The law, once elegant and opaque, tidy when vicious, has lost its simplicity. The humanist's vision of the law, culled from the imagination of Kafka, Dickens, or Dostoevsky, has become in recent years more complex, more mindful of both the coercive and the constitutive power of law. Conversely, the lawyer has come to view the humanities as something more than a mere kindergarten in which the necessary instruments of the trade have been acquired in order to be put to some real use.
This mutual recognition has produced a cacophony of voices in law schools throughout the country. Consider these scenes: a professor of civil procedure is baffled by a colleague's paper that seems to be about critical aesthetic theory; a course in contracts gets new inflections from scholars deconstructing Hadley v. Baxendale; a leading law journal mixes "traditional" subjects with postmodern collage "commentaries" and sections on literature and art.
Interdisciplinary studies are sweeping away the lines and divisions that once isolated law and the humanities. The lawyer and the humanist, however, continue to eye each other with suspicion, wary to credit the words and authority of an interested observer untutored in the nuances of a jealously guarded field. The dialogue between disciplines has remained impoverished.
We propose a journal that will provide a forum for interdisciplinary investigation as its fundamental objective, not as an afterthought to a project with another agenda. Eclecticism alone, however, is a precarious foundation for any intellectual enterprise. Too often boundaries are crossed, genres blurred, for their own sake. We make this assertion from an institutional base in a law school, but our staff is drawn from a broad array of disciplines. We are committed to the belief that this project can survive only if scholars both inside and outside the legal academy are integral to our inquiry.
"Note from the Editors,"
Yale Journal of Law & the Humanities:
1, Article 1.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yjlh/vol1/iss1/1