By Yan Gao, Duke University
The "Trans-species Listening and the Rights of Nature: Legal Persons beyond the Human" workshop was held by GAI at Duke Rubenstein Library on Oct. 5, 2018. Five scholars from institutions in the U.S. and abroad presented their works. Presenters and audiences were all engaged in lively discussions on the rights of nature and human-animal relations.
The workshop started with two studies on human-animal relations. Jeff Nicolaisen (Duke University) explored the philosophical foundations of human-animal relations and the impacts of international patterns on the local activism in Taiwan. Ambika Aiyyadurai (IIT- Gandhinagar, India) presented her recent empirical studies on human-tiger relations in Mishmi Hills of Northeast India. Prof. Hal Crimmel (Weber State University) introduced the newly made documentary film "Rights of Nature: A Global Movement" and led the post-screening discussions on indigenous ideas of nature, historical dimensions of the rights of nature movement and future plans for the film. Prof. Craig Kauffman (University of Oregon) delved deeper into the rights of nature in a lecture that followed the film screening. He clarified the definition of the rights of nature and discussed various models used for legalizing the rights of nature. He also provided a few legal cases in implementing the rights of nature in the U.S. and Ecuador. Prof. Joni Adamson (Arizona State University) analyzed the role of blockbuster films in sparking wider conversations about the cultures, contexts, environmentalism, legal instruments, documents and auto ethnographic events undergirding the rights to nature movement.
The workshop was very well attended by faculty, staff, and students.