Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving thanks for our professional community

Thanksgiving is about gratitude. I'm thankful every day that I get to make my living as a legal historian and be part of this terrific professional community. Here are some other legal history-related items on my list:
I'm grateful to my co-blogger Dan Ernst for sharing with me the joy of the archives and for reminding me that people in this field recognize good, thorough research.

I'm grateful to Mary Dudziak for teaching me what it means to be a professional, and, of course (as I've written here), for inviting me to be a part of this blog.

I'm grateful to the ASLH for doing so much in recent years to welcome graduate students and support junior scholars.

I'm grateful to Barbara Welke for modeling empathy, both in how she writes about historical actors and in her everyday dealings with other scholars. (And I'm grateful to the Hurst Institute for allowing me and so many others to get to know her.)

I'm grateful to the other legal historians in my professional "cohort" for not treating our enterprise as a zero-sum game, but instead helping each other succeed and grow.

I'm grateful to Bill Nelson for building community within the field and for tirelessly supporting junior scholars on the job market.

I'm grateful to Richard B. Bernstein for caring about the craft of writing and insisting that others do the same (witness the line edits he gives to every scholar who presents at the NYU legal history colloquium).

I'm grateful to the institutions around the country that support legal and constitutional history workshops and for the people who run them.

Last but not least, I'm grateful to Sally Gordon (LHB's own occasional advice columnist, "Ms. Peppercorn") for teaching me the meaning of the word "mentor" and for inspiring me to pay her generosity forward every chance I get.
The list could go on and on, but I hope that the spirit of the post is clear. LHB readers, what are you grateful for?