This is a cross-post from http://criticallegalthinking.com/2015/11/17/a-conversation-with-duncan-kennedy/
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A Conversation with Duncan Kennedy
by Tor Krever, Carl Lisberger, Max Utzschneider • 17 November 2015
The recently published volume 10 of Unbound: Harvard Journal of the Legal Left reflects on the career of Duncan Kennedy, Carter Professor of General Jurisprudence, Emeritus at Harvard Law School and a leading figure in the US Critical Legal Studies movement. The follow is an excerpt from a much longer interview included in that volume. The full interview is available on the Unbound site.
The first Critical Legal Studies Conference was in 1977. How did that come about?
In the fall of 1976, David Trubek had a dinner to try and figure out if this was a moment to put together various left, or genuinely progressive, academics to have a meeting. I had been Trubek’s student at Yale, but by this time we were close friends, and as was true with Morty and Roberto and Karl at the time, we trusted each other’s political instincts. We decided we would hold the meeting in Madison because David was by then a professor at the University of Wisconsin and he could get money from the law school. Then we decided on a list of people we would ask to be on the letterhead of the call to the meeting, and I drafted the letter and Mark Tushnet, who was at Wisconsin and the co-host, agreed to sign it.
Who did you end up inviting?
There were three main groups. First were the legal sociologists. Trubek was involved in the Law and Society Association—the American sociology of law network. It’s an interdisciplinary network: law professors and social scientists, most of them progressives. The big guns were Lawrence Friedman, Marc Galanter and Stewart Macaulay. And also Willard Hurst, who was a generation older. Trubek was aligned with them—they all had connections to the University of Wisconsin faculty. They understood themselves as representing social theory: they’d read Weber and all thought they’ve read a little Marx, although most of them had never taken him at all seriously—in the anti-Communist universe of their generation, nobody really read Marx. Read the rest of this entry »