Scholarly Paradigms: A New Tradition Based on Context and Color
UVA Law Faculty Affiliations
This essay addresses two issues: (1) whether neutral scholarly paradigms or traditions exist, and (2) assuming their existence, whether minority scholars should embrace them. These two issues, which I have addressed indirectly in my recent scholarship, have been the primary focus of my academic interest. I believe many scholars have lost sight of these questions in the debate over the existence and worth of the "voice of color." This debate can be reduced further to the issue of whether there is one predominant scholarly paradigm or tradition by which to evaluate the merit of all scholarly works, or whether there are multiple evaluative scholarly paradigms which should be employed to evaluate "non-traditional" scholarship.
There is an ongoing debate over the existence and use of "voice" in legal scholarship by scholars of color. Some scholars of color assert that they speak with a unique, distinctive voice that is privileged to speak to certain-for want of a better term-"colorrelated" issues. Professor Randall Kennedy of Harvard Law School intensified the debate over the existence of the voice of color with the publication of Racial Critiques of Legal Academia, in which, among other things, he challenged the existence of the voice of color and its privilege to speak to certain race-related issues. The publication of Professor Kennedy's controversial article has prompted scholarly discourse about this issue, including a colloquy in Harvard Law Review 6 and a reply to this present essay.