Anthropologist Stephen Corry to speak at UO environmental conference

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Stephen Corry (photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons)
Stephen Corry (photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons)

Anthropologist Stephen Corry will be a keynote speaker at the University of Oregon School of Law's 2014 Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, “Running Into Running Out,” Feb. 27 through March 2 at the UO. Corry’s presentation is co-sponsored by the UO Anthropology Department.

Corry became projects director in 1972 and director general in 1984 of the human rights organization Survival International. He served as chairman of the Free Tibet Campaign from 1993 to 2009, and remains on its board.

In the 1970s, he promoted self-determination in the debate about indigenous peoples, which was a revolutionary concept in a debate centered on the poles of assimilation or preservation. In the 1980s, he pushed to popularize issues of tribal peoples; in the 1990s, he led the opposition to ideas such as the rainforest harvest, which threatened to confuse economic issues with human rights.

Corry’s work now focuses on building a foundation of support for tribal peoples – to change the negative opinion that they are backward remnants destined to disappear. Recently, he has challenged the resurgence of colonialist ideology about ‘brutal savages,’ which claims that science proves tribal people are more violent than industrialized societies.

Corry’s published work includes a guide from 2011 titled “Tribal Peoples for Tomorrow’s World.”

Students from the UO School of Law organize the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, which attracts more than 3,000 attendees each year. Last year’s event featured more than 130 panels, workshops and events.

Previous conferences have hosted keynote speakers that include Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Ralph Nader, David Brower, Terry Tempest Williams and Winona LaDuke.

The 2014 conference, “Running Into Running Out,” conveys a sense of urgency that as a community, we must take greater action to prevent running out of the resources necessary for survival.

- from the UO School of Law