Sinking Islands: Imagining Disasters

Sinking Islands: Imagining Disasters

Visiting Professor Helen Hershkoff
Fall 2014 reading group
W 5:00pm - 7:00pm in WCC Room 5050
1 classroom credit

Scientists have established that climate change is causing sea levels to rise and land to submerge. The legal system’s response to the situation has been uneven and uncertain. Policymakers seem baffled about how or even whether to respond, apparently unable to imagine that disaster can occur not only as a sudden and undeniable catastrophe, but also in slow motion. Looking outside the conventional context, this Reading Group will examine depictions of sinking islands/submerged land in a range of non-legal sources, including ancient philosophy, Native American myths, and the Bible.

At the first session, participants collectively will generate a set of discussion-questions aimed at analyzing the texts and discerning their relevance to current legal thinking. Each participant, alone or in collaboration with one or two other students, will be expected to hand in short (2-5 pp.) response papers before every subsequent session to help frame discussion, and a student or student-team will be responsible for leading the discussion.

Note: The reading group will meet on the following dates: 9/10 (introductory session from 5-5:45p), 9/17, 10/1, 10/15, 10/29, 11/12, 12/3.

Subject Areas: Environmental Law