Workshops, & What Floats Your Intellectual Boat?
Law professors find intellectual stimulation in many places – the classroom, writing amicus briefs, chatting about current events, and producing new scholarship. Of course the writing process can be solitary and tortured. My wife knows that for every new paper there is at least one time I will throw up my hands, declare myself a fraud and my ideas worthless, only to be followed by similarly passionate declarations that I’ve seen the light, overcome the hurdles, and am in the process of producing groundbreaking legal scholarship. (Neither is really accurate.) Tortured as the writing process is, I do enjoy it so.
But perhaps even better is the faculty workshop – where ideas wrestled with in private find their way into the public. Whether I’m the presenter or a participant, the chance to engage on cutting-edge scholarship is probably my greatest professional delight. There’s nothing better than a long day where ideas are bantered around and fires glow in the eyes of all involved. I know some who see multiple workshops a week – e.g. the base faculty workshop series supplemented by specialty series in law and economics, law and humanities, legal history – as a burden. I see them as the best thing about going to work.
Over at Conglomerate, Christine Hurt asks whether workshops will be on the chopping block in these tough economic times, or perhaps change to an online format. While the online format can work — look no further than Christine’s junior scholars workshop on the Glom each summer — I certainly hope (and think Christine hopes) that this remains the exception rather than the rule. Am I alone? Would you miss the workshop in its present form as much I would? What floats your intellectual boat?