Tayyab Mahmud on the politics of scholarship

In addition to Frank Valdes and Margaret Montoya, our friend and colleague Tayyab Mahmud (Seattle University School of Law) also attended the first annual Margaret Montoya Legal Scholarship Retreat at Campo Sano in Central Florida. Here are a few things we learned from Professor Mahmud, who shared his thoughts on the politics of scholarship:

  1. Academia’s Golden Rule. Among many other pearls of wisdom, Professor Mahmud shared one of the most important bits of scholarly advice we have ever received: “To be taken seriously, one must take the work of others seriously.”
  2. Every law has an exception. Beginning with the famous Roman law maxim necessitas non habet legem (“necessity knows no law”), every legal doctrine, rule, or principle always has an exception or outer limit. Indeed, not only does every rule have an exception; it is the exceptions that tell you what the rule really is!
  3. What metaphorical Kool-Aid are you drinking? According to Wikipedia, the phrase “drinking the Kool-Aid” is an idiom or popular expression that refers to a person or group who goes along with a doomed or dangerous idea because of peer pressure. (The quote below by actress Kat Dennings captures this idea perfectly.) In Academia, the “Kool-Aid” might refer to one’s theoretical paradigm or to the hidden assumptions that one simply accepts as true instead of subjecting to rigorous examination.

Image result for drinking the kool aid

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