[PAST EVENT] 2014 Wythe Lecture by Professor Brian Tamanaha

March 20, 2014
3:30pm - 4:30pm
Law School, Room 124
613 S Henry St
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
Brian Z. Tamanaha is the William Gardiner Hammond Professor of Law and the 2013-14 Israel Tremain Faculty Fellow at the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis.

Lecture Description:
Jurisprudence is generally thought to consist of two main rival branches - natural law and legal positivism - along with a bunch of miscellaneous modern schools - legal realism, law and economics, critical theory, legal pragmatism, etc. In this lecture I argue that this conventional view of alternative theoretical approaches is misleading. Three main branches of jurisprudence have existed for several centuries, not two, but the third goes unrecognized as such because it has traveled under different labels and the underlying connections have been clouded by various confusions. The core insights and focus of this third branch, what I call "Social Legal Theory," trace in a continuous thread from Montesquieu, through historical jurisprudence, sociological jurisprudence, and legal realism, up to the present. I redraw the conventional jurisprudential narrative in a way that exposes unseen connections among theoretical schools and brings into focus critical issues about the nature of law that currently are marginalized by natural law and legal positivism.

Lecturer's Biography:
Professor Brian Z. Tamanaha is a renowned jurisprudence scholar and the author of eight books and numerous scholarly articles, including his groundbreaking book, Beyond the Formalist-Realist Divide: The Role of Politics in Judging. His articles have appeared in a variety of leading journals, and his publications have been translated into eight languages. Also an expert in law and society, he has delivered lectures in Brazil, Indonesia, Japan, France, the Netherlands, Colombia, Singapore, Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. He spent a year in residence as a Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Professor Tamanaha is the recipient of several book prizes and awards, including Professor of the Year, and a frequent speaker and lecturer at legal conferences throughout the United States and abroad. His professional affiliations include serving as a past member of the Board of Trustees of the Law and Society Association. Before becoming a law professor, he clerked for the Hon. Walter E. Hoffman, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. He also practiced law in Hawaii and Micronesia, where he served as legal counsel for the Micronesian Constitutional Convention, Assistant Attorney General for the Yap State, and Assistant Federal Public Defender for the District of Hawaii. He then earned a doctorate of juridical science at Harvard Law School.

The George Wythe Lecture Series began at the Law School in 1976. Wythe (1726-1806) was a distinguished lawyer, statesman, and judge, and mentor to Thomas Jefferson. In 1779, at Jefferson's urging, he was appointed as William & Mary's - and the nation's - first professor of law.

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