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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Where are the Scholars of Color in the Leiter Study?

In this iteration of the Highest Impact Faculty in 13 Areas of Specialization Brian Leiter broke out the top 10 most cited professors (all male) and added a list of the top 10 most cited female professors. Evidently, he wanted to identify women who had done well in this arena.  However, as Mike Rappaport pointed out, the study did not include a list of the most cited non-white professors.  Indeed, the study eliminated several categories included in prior versions of the study, one of which, Critical Theories, brought many male and female scholars of color into the list.  I know the study is executed carefully, and almost all claims of omission or error turn out to be unfounded.  Therefore, while I am surprised that, say, Richard Delgado or Kimberle Crenshaw did not make it into some category in the study, I assume the list is accurate.  Any theories on why there are so few?

Posted by Marc Miller on April 7, 2010 at 12:52 AM | Permalink


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I was surprised by the omission too. I'm not sure that critical theory is in such decline as to merit omission. Several CRT scholars (Derrick Bell, Kim Crenshaw, Jerry Kang) are listed among the top-10 of top faculties. One could compile a pseudo-list from those names, but then a few top CRT scholars are not at listed schools (e.g. Mari Matsuda at Hawaii), and so I do think it would be useful to have a list of top critical scholars as one of the categories in the specialty breakdown. But I also recognize that Leiter has limited time and resources, and I think the existing lists are quite helpful.

Posted by: Kaimi | Apr 9, 2010 6:24:46 PM

Wherever they are, they are definitely NOT hanging out at any of our national parks or forests, as there is almost NEVER a black, red or brown face to be seen there, unless it is that of a trinket seller or a Japanese tourist.

Posted by: malthus | Apr 7, 2010 3:35:46 PM

The errors are usually errors of omission in the specialty areas, and generally involve faculty with moderately high citation rates who were not at schools that were part of the study. So, e.g., the Family Law and Property listings will change a fair bit, but everything else will be minor. There won't be any changes in the overall top 25.

Mike Rappaport is certainly one of my favorite right-wing crazies, but I really am puzzled by his commentary. The last time we did a study like this, someone asked, "Who are the most-cited women?" Why? I guess because gender tends to be an important category around which people identify (I didn't know Mike didn't know this). So I put together a list of the ten most-cited female faculty in response to the query. This time, being clever, I did it even before asked. I'm not sure whether such a list is helpful or unhelpful, but at least some people are interested in it. Perhaps some people would be interested in a list of highly cited minority faculty. That's harder to calculate because one doesn't always know who the minority faculty are. (Did you know Issacharoff is Hispanic? I do only because I used to be his colleague. But he's part Argentinian not Mexican or Puerto Rican. Should that matter for this purpose? I've no idea.) By the way, a lot of the Critical Race Theory folks are not cited as much as they used to be, probably due to less work/interest in the area than, say, 10 years ago.

Posted by: Brian | Apr 7, 2010 10:09:44 AM

Usually BL's studies have a pretty high error rate in their initial release, which he corrects over time.

Posted by: dave hoffman | Apr 7, 2010 9:55:29 AM

Delgado is certainly cited a lot: A quick Westlaw search suggests he is cited around 200 times a year, or around 1,000 times over a 5-year period.

Posted by: Orin Kerr | Apr 7, 2010 1:24:00 AM

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