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May 17, 2010


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Alfred Brophy

Thanks for this, Dan -- this is exciting news. Columbia Law School sure has a lot of journals. I wonder, as I think a number of people did when CLS started their gender journal way back when, what the effect of a specialized journal is on scholarship in the area. In some ways, obviously, it provides another outlet for high quality scholarship in race (or gender or European business law or whatever). But does it also remove pressure from mainstream journals to publish that specialized scholarship? And does it in that way siphon off good scholarship from "main" law reviews? In short, I wonder if it increases segregation in the intellectual world?

Jacqueline Lipton

Re Al's comment: I suppose it's possible/likely that certain "fields" will increasingly come to be associated with specialty journals while others are more associated with mainstream journals. When I first moved to the U.S. (about 10 years ago now), I was told that international law was one of those fields where you shouldn't necessarily expect the best (or the most) scholarship to be in the general journals. Soon after, people started saying the same thing about IP. So maybe it's not segregation so much as finding more streamlined forums for work. Of course, that argument only works if P&T and appointments decisions don't place too much stock on placement in the top general journals. At my school, we've certainly seen a move from focus on only general journals to publications in top specialty journals in the context of P&T and appointments processes.

Bruce Boyden

My hypothesis would be exactly the opposite of Al's; I suspect that specialized journals get started because there is perceived to be a niche for scholarship that doesn't place as well as it should in main journals--too new or too technical. But then, as acceptance of that form of scholarship increases, it places better in the main journals, and the specialty journals see their submissions dry up.

Brando Simeo Starkey


I think these sorts of journals are great for young/aspiring academics who do race work. Georgetown has a new race journal and is publishing two of my pieces. I also think this will help ideas bubble up so that general law reviews start seeing the work as legitimate.

Alfred Brophy

I agree with Brando--these are excellent places to read exciting work. Michigan J Race & Law is one of my favorite journals.

I'm not as confident as Bruce about long-term trends. I hope he's right and the arc of legal scholarship in this era bends towards acceptance.

Perhaps this is a conversation that the journal itself would be interested in! Back in 2003 the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law had a good symposium that addressed these sorts of issues -- what's the place of gender journals in promoting scholarship. I liked Felice Batlan's and Joanna Grossman's pieces in particular.

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