On the heels of my confession that I couldn’t let go of any opportunity to put one more feather in my law school hat, I decided to compete for yet another feather. The Law Review recently sent out its invitation for Book Notices, which are essentially student authored book reviews, to appear in our annual survey of books, typically volume 6, along with the professor-authored book reviews. This is another chance for a student editor to publish scholarly work, and I wanted to give it a try. Of course, like any other law school feathers, this one must also be earned with quite some effort: first I will have to write a proposal, then it will be up to the book review office to select from a pool of proposals which ones to publish, then, if I get lucky, the review has to be written, reviewed by the board, edited, and bluebooked.
My inexplicable competitiveness aside, the main reason I wanted to write the reviews is because the books I have in mind happen to touch upon issues that I deeply care about. Both are written by American legal scholars on China. One explores the history and modern practice of China’s death penalty, and the other examines the modernization of China’s rule of law and its implications for China’s global competitiveness (there’s that c-word again). Reviewing either one would be a fun summer project and a chance to learn more about my home country, in addition to the summer job, and grading 1L writing competitions.
In the not-too-distant past I resisted the idea of writing a China-related paper. I didn’t want to be seen as taking advantage of my nationality and ethnicity in getting something published–It wouldn’t be hard to infer that an American student isn’t really serious about his academic work if he goes to study in China, only to produce a paper about America, and I didn’t want to be seen that way. But now I figure I have to start reducing my level of ignorance in Chinese law sooner or later, so might as well start now.