(Un)Natural Law: Environmental Governance in the Owens Valley, California


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships


Criminology, Law, and Society


This project examines the emergent forms and techniques of environmental governance as they have unfolded in the rich environmental history and contemporary environmental confrontations in the Owens Valley, California. Drawing from ethnographic and historical research, the dissertation asks how law addresses not only thorny issues of conservation and sustainability, but also how interlocking human and natural communities are to be organized and controlled. It goes beyond the boundaries of a single discipline to present a wide array of possibilities for understanding law’s conceptualization, interpretation, and practice. This approach offers new insights into doctrinal and policy disputes in environmental law and proposes a significant alternative to the hyper-technical, formalistic, and economic approaches that dominate the study of environmental regulation.