The Under-Theorized Asterisk Footnote
26 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2005
The asterisk footnote, although universally deployed in legal scholarship, has been equally universally ignored by the academy as a focus of scholarly interest. As I use the term, asterisk footnote refers to the note (usually, but not always, the first one) that, inter alia, identifies the author and (usually, but not always) is indicated by an asterisk. This footnote is used by every scholar but analyzed by none. This scholarly inattention is shocking given the remarkable growth and development of the asterisk footnote over the last 40 years. This Article is the first effort to address this gaping lacuna in scholarship. It is my hope (perhaps not my expectation) that it will launch a wave of asteriskian studies that will throw new light on the legal academy.
In addition to tracing the history of the asterisk footnote from its origins in the primeval scholarly ooze to its present exalted status, the Article explores its significance for the legal academy on topics ranging from wholesale acknowledgements to dedications to pets. It also considers what light the asterisk footnote can throw on questions as diverse as the proper etiquette for tributes and the democratization of scholarship.
Keywords: Asterisk, star, footnote, legal scholarship, tribute, acknowledgements
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