School of Education
March 1, 2009
Research Examines Interplay of Education, Law, Literature, Humanities, and Political Theology
Assistant Adjunct Professor Joseph Jenkins joined the Department of Education in 2006. He conducts research in the Department; teaches in the UC Irvine Department of English, School of Humanities; and publishes on inheritance law as an important framework for education and for inter-generational transmission more generally.
Dr. Jenkins brought to Irvine his rich background in law and literature, inheritance law and cultural transmission, critical theory, political theology, translation, theater, and language arts pedagogy. He is involved with research on language arts pedagogy for minority students and has created and now directs a high school writing and performance project called “Theater of Translation” (TOT). TOT brings groups of UCI undergraduates to primarily Latino high school drama courses, with the mandate to write and perform together pieces that involve collisions of cultures (translation gaps), while also staging related Shakespeare scenes translated into Spanish by the company as a group. The aim is to motivate as well as empower these high school students’ language-arts development, while at the same time raising their college aspirations.
Dr. Jenkins received his BS in Business and Economics and his Juris Doctor degree from UC Berkeley and his MA and Ph.D. in Comparative Literature (French and English) from UCLA. He also pursued university level study in Perugia, Italy; Barcelona, Spain; Salamanca, Spain; and Paris, France (Sorbonne).
For his dissertation, “Inheritance Law as Constellation in Lieu of Redress: A Detour Through Exceptional Terrain,” Dr. Jenkins analyzed intergenerational property movement in interplay with cultural transmission more generally, reading such authors as Shakespeare, Milton, Nietzsche, Thomas Mann, and François Mauriac, with the critical ideas of Walter Benjamin, Jacques Lacan, and Giorgio Agamben.
More recent work by Dr. Jenkins centers on theological election and its secular counterparts at various historical moments, including 16th- and 17th-century Europe. He recently edited a special issue of the Cardozo Law School journal Law and Literature (20:2, 2008), entitled “What Should Inheritance Law Be?” He has been a member of the California State Bar since 1981 and a member of the Berlin-based Research Group on Inheritance since 2005.