Review Essay - The Consumption of History in the Legal Academy: Science and Synthesis, Perils and Prospects
Journal of Legal Education, v.61, No.1, 2011, pp.139-165
28 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2012 Last revised: 17 May 2012
Date Written: April 4, 2012
History these days has become a major presence in the U.S. law school world. Marked growth of interest began in the late 1960s. It has continued ever since. But what is the relationship between history as taught and practiced in U.S. law schools and the scholarly history produced by professional historians? This essay addresses that relationship by asking whether or not legal “consumers” of history should be paying attention to four grand narratives of nineteenth century American history recently written by U.S. historians. Collectively these books allow one to evaluate the capacity of academic history to fashion a product of use to non-specialist consumers in disciplines such as law while remaining true to their own specialist knowledge base. Should the legal consumer be reading these new grand syntheses?
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