Professor mixes sex, violence and international tax law
Art Cockfield is one of the few professors who use sex and violence to help teach the Income Tax Act and international tax law.
The Queen’s University law instructor writes books that combine traditional textbook style information with a fictional case study story that he freely admits are trashy.
His book Manager's Guide to International Tax contains a murder-mystery novella involving a corporate power struggle set in a Napa Valley winery. Student Edition of the Income Tax Act has a senior partner in an accounting office take her junior associate hostage and threatens to kill him unless he can answer questions about some shady business dealings.
“I’m trying to make the learning experience for students a little more entertaining,” says Professor Cockfield, who has written textbooks with proper academic titles such as NAFTA Tax Law and Policy: Resolving the Clash between Economic and Sovereignty Concerns and Globalization and Its Tax Discontents: Tax Policy and International Investments.
He jokes he is an academic version of trashy novelist Jackie Collins “without the fame or the wealth.”
The books are marketed to law students as well as accountants and lawyers – he has a third one planned involving professional ethics and a drug addict. While not every professor likes the unconventional format of the textbook, Professor Cockfield gets positive feedback from his students.
Professor Cockfield is an avid sci-fi fan and enjoys creative writing. He wrote several fiction manuscripts and one – The End, an environmental-Apocalyptic thriller – was published in 2003 by SSI Publishing and optioned by a Hollywood production company.
The textbook/novella hybrids allow him to have a little fun on the job and give him a creative outlet.
“It’s kind of like producing an academic journal article – you are trying to come up with something that hasn’t been done before,” he says.