Convergence and fragmentation

by Paul Maharg on 08/10/2014

I’m giving a paper today at Melbourne Law School, by kind invitation of Gary Cazalet, title ‘Convergence and fragmentation: legal research, informatics and legal education’.  Slides up on the Slides page above.  The paper is a version of draft chapter five of a book I’m writing, Genealogies of Legal Education (interim chapter titles in the slides), which I hope to have finished next year.  Comments most welcome.  More of this in a future post.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kristoffer Greaves October 8, 2014 at 09:23

Thanks for sharing the slides, Paul, they are really interesting and a handy reference. I know this question is tangential, but one of the slides prompted the thought – should we problematise the notion of “authenticity” in #legaled, more than we do?

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2 Paul Maharg October 8, 2014 at 11:27

Kris — totally agree. I think it’s one of the central issues, not tangential at all. I see Kat is raising it in her tweets with Pete Smith — more on that when I get time to blog properly (thanks Kat, good issues).

See Barton, K., McKellar, P., Maharg, P. (2007). Authentic fictions: simulation, professionalism and legal learning, Clinical Law Review, 14, 1, 143-93. Paper available at SSRN: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1086778. I’ve always been fascinated by the authenticity debates, the lines of which move across disciplines. I first came across them in literature, reading Lionel Trilling’s Sincerity and Authenticity way back in the 1970s and being caught by it, but disagreeing with him, yet obscurely not knowing why. Then in education, the debates around situated learning and constructivism really interested me — they were very deftly analysed by Joe Petraglia (his book title says it all — Reality by Design: The Rhetoric and Technology of Authenticity in Education), and then Jan Herrington’s work in the online arena. We used Joe’s analysis in our own article in the Clinical Law Review, but argued for a more nuanced version of it allied to Engerstrom’s CHAT framework (with a nod to the authenticity debates arising in early music) which we extended, baroquely, now I look back on it (but it was great fun to test our own practices against it). We were aware that we really needed to state a position on it, get it right jurisprudentially, ethically, educationally and embody that in practical educational design terms as well.

But that article isn’t my final word on it, because I don’t think there is a final word. There’s Adorno on authenticity, Richard Sennet on inauthentic practices (which I answer in Transforming Legal Education, chapter 8), and much else. More later on this.

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3 Kristoffer Greaves October 14, 2014 at 11:31

Thanks for the references, Paul, much appreciated. I first engaged with the question of “authenticity” when performing in Ljubisa Ristic’s 1984 for the 1984 Adelaide Festival. Part of my performance related to the early Aboriginal Protection Acts that attempted to legally define “aboriginal” with reference to a “preponderance of blood”. Later, I engaged with “authenticity”, particularly cultural “authenticity”, during undergraduate English and Australian literature studies that happened to coincide with the Helen Demidenko debate during the early 90s. These were formative experiences in developing my philosophical scepticism about claims for authenticity 🙂

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