Today, there is a great wealth of advice available to faculty candidates who wish to become law professors. One of the little known avenues for becoming a law professor (much neglected in even the best existing literature) is to get a job as a resident French intellectual.
Many applicants will have overlooked this possibility at the AALS recruitment conference this past weekend, but now that it’s past, it is time to consider a make-over.
Imagine the surprise at your call-backs when you arrive at the law schools as a freshly minted, full-fledged French intellectual! Not only will you evoke surprise and break expectations–always a good thing with law professors–but you’ll cause everyone to take a new look at you.
In an effort to help out, we offer the following model interview inspired by the famous Paris Match interviews of the 70’s. While we have not adapted the original French form to the 2011 American law school context, the transpositions are obvious—indeed, effortless. Take your cues from here. You will notice in what follows that the French intellectual almost always interrupts the interviewer. This is a good strategy, not only with French media, but with American law faculties as well. Everyone will appreciate your directness.
The Model Interview
Question: We wish to ask you first about what you see as the situation—
Interviewee: The situation, as it presents itself in this moment, in all its particularity, requires a transversal approach that would, at one and the same time implode the subject/object duality while nonetheless—and I insist upon this—enabling a dispersion of temporalities that can access a variety of mobile interests, forms and politics. This, I think, is where we must begin. I am working on this project presently.
Question: But what do you think is—
Interviewee: It’s not so much a question of “is” but of the “what could be” of the moment before. Because, of course, the moment before is already an anticipation of the “is.” Otherwise, where would we be?
Question: So are you attempting to juxtapose—
Interviewee: No. No. No. Juxtaposition is not the issue. That is vieux jeu. I could, of course, elaborate here, but I refuse to use proper names. It suffices to say that we are past that. Definitively. Unalterably.
Question: You seem upset. How can you be certain that the answer lies in—
Interviewee: I think, you are re-inserting here—and please understand, I do not question your good faith in the least—a mode of interrogation that is no longer acceptable today. The lines of force and resistance have moved, have been completely displaced.
Question: Does this call for a new paradigm then or a….
Interviewee: Paradigm? Well perhaps. Paradigm—you know, that belongs to the Anglophone tradition. And, of course, in consequence, there are certain familiar unavoidable limitations. I would think rather of a new form of apprehension. This refers back, of course, to the transversal approach I mentioned earlier. Everything depends upon this. This would be a good place to break?
Question: Thank you.
(Lest this be taken the wrong way–of which there is a great chance–please realize that my citation ratio of French intellectuals to Anglophone case law precedent in my published work is, I would guess, roughly 15 to 1.)