Sunday, February 15, 2009

New Agricultural Sustainability Course


We are delighted to offer a new course, Agricultural Sustainability this semester as part of our curriculum of specialized agricultural law courses for our LL.M. candidates. And, we are particularly delighted to have our alumnus, Adjunct Professor Alison Peck teaching the course.

Professor Peck has been a practitioner and scholar of international law and sustainability for more than ten years. Her research and writing in the LL.M. Program involved the area of international agricultural sustainability, and she has recently published two articles in this area.
Alison Peck, The new Imperialism: Toward an Advocacy Strategy for GMO Accountability, 21 Geo. Int'l Envtl. L. Rev. 37 (2008);

Alison Peck, Standing for Protection of Collective Rights in the European Communities, 32 Geo. Wash. J. Int'l L. & Econ. 367 (2000).
Before coming to Arkansas, Professor Peck practiced international arbitration with the law firm of Boies, Schiller & Flexner in Washington, D.C., trying cases before various international arbitration bodies. She served as Notes Editor for the Yale Law Review and received her J.D. from Yale Law School in 1995. Following law school, helped found the Global Constitutionalism Project at Yale, working with supreme court justices around the world to assemble a global exchange of judicial decision-making on global problems. She served as a law clerk for Judge Jon O. Newman of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and for Judge G. Federico Mancini on the Court of Justice for the European Communities.

Professor Peck taught International Environmental Law at the University of Arkansas during the Fall 2008 term, receiving rave reviews from her students. We are delighted to have Professor Peck teaching our Sustainable Agriculture class for the first time this coming semester. Here is her description of the course:
“Sustainability” has been called a “contestable concept” – no reasonable person is really against it, in principle, but what does it mean as a law and policy priority? What policies does sustainability compete with, or appear to? What decisional frameworks do legal advocates and policymakers rely on to analyze and resolve such conflicts? The goal of this seminar is to begin developing such a framework, and use it to evaluate the effects of existing laws on sustainability in agriculture. To do this, we will attempt to identify the goals of sustainable agriculture and consider competing policy interests (actual or apparent). With this understanding, we will consider how existing laws and policies (both directly and incidentally regulating agriculture) affect the sustainability of agricultural development.

The texts for this course will include readings from law, policy, science, economics, and the humanities, as well as educational materials produced by and for farmers seeking to farm more sustainably. The course aims to bring together a variety of perspectives to better understand how particular farming practices may affect the environment for future generations, and how the law does, can and should shape decisions about how to farm (and which agricultural products to consume). The student’s “final exam” will be to submit additional materials relating to the chosen topic, which the student believes would add greater depth or important new perspectives to the course, and to write a brief paper explaining how this research enhanced the student’s thinking on or understanding of the issues raised in the course.
Next fall, Professor Peck will be embarking on a new challenge. She recently accepted a tenure track teaching position at the University of West Virginia School of Law. We wish her the best in her new position and hope to continue working with her.

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