OHC lectures

2020–21 Climate Justice

image of man holding his son's hand facing a sunset

The Oregon Humanities Center (OHC) presents its 2020-21 lecture series centered on the theme of Climate Justice.

Advocates for Climate Justice believe that climate change is a human rights issue and that current social and political structures and environmental policies inequitably affect human opportunities and lived experiences amidst a changing climate.

As with all OHC themed lectures, our five-part lecture series on Climate Justice seeks to create space for experts to share their research, knowledge, and ideas and foster conversation and understanding. Our speakers will apply their diverse expertise to topics of climate and racial justice, reparation ecology, building an equitable green economy, the interdependence between the humanities and sciences, and climate change communication. By applying the tools of the humanities—rigorous inquiry, critical thinking, and open discussion—to the challenges of climate change and social justice, our speakers will help educate and inspire us to collectively improve our shared human experience.

“Climate Change in the American Mind”

Tony Leiserowitz
2020–21 Kritikos Lecturer

Thursday, November 19, 2020
Live at 5 p.m. (PST) via Zoom
Registration is required
Anthony Leiserowitz
(UO Environmental Studies MS 1998, PhD 2003), Senior Research Scientist and Director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, is an expert on public opinion and public engagement with the issues of climate change and the environment. His research investigates the psychological, cultural, and political factors that influence environmental beliefs, attitudes, policy support, and behavior.

Climate change is one of the most daunting challenges of our time. Americans have diverse and sometimes opposing views about global warming, fundamentally shaping the political climate of climate change. Anthony Leiserowitz will explain recent trends in Americans’ climate change knowledge, attitudes, policy support, and behavior and discuss strategies to build public and political will for climate action. 

“The Geography of Injustice and the Ecology of Reparations

Robin Morris Collin
2020-21 O’Fallon Lecturer

Tuesday, December 8, 2020
Live at 5 p.m. (PST) via Zoom
Registration is required
Robin Morris Collin
, Norma Paulus Professor of law at Willamette University College of Law, is the first U.S. law professor to teach sustainability courses in a U.S. law school. She is the Chair of the Oregon Commission for Women and a former Commissioner of the Oregon Commission on Black Affairs. She has also served as the founding chair of the legislatively created Oregon Environmental Justice Taskforce. She has been awarded the David Brower Lifetime Achievement Award from the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference.

“Fighting for the Future”

Vien Truong
2020-21 Tzedek Lecturer

Tuesday, February 2, 2021 (Eugene)
Wednesday, February 3, 2021 (Portland)

Vien Truong is one of the country’s foremost policy experts and strategists on building an equitable green economy. Her firm, Truong & Associates, advises lawmakers, universities, and organizations globally on developing an inclusive workforce, creating sustainable economies, and equitable environmental policies.

This discussion will take place right after the 2021 inauguration. Vien will discuss what the next four years will mean for the future of climate justice, economic justice, and racial justice. She will share insights of how the pandemic and economic uncertainty have affected the fight for climate change – and share solutions on what we can do to fight for a more just and sustainable future.

“Can Science Be Saved?”

Naomi Oreskes
2020-21 Cressman Lecturer
Photo: Kayana Szymczak

Friday, March 12, 2021
Naomi Oreskes,
 Professor of the History of Science and Affiliated Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University, is a world-renowned geologist, historian of science, and public speaker. She is a leading public intellectual on the role of science in society, the reality of anthropogenic climate change, and on anti-scientific disinformation campaigns. Oreskes’s books include Merchants of Doubt (Bloomsbury, 2010), The Collapse of Western Civilization (Columbia University Press, 2014), Discerning Experts (University Chicago Press, 2019), Why Trust Science? (Princeton University Press, 2019), and  Science on a Mission: American Oceanography from the Cold War to Climate Change (University of Chicago Press, 2020). Her current book project, with Erik Conway, is The Magic of the Marketplace: The True History of a False Idea, to be published by Bloomsbury Press.

“The Reindeer and the End of the World”

Bathsheba Demuth
2020-21 Clark Lecturer
Photo: Peter Goldberg

Tuesday, May 4, 2021
Bathsheba Demuth, Assistant Professor of History and Environment and Society at Brown University, is an environmental historian, specializing in the lands and seas of the Russian and North American Arctic. She is interested in the how the histories of people, ideas, places, and non-human species intersect.

Climate change and other alterations to the Earth caused by human activity are often described in apocalyptic terms: as Armageddon, or the end of the world. Nowhere is this more true than in the Arctic, where the rates of warming are twice that of temperate regions and have been visible for decades. Demuth will explore the Chukchi Peninsula, in far eastern Siberia, a place that has experienced radical changes in the past, first with the founding of the Soviet Union and then with its dissolution. Weaving a story of devoted Bolsheviks, Chukchi nomads, and herds of reindeer, she will ask what kinds of narratives suit the empirical experience of radical change, what is lost when we emphasize rupture, and what is gained by paying attention to the ruins left by past ways of living as we face a transformed Arctic – and planet.

Information about OHC lectureships