U.Va. Law School Conference To Explore The Role Of Humanities In Shaping Environmental Law, Policy
October 3, 2005 --
The University of Virginia School of Law will host “Environmental Letters/Environmental Law,” a cross-disciplinary conference organized to explore the impact of humanities on environmental law and policy, on Oct. 6 and 7 at the Caplin Pavilion. Panels on ethics, literary and social criticism, history and law will include leading writers and scholars from a variety of disciplines.
Jonathan Z. Cannon, director of the Law School’s Center for Environmental Studies and an organizer of the conference, said the event will explore the importance of the humanities’ contributions to environmental law and policy.
The keynote address will be delivered by William Cronon, the Frederick Jackson Turner and Vilas Research Professor of History, Geography, and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin. Cronon, author of “Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature,” is the nation’s pre-eminent environmental historian, according to Cannon.
Cronon also wrote “Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England,” winner of the Francis Parkman prize in 1984, and “Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West,” winner of the Bancroft Prize in 1992.
“He helps illuminate human institutions, including the law, and the impact they have on the landscape,” Cannon said.
Cronon will speak on “Saving Nature in Time: The Past and Future of Environmentalism,” at 4:15 p.m. on Oct. 6. There will be a question-and-answer period following the lecture, Cannon said. The panel discussions will explore how tools from the humanities illuminate environmental policy and its implementation, what lessons they suggest, and where future studies might lead.
The panels have specific ideas, but each panel is mixed,” Cannon said. “We have people from different disciplines for the discussions.”
All sessions are in Caplin Pavilion and are open to the public. Panel discussions include ample time for audience members to interact with faculty, students and panelists.
“The great attraction of the Law School’s ‘Environmental Letters, Environmental Law’ workshop is that it provides an opportunity for scholars and practitioners from different disciplines to learn more about how their interests are reflected in public discourse and how that public discourse informs and is informed by legal thinking,” said Jeffrey Plank, associate vice president for research and graduate studies. “This workshop should be of great value to the entire University community.”
The conference is sponsored by the U.Va. School of Law's Environmental Law Program and Program in Law & Humanities, the Brown College Visiting Environmental Writers Series, the Virginia Environmental Law Journal, the Institute for Practical Ethics and Public Policy, the Piedmont Environmental Council and the Southern Environmental Law Center.
More information about the conference is available at www.law.virginia.edu/home2002/html/news/2005_fall/envletters_conf.htm .