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Monday, November 07, 2005

Landing on his feet

Given my informal polling [ok, maybe I asked only Ethan], I think a few people of the sort who read and/or write for this blog were nervous about L'Affaire Drezner.  Could blogging spell the end of one's academic career? Are law schools subject to the same biases that U. of Chicago's poli sci department may have had against Drezner's blog?  I can't speak for my interlocutors, but I suspect in law schools, junior blawging prawfs were less anxious than their colleagues in other departments.  After all, law schools (typically) have a public relations person whose full time job is to flack and shill for the school, and to promote the law porn, as it were.  Law schools like the idea of having professors cultivate deep but also medium-broad renown, and blogging facilitates that mission, at least for some people sometimes.  The main objection, it seems, is whether it undercuts one's scholarly mission and/or productivity.  And the problem there is a vividness bias.  The prawfblawgers are, generally, just spending their free time "in the public eye" instead of playing tennis or XBox or tending to their kids or mates...except Juan Non-Volokh, but that's another story. 

Anyway, to the extent the "trauma" of L'Affaire Drezner existed, I think Drezner's recent post (entitled "Friday was a pretty good day.....") will allay some of the fears.  In less than a month since his surprising denial of tenure, Drezner has secured a tenured gig at the Fletcher School, where I'm sure he'll flourish and enjoy the best of Somerville's chow. Though this whole matter will prove to be Chicago's loss, and perhaps especially an enduring stain, it is is great news for Dan and for the blogosphere.  Congrats Dan!

Posted by Administrators on November 7, 2005 at 09:51 AM in Current Affairs | Permalink


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Matt, I tried to use qualified language re: the influence of the blog on the decision at Chicago. You are right that we don't know for certain, but Drezner himself speculated that it might be a cause, as did others. But I take your overall point as friendly and duly noted...

Posted by: Dan Markel | Nov 7, 2005 11:35:35 AM

I'm happy for Drezner. Not getting tenure is always disapointing, especially when one had a strong prima facie case, as he seemed to. But, do we have any evidence at all that his blog played any part? I know that in law schools tenure is the norm, but that's not the case in general for top universities. Many of them have tenure rates of 30 percent, some even less. The Penn philosophy dept. hasn't given anyone tenure in over ten years. Harvard philosophy didn't give anyone tenure in more than 25 years, I believe. So, it's quite possible that Drezner was just a victim of a harsh system. At best we should note that we really can't do more than speculate that his blog might have had something to do with it.

Posted by: Matt | Nov 7, 2005 11:10:50 AM

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