Professor Jedediah Purdy

Jedediah S. Purdy

  • William S. Beinecke Professor of Law
Education

J.D., Yale Law School, 2001
A.B., Harvard College, 1997

Areas of Specialty

Constitutional Law
Environmental Law
Legal Theory
Property 
Social and Political Thought

A prolific scholar, Jedediah S. Purdy joined the Columbia Law School faculty in 2019 after 15 years at Duke Law School. He teaches and writes about environmental, property, and constitutional law as well as legal and political theory.

Purdy’s most recent book, This Land Is Our Land: The Struggle for a New Commonwealth, explores how the land has historically united and divided Americans, shows how environmental politics has always been closely connected with issues of distribution and justice, and describes humanity as an “infrastructure species. In his previous book, After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene, he traced the long history of environmental law as a central feature of American political and cultural life. His other books include For Common Things: Irony, Trust, and Commitment in America Today, The Meaning of Property: Freedom, Community and the Legal Imagination, and A Tolerable Anarchy: Rebels, Reactionaries, and the Making of American Freedom. His legal scholarship has appeared in the Yale Law Journal, Harvard Law Review, University of Chicago Law Review, Duke Law Journal, Cornell Law Review, Nomos, and Ecology Law Quarterly, among others. He has published essays on topics ranging from Elena Ferrante’s novels and socialism to natural disasters and the New Green Deal in The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Die Zeit, and Democracy Journal.

Purdy clerked for Judge Pierre N. Leval of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York City. A member of the New York State Bar, he is a contributing editor of The American Prospect and serves on the editorial board of Dissent.

Publications

  • This Land is Our Land: The Struggle for a New Commonwealth, Princeton, New Jersey : Princeton University Press, 2019
  • “The Long Environmental Justice Movement,” Ecology Law Quarterly, 2018
  • The Left’s Guide to Reclaiming the Constitution,” The New York Times, 2018
  • Trump’s Nativism Is Transforming the Physical Landscape,” The Atlantic, 2018
  • “Inequality Rediscovered,” (with David Singh Grewal), Theoretical Inquiries in Law, 2017
  • “Overcoming the Great Forgetting,” Texas Law Review, 2016
  • After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene, Harvard University Press, 2015
  • “Wealth and Democracy,” Nomos, 2015
  • “Property in American Constitutional Law,” Oxford Handbook of the U.S. Constitution, 2015
  • “Introduction: Law and Neoliberalism,” (with David Singh Grewal), Law and Contemporary Problems, 2015
  • The Meaning of Property: Freedom, Community, and the Legal Imagination, Yale University Press, 2010
  • “The Politics of Nature: Environmental Law, Democracy, and Climate Change,” Yale Law Journal, 2010
  • A Tolerable Anarchy: Rebels, Reactionaries, and the Making of American Freedom, Knopf, 2009
  • Democratic Vistas: Reflections on the Life of American Democracy, Yale University Press, 2004
  • Being America: Liberty, Commerce and Violence in an American World, Knopf, 2003
  • For Common Things: Irony, Trust, and Commitment in America Today, Knopf, 1999

Activities and Affiliations

  • Co-founder, Law & Political Economy (LPE) blog and LPE Initiative (a Hewlett Foundation project)
  • Co-founder, Facing the Anthropocene (a Luce Foundation Project)
  • Contributing Editor, The American Prospect
  • Editorial Board Member, Dissent
  • Reviewer, Yale University Press
  • Reviewer, Harvard University Press

Professional Experience

  • Robinson O. Everett Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law, 2009–2018
  • Associate Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law, 2007–2009
  • Assistant Professor of Law, Duke University School of Law, 2004–2007
  • Law Clerk to Judge Pierre N. Leval, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, 2002–2003

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