Mode of Program Participation

Academic Scholarship

Participation Type


Session Title

Ecological Restoration, the Environmental Humanities, and the Re-Imagination of Appalachian Landscapes

Session Abstract or Summary

Ecological restoration is a task facing us as we deal with the legacies of extreme extraction

throughout the Appalachian region, yet it is one that has traditionally been approached as a

technical challenge rather than one for the humanities. Nevertheless, the extreme footprints of

fossil fuel extraction call us to new ways of imagining what it is we seek to reclaim, ways that

call out for a humanistic approach to integrating the human into the scientific and technological

equations of engineering, environmental restoration, and biological or soil reconstitution. This

humanities-focused re-imagination of landscapes has succeeded in other regions of the U.S. and

the world, producing new spaces that nurture the reciprocities of everyday worldmaking projects

of human and more-than-human collaborators. Can Appalachia also be a region in which the

imagined worlds of the humanities engage the world making projects of science and technology?

What can environmental humanities bring to emerging transdisciplinary frameworks for shaping

shared objects of inquiry divides? This plenary brings together leading theorists well-published

in the fields of law, folklore, anthropology, history, and ecology to address this question by

exploring humanities-centered possibilities for reimagining the work of public restoration as

world-making in the time of the anthropocene.

Presentation #1 Title

Introduction and framework for the session

Presentation #1 Abstract or Summary

Hufford will introduce the speakers and lead them in a discussion of the role of the humanities in ecological restoration efforts underway in Appalachia

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #1

Over the past three decades, folklorist Mary Hufford has worked in governmental, academic, and non-profit settings. As folklife specialist at the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress (1982-2002) she led regional team fieldwork projects in the New Jersey Pine Barrens and the southern West Virginia coalfields. From 2002-2012, she served on the graduate faculty of folklore and folklife at the University of Pennsylvania, directing the Center for Folklore and Ethnography from 2002 to 2008. Her seminars and field practica engaged students in exploring how folk arts and humanities, grounded in ordinary settings and daily lives of Central Appalachian communities and Philadelphia neighborhoods, are crucial to the work of environmental justice. As adjunct faculty with the master's programs in Cultural and Environmental Sustainability at Goucher College, she offers a summer seminar in environmental justice. A Fellow of the American Folklore Society and a Guggenheim Fellow, she is the author of Chaseworld: Foxhunting and Storytelling in New Jersey's Pine Barrens, editor of Conserving Culture: A New Discourse on Culture, and numerous monographs and articles on cultural dimensions of environmental crisis. From her grounding in social theory, she brings phenomenological and multi-species perspectives to bear on the study and engagement of commoning in rural and urban settings.

Presentation #2 Title

Constituting Nature's Trust in Central Appalachia

Presentation #2 Abstract or Summary

Mary Christina Wood will discuss the role of the humanities in constituting a distinctively Central Appalachian ecological res.

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #2

Mary Christina Wood is the Philip H. Knight Professor of Law and Faculty Director of the school's Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center. She teaches property law, natural resources law, public trust law, and federal Indian law; she has also taught public lands law, wildlife law, and hazardous waste law. She is the Founding Director of the school's nationally acclaimed Environmental and Natural Resources Law Center and is Faculty Leader of the Program's Conservation Trust Project, Sustainable Land Use Project, Native Environmental Sovereignty Project, and Food Resilience Project. After graduating from Stanford Law School in 1987, she served as a judicial clerk on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. She then practiced in the environmental/natural resources department of Perkins Coie, a Pacific Northwest law firm. In 1994 she received the University's Ersted Award for Distinguished Teaching, and in 2002 she received the Orlando Hollis Faculty Teaching Award. Professor Wood is a co-author of a leading textbook on natural resources law (West, 2006), and a co-author of a textbook on public trust law (Carolina Press, 2013). Her new book, Nature's Trust, was released in October, 2013 (by Cambridge University Press). Professor Wood has published extensively on climate crisis, natural resources, and native law issues. She originated the approach called Atmospheric Trust Litigation to hold governments worldwide accountable for reducing carbon pollution within their jurisdictions, and her research is being used in cases and petitions brought on behalf of children and youth throughout the United States and in other countries. She is a frequent speaker on global warming issues and has received national and international attention for her sovereign trust approach to global climate policy.

Presentation #3 Title

American Pragmatism's Bridge to Transdisciplinary, Community-Based strategies for adaptive managment

Presentation #3 Abstract or Summary

Bryan Norton will explore the shared grounding of humanities and fields of adaptive management in the philosophy of American Pragmatism

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #3

Dr. Bryan Norton is a Professor of Philosophy in the School of Public Policy. He received his PhD in philosophy from the University of Michigan in 1970, specializing in the philosophy of science and conceptual change in, and across, scientific disciplines. He writes on inter-generational equity, sustainability theory, bio-diversity policy, valuation methods, and the thought of Aldo Leopold. His specialty is the integration of spatio-temporal scaling considerations into sustainability criteria. He is currently working to develop a flexible notion of sustainability that recognizes the challenges of rapidly changing climate. He is the author of Sustainability: A Philosophy of Adaptive Management, Sustainable Values, Sustainable Change: A Guide to Environmental Decision-Making, and numerous articles.

Presentation #4 Title

A role for the humanities in modeling Appalachian socio-environmental systems

Presentation #4 Abstract or Summary

Drawing on her work with transdisciplinary teams at the National Socio-environmental synthesis center, Margaret Palmer will posit a role for the humanities in modeling Appalachian socio-environmental systems

At-A-Glance Bio- Presenter #4

Dr. Margaret Palmer is Director of the National Socio‐Environmental Synthesis Center

(, an NSF and University of Maryland supported research center dedicated to creating

synthetic, actionable science related to the structure, functioning, and sustainability of socioenvironmental

systems. In addition, as a Professor at the University of Maryland in the Department of

Entomology and in the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES), she oversees

a large research group focused on watershed science and restoration ecology. Having worked on

streams, rivers, and estuaries for > 27 years and leading scientific projects at national and international

levels, she has more than 150 scientific publications and multiple ongoing collaborative research grants.

She is past Director of the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, serves as an editor for the journal

Restoration Ecology and co‐authored the book The Foundations of Restoration Ecology. Dr. Palmer has

been honored as a AAAS Fellow, an Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellow, a Lilly Fellow, a Distinguished

Scholar Teacher, an Ecological Society of America Distinguished Service Award, and a University System

of Maryland Board of Regent's Faculty Award of Excellence.

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Introduction and framework for the session

Hufford will introduce the speakers and lead them in a discussion of the role of the humanities in ecological restoration efforts underway in Appalachia