelian and Duncan discuss Duncan’s 1983 work “Legal Education and the Reproduction of Hierarchy: A Polemic Against the System.”In it, Kennedy critiques the various ways the American legal education system contributes to and reinforces gender, socioeconomic, and racial hierarchies. Kennedy touches upon ideas such as:The impacts of radical law student activist groups that organized against administrative bodies and the broader institutions as a whole in the 1970s/1980s.Potential contributors that spurred a generational deradicalization of those leftist student activist coalitions in recent years. How CLS scholars and other cultural critics’ critiques of law school classrooms contributed to reforms in the repressive hierarchies found in these spaces. What it has looked like to shift away from the more traditionally brutal pedagogical regime towards a more liberal, softer style of teaching. And finally, among other things, Kennedy considers and discusses law professors’ techniques aimed at combating the gunner hierarchy and some of the drawbacks of these approaches, resistance as a habit and not just an activity, and what is meant by CLS members acting in their own interests. For more information and links on this episode and The Critical Legal Theory Podcast, visit our webpage.Visit the Systemic Justice Project website at systemicjustice.org
Episode 6: Duncan Kennedy on the Emergence of the Critical Legal Studies movement (Part Three)
Aug 27 2022
Episode 6: Duncan Kennedy on the Emergence of the Critical Legal Studies movement (Part Three)
Duncan Kennedy is the Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence, Emeritus at Harvard Law School. He is well known as one of the founders of the Critical Legal Studies movement.This episode is the final segment of Abbey Marr’s interview of Professor Duncan Kennedy. In this Part, Abbey and Duncan expand upon their  discussion of the role of identity, gender, and hierarchy within CLS and other social movements.Kennedy begins by talking about his 1985 article, Psycho-Social CLS and, building on that, the discussion turns again to hierarchy, and especially of internal hierarchy within the CLS movement, touching on questions like: What is the role of desire in the mentor-mentee relationship? In homosocial/homoerotic mentor/mentee relationships? What about when women become increasingly involved in the CLS movement, and Catharine MacKinnon puts words to the eroticization of domination? How should mentors view their mentees -- as extensions of themselves? As people free to develop their own works and careers?Marr and Kennedy  then return to the topic of how CLS ended as a movement and explore the lasting  impact of CLS on legal education and leftist impulses in 21st-century legal academia.Disclaimer: This episode contains explicit language.Throughout this episode, you’ll hear Duncan refer to people, events, and scholarly works that impacted or interacted with CLS. You can find links to most of those among the "Referenced Scholars and Works" as well as a rough transcript of the entire episode on our website page: https://systemicjustice.org/2022/08/clt-podcast-episode-6-duncan-kennedy-on-the-emergence-of-the-cls-movement-part-three/.  Visit the Systemic Justice Project website at systemicjustice.org
Episode 5: Duncan Kennedy on the Emergence of the Critical Legal Studies movement (Part Two)
Aug 18 2022
Episode 5: Duncan Kennedy on the Emergence of the Critical Legal Studies movement (Part Two)
Duncan Kennedy is the Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence, Emeritus at Harvard Law School. He is well known as one of the founders of the Critical Legal Studies movement.This episode contains the second part of Abbey Marr’s three-part interview of Professor Duncan Kennedy. In this part of their discussion, Duncan focuses on questions of hierarchy. How could a movement built on the idea of criticizing illegitimate hierarchy structure itself without reproducing the very sort of hierarchies it sought to resist?Kennedy discusses CLS critiques of hierarchy within what he calls the “profoundly conservatizing” law school classroom. He describes his efforts to address some of the harmful tendencies of the Socratic method and to disarm the so-called “gunners” by adopting the no-hassle pass and other pedagogical tactics. This portion of the interview begins to explore the complex intersectional tensions along vectors of race and gender and the growing fractures that would contribute to the sudden and complete burnout of CLS as a movement in the early 1990s. Throughout this episode, you’ll hear Duncan refer to people, events, and scholarly works that impacted or interacted with CLS. You can find links to most of those among the "Referenced Scholars and Works" as well as a rough transcript of the entire episode on our website page: https://systemicjustice.org/2022/08/episode-5-duncan-kennedy-on-the-emergence-of-the-critical-legal-studies-movement-part-two/. Visit the Systemic Justice Project website at systemicjustice.org
Episode 4: Duncan Kennedy on the Emergence of the Critical Legal Studies movement (Part One)
Aug 13 2022
Episode 4: Duncan Kennedy on the Emergence of the Critical Legal Studies movement (Part One)
Duncan Kennedy is the Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence, Emeritus at Harvard Law School. He is well known as one of the founders of the Critical Legal Studies movement.This episode is the first part of Abbey Marr’s interview of Professor Duncan Kennedy. In it, Abbey and Duncan discuss the emergence of the Critical Legal Studies movement and the role of personality in shaping the movement. Kennedy inventories the variety of skills needed for movement-building– including organizers, recruiters, inspiring orators, and relationship-builders–and explains how different types of people played different roles as the movement grew and evolved. He also sketches the social and political context that shaped CLS in the late 70s and early 80s.Later in the interview, Kennedy discusses what he has more recently described as CLS’s “syndicalist principle”-- that “democratizing the internal life of the law school was a completely valid form of left activity even if it contributed nothing directly or immediately to changing society beyond the workplace.” He also highlights  the struggle of movement participants to embed themselves–and their ideas–in the faculties of American law schools resistant to those ideas.. Throughout this episode, you’ll hear Duncan refer to people, events, and scholarly works that impacted or interacted with CLS. You can find links to most of those among the "Referenced Scholars and Works" as well as a rough transcript of the entire episode on our website page: https://systemicjustice.org/2022/08/episode-4-duncan-kennedy-on-the-emergence-of-the-critical-legal-studies-movement-part-one-2/. Visit the Systemic Justice Project website at systemicjustice.org