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The Baldy Center’s new podcast tackles “The Adventure of Thinking”

Two sharp minds tackle U.S. economic history, the evolving challenges of legal education, and how much fun it is to think, in the newest podcast from The Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy.

The just-released Episode 21, titled “John Henry Schlegel and David A. Westbrook Discuss ‘The Adventure of Thinking,’” can be accessed online.

The Baldy Center, part of the University at Buffalo School of Law, is an endowed academic center for interdisciplinary research on law and legal institutions. The center’s podcast series, now in its third season, brings the voices of UB faculty and researchers to a wide cross-disciplinary audience.

Hosted by Edgar Girtain, a PhD student in the UB music department, the podcast is typically in an interview format. The new episode is an exception: a free-flowing conversation between two longtime UB Law professors, with focus on Schlegel and his experience as part of the history of the American Legal Realism and Critical Legal Studies movements.

“When The Baldy Center started developing our online life in the early days of the pandemic, we realized we had to engage differently with researchers and the community,” says Caroline Funk, associate director of the center. “I had asked [Westbrook and Schlegel] if they would have a conversation with me so that I could write an article for our new virtual magazine. Instead, it turned out that they had a lot to say to each other.”

John H. Schlegel.

John H. Schlegel

David A. Westbrook.

David A. Westbrook

The result is this podcast episode, in which the faculty colleagues build on each other’s ideas—a true conversation.

For instance, Professor Schlegel puts forth some ideas about the life of the mind. “Teaching and learning are fun,” he says in the podcast. “If it’s not fun, what are you doing it for? If you are going to work seriously, it has to be because it gives you pleasure, it is an adventure, it is to do what you want to do or find yourself doing something that is somehow pleasing. For me, the great sadness of poverty is that what you do has almost no other choice, and that is crushing to the soul.”

Professor Schlegel, who has been on the UB Law faculty since 1973, is a SUNY Distinguished Professor. He’s currently working on a book about law and economy in the United States since the Civil War, attempting to understand change in the national economy and its social consequences, using Buffalo as a case study.

Professor Westbrook, the Louis A. Del Cotto Professor of Law, thinks and writes about the social and intellectual consequences of contemporary political economy. His most recent book, with Mark Maguire, is Getting Through Security: Counterterrorism, Bureaucracy, and a Sense of the Modern (Routledge Press).


More information about The Baldy Center and its podcast series is available online.