Lexington, VA • Wednesday, May 30, 2012
The Center for Law and History at Washington and Lee University School of Law will begin activity this fall with an enlarged focus.
| |Prof. Jill Fraley, Director of the W&L Center for Law and History
Originally launched in 2004 with a focus on British legal history, the Center will now promote research and teaching in all areas and periods of legal history, leveraging the University's interdisciplinary expertise in fields such as anthropology, sociology, English, religion, and the law.
According to Jill Fraley, the newly appointed director of the Center and assistant professor of law, the Center will focus its immediate efforts on bringing history into dialogue with geography, particularly in the context of critical, emerging issues such as regional governance and climate change.
"I am particularly excited to be able to focus the center on the transformative potential of history," Professor Fraley explains. "Geographically, I intend to emphasize those regions closest to our hearts here: the Appalachian Mountains and the Virginia coasts."
The Center will mark this broader direction with a fall symposium titled, "Climate Change in the Former Colonies: Challenges of Property and History." Offered in partnership with Virginia Sea Grant, the symposium will focus on the application of legal historical research to contemporary problems and opportunities in the areas of policy-making, property rights, and hazard resilience in coastal communities. Potential topics will include:
- How the colonial legal experience affects modern property rights and our responsiveness to climate change
- Historical and modern property doctrines—particularly nuisance, zoning, and eminent domain—and their relation to current climate change challenges and policies
- Changing notions of acceptable land use and natural resources
- Environmental hazard resilience policies and opportunities for their enhancement via legal strategies.
The symposium is scheduled for October 12, 2012 in Lexington, Virginia. A Call for Papers has been issued and can be found on the Center for Law and History website along with additional information about the Center.
The Center is also the home of the distinguished Hendricks lecture series in legal history. The 2011 lecture in this series was given by Alfred Brophy, Judge John J. Parker Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina School of Law. Past lectures were delivered by G. Edward White, the David and Mary Harrison Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Virginia School of Law, William Thaddeus Coleman, Jr., one of the lead strategists and coauthor of the legal brief in Brown v. Board of Education, and William E. Nelson, the Judge Edward Weinfeld Professor of Law at New York University Law School.