Sunday, March 23, 2008

Professor Lisa Pruitt To Speak

This week, Professor Lisa Pruitt will be joining us to discuss her work-in-progress titled "The Difference Place Makes: Latina/os in the Rural South."

Professor Pruitt is a University of Arkansas School of Law alumnus who now teaches law at the University of California-Davis School of Law. One of her frequent areas of scholarship concerns legal issues affecting rural America and rural culture, topics of great interest to our work in the LL.M. Program. And, with our rising Latino population in Arkansas, her current work promises to provide special relevance.

The following passage is taken from Professor Pruitt's UC Davis website, and I think it provides some excellent context for her work:
"It has become cliché to say so, but the world is indeed getting smaller. With globalization and the information society have come increased efforts to harmonize laws, whether regionally, as by the European Union, or globally as by the World Trade Organization. Conflicts of culture are unavoidable in such harmonization efforts -- whether the subject matter is intellectual property, child labor, financial markets or the rights of women."

Having worked with lawyers in more than 30 countries, it is perhaps not surprising that a common theme of Pruitt's research interests is how law and legal institutions manage and respond to cultural difference and cultural change. In her international postings before coming to UC Davis, Pruitt negotiated such cultural conflicts in several arenas: assisting in the adjudication of claims arising from the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran; investigating sexual assaults as war crimes in Rwanda; discussing intellectual property rights with government officials from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe; and studying the racial integration of the legal profession in post-apartheid South Africa. "Law students should begin thinking about these intersections of law and culture now because in the 21st century few lawyers will have practices without some trans-national dimension, and the rare ones who do will nevertheless encounter these issues in our own ethnically diverse nation."
Rural areas, often thought to be resistant to change, are confronting a wide variety of cultural upheavals - technological, structural, and social. While the world may be getting smaller, for rural residents, it may be more accurate to say that their world is getting much bigger.

Check out Professor Pruitt's excellent Rural Legalism blog for additional information and commentary about rural legal issues.

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