About the Interviewer
Jan Dizard, Charles Hamilton Houston Professor in American Culture
Twenty years ago I abruptly shifted my research and teaching from a focus on the American Family and related issues to a focus on how Americans’ attitudes toward nature and the environment have changed. As with the changes in the family, changes in attitudes toward the environment have carried with them conflict that is a marked shift from the pervasive consensus of a generation or two ago. We’ve seen the rise of the Animal Rights Movement, as well as a broad opposition to consumptive uses of natural resources. My current research and the courses I now teach attempt to understand these shifts and to explore the implications of conflicts over the “meaning of nature” for public policy and, more broadly, our relationships to the natural world.