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In this article, Professors Montoya and Valdes examine various ways of developing Latina/o legal studies in the United States. As background, they first outline and examine the three main models of knowledge-production established within legal academia during the past century or so: 1) the traditional or imperial model; 2) the safe-space or vanguard model, and; 3) the big-tent or democratic model. Using this historical template to contextualize current efforts in Latina/o legal studies both substantively and methodologically, they next review the record of LatCrit theorists over the past dozen years. With this analytical framework in place, they situate the LatCrit experiment as an example of the third, or democratic, approach to jurisprudential knowledge production. After discussing LatCrit theory and practices as a key programmatic effort in the development of contemporary Latina/o legal studies, Professors Montoya and Valdes conclude that methods and norms associated with the democratic model are generally best suited for the ongoing cultivation of this field. Nonetheless, Professors Montoya and Valdes counsel LatCrit and allied scholars to mix and match elements of each model to maximize the antisubordination punch of any critical text, project, or program. This strategic yet principled blending of techniques associated with the different knowledge-production models, they conclude more broadly, will generate over time the most incisive body of critical outsider jurisprudence in both individual and collective terms.

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Indiana State Bar Association



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