Can A River be a Person? Indigeneity, Law, and Climate Change

Date / Time

November 1, 2019

9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Humanities Frontiers Workshop:
Can a River Be a Person? Indigeneity, Law, and Climate Change

registration link

Friday, November 1
Institute for the Humanities, 701 South Morgan, Stevenson Hall Lower Level
University of Illinois at Chicago

This workshop brings together scholars, lawyers, and activists to explore the concept of environmental rights. Western ontology enshrines a distinction between life (bios) and nonlife (geos), and between persons and property. In this system the earth is already dead.  Putting legal scholars, indigenous lawyers, and native theorists in conversation with each other, participants will explore the possibilities of a future ontology. This exciting workshop will feature a plenary talk by Elizabeth Povinelli, Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies at Columbia University.

9 – 9:30 Breakfast

9:30-10 Welcome and introductions

10 – 12: Perspectives on the Environment
Moderator: Ralph Cintrón, English & Latin American and Latino Studies

1:  Bernard Perley, Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
2:  Michael Barsa, Pritzer School of Law, Northwestern University
3:  Gwendolyn Gordon, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania
4:  Molly Doane, Anthropology, University of Illinois at Chicago
5:  Hayley Negrin, History, University of Illinois at Chicago

12 – 1 Lunch

1 – 2:30   Case Study: the Rights of Manoomin (Wild Rice)

Moderator: Casey Corcoran, English, University of Illinois at Chicago

  1. Richard Monette, Law School, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  2. Frank Bibeau, Tribal Attorney
  3. Mari Margil, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund

2:30 -3     Break

3 – 5 PM   Elizabeth Povinelli, Anthropology and Gender Studies, Columbia University
Introducer: Molly Doane, Anthropology, University of Illinois at Chicago

5 -6 Reception

 registration link