Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hoyos, "The Role of Legal History in Legal Scholarship"

Over at JOTWELL, Roman Hoyos (Southwestern Law School) reviews Tabatha Abu El-Haj, "Changing the People: Legal Regulation and American Democracy," Vol. 86, New York University Law Review (2011). In doing so, he comments on "the role of legal history in legal scholarship." Here's a taste:
What struck me immediately about the article was how Abu El-Haj framed it.  In a seven-page introduction she spends two paragraphs on legal historiography; her main target is law and democracy scholarship.  Consciously or not, Abu El-Haj has offered an example of how to smooth the ground between historian and legal scholar.  Translating between disciplines, Elizabeth Mertz has told us, is a project fraught with misunderstanding.  But, perhaps because of her training in a law and society program, Abu El-Haj appears to have both the fluency and willingness to attempt an effective translation.  In this article, for example, she uses “the repertoire of democratic political practices” in the past to expose and undermine two major assumptions of modern law and democracy scholarship.
Read on here.