July 25, 2005
Oh, and Delenda Est Carthago
Posted by Dave Hoffman

Today ends my guest blogging stint here at the Conglomerate.  A big thank you to Christine, Gordon and Vic for letting me crash at their place. 

As I was thinking about how to sum up and tie together the random assortment of topics I've blogged on, I got to wondering about the push (in academic hiring, and elsewhere) to require people to articulate overarching agendas which their public works all should serve. 

This push to be thematically consistent reminds me of Cato the Elder's famous argument-ending slogan, Delenda Est Carthago ("Carthage Must Be Destroyed"). Obviously, having a story and sticking to it is a huge advantage for a politician.  But for an academic, the idea of having all of your articles serve one agenda is a bad one. It leads to overspecialization, to narrowness of vision, and to distorting the law in service of some normative end.  I wish we didn't ask the "research agenda" question (and we found some other way to test the candidate's commitment to scholarship).  So I guess I'll pass on summarizing my posts here, except to say: it's been fun!

[On a side note, I really wish I could think of a policy goal suitably grand and concrete enough to justify appending to all of my comments during faculty meetings.  What I have in mind currently is just not good enough:  "...that is my opinion. It is also my opinion that we should have real milk in the faculty coffee room."]

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