An important aspect of being a junior scholar is having a cohesive scholarly agenda that presumably shows your faculty that you will continue writing, consistent with this agenda, at least until tenure (and hopefully the trend will continue post-tenure). However, one thing that I have noticed is that many midlevel and senior scholars (and some juniors) write in at least two fields. For example, two senior people in my field (Election Law) write in Civil Procedure and Immigration Law, respectively, but both of these individuals wrote in their secondary fields pre-tenure. This begs the question of when (and if) junior scholars should start thinking about other fields to break into, and how this affects the “cohesive” and “thematic” pre-tenure scholarly agenda. So much of my focus has been on Election Law since I started teaching, mostly because I love it, but also because there is a lot that still needs to be said in the field, which is dynamic and ever-changing. However, I also teach and have written in Employment Discrimination. I am tempted to start writing in this area again pre-tenure, mostly because I miss it and would love to be part of the conversation again. But I wonder if I should focus on one substantive area prior to getting tenure. While sticking to one area can give the impression that you are a “one trick pony” so to speak, there is also a countervailing concern of “doing too much,” which may affect the quality of the scholarship across the board.
I would love to hear any thoughts that readers may have.