Orin Kerr has a very good post entitled Legal Scholarship and "the Canon" at OrinKerr.com, which quite properly questions the empirical foundation for my claim that immersion in the canon--which is required of younger teachers--leads to a parallel immersions in canon-focused scholarship. Also, Peter Spiro has a post entitled International Legal Scholarship and the Lack of a Canon, in which he observes that not all fields of law have a canon, and makes the further claim that there is no canon in international law:
There isn't a canon in international law, or at least it's a very thin one (or alternatively a thick one under impossible and obvious stress), and it means that anything goes. Teaching can't help but be a plus in that case, because you get the raw materials without the strictures of received wisdom. Teaching IL almost begs the teacher to come up with her own organizing principle; it forces you to think from scratch. And where there's less of a canon, it's less likely that there are powerful individuals who have a vested interest in it and who are looking to enforce orthodoxies through appointments and tenure decisions. This also allows for more imaginative and foundational scholarship (in a way that does have generational implications).
What a marvelous and hopeful thought! It actually makes me want to work in IL! And I must admit that I was thinking of the core of the law school currciulum--subjects like contracts, property, procedure, constitutional law, administrative law, tax, etc.--when I asserted that intensive preparation for teaching focuses one on the "canon."
Read Kerr and Spiro!