The Spirit of Regina Austin’s Contextual Analysis: Exploring Racial Context in Legal Method and Writing Assignments and Scholarship
Charles R. Calleros
Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
Journal of Marshall Law Review, Vol. 34, p. 281, 2000
In Professor Regina Austin’s article, Bad for Business: Contextual Analysis, Race Discrimination, and Fast Food,” 34 J. Marshall L. Rev. 207 (2000-2001), the central thesis is that many legal issues can be fully appreciated only in their social context, and specifically, in their racial context. Thus, data about an ethnic group's distinctive experiences in, or relationship to, a larger community-perhaps through formal ethnographic studies, or perhaps through other means-often can inform teaching, scholarship, and representation of clients in a meaningful way.
Professor Austin's thesis is supported by the teaching and scholarship of teachers of legal method of writing. This essay shares some examples from that field to illustrate both the benefits and the minefields of exploring issues of difference, of "otherness," in the classroom and particularly in legal writing courses or in seminars with writing components. This essay also suggests different ways that race or other facets of "otherness" can be acknowledged and confronted, rather than ignored, in the law school classroom.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 17
Keywords: legal education, race, diversity
Date posted: July 7, 2009
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