Thinking Outside the Disciplinary Box

a discussion with Paul Frymer and Kim Lane Scheppele

Mon, 10/04/2010
4:30 PM, Library Lounge, Bendheim Center for Finance
Event Category: 
Graduate Students

* Please note new location *

Thinking outside the box?  By this, we mean contemplating careers other than teaching in the field in which you're getting your PhD.  The options for law-engaged graduate students are actually more numerous than this.  Because legal studies is on the way to becoming a discipline of its own, it is increasingly difficult to tell in which field a law-engaged scholar has her/his PhD when doing law-related work.   It is, therefore, relatively easy to move among political science, sociology, history and anthropology, among other fields.  There are also an increasing number of legal studies departments, law and society programs, criminology schools and other interdisciplinary venues for law-related work.   If you have a law degree, you might consider the law school teaching market. There  are specialized post-docs and fellowships for people in our field as well. And, increasingly, there is an international market in law-related fields.   Paul Frymer and Kim Scheppele will cover as much of this as we can on Monday.

Paul Frymer, former LAPA acting director, is on the faculty in the Politics Department.  Paul's PhD is in political science and he has a law degree as well.  At the start of his career, he went out on the AALS job market for jobs in law schools as well on as the academic market in multiple fields.  He landed in one of the most creative sociology departments in the country at the University of California at San Diego.  (UCSD has a wonderful interdisciplinary department that takes all interesting social science work to be sociology.)  After a year as a LAPA fellow, Paul then moved to the University of Santa Cruz to become the director of the legal studies program there.  In 2008, he joined the Princeton faculty -- this time with tenure in the Politics Department.   

Kim Scheppele also has a hybrid career.   As finishing her PhD in sociology, she was hired by Michigan's political science department, where she spent 12 years of her career identifying primarily as a political scientist.  She then moved to the University of Pennsylvania Law School as a full-time law professor for nearly a decade.  At Princeton, her appointments are in the Woodrow Wilson School, the Center for Human Values and the Sociology Department.  Along the way, she was the founding chair of the Gender and Culture Program, now a PhD-granting Department of Gender Studies, at Central European University in Budapest and taught in the Ethnic and Minority Studies Department at the Eotvos Lorand Tudomanyegyetem (otherwise known as the University of Budapest).  Last year, she was a visiting professor at the Yale Law School.

For both Frymer and Scheppele, then, each time they switch universities, they also switch disciplines of primary affiliation.  That is one reason why LAPA thought it would be good to have a conversation about disciplines, careers and ways to think differently about your options.