Jedediah S. Purdy
- William S. Beinecke Professor of Law
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 Green New 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.
In his seventh book, Purdy explores how land in the United States has united and divided Americans, holding them in common projects and fates but also separating them into insiders and outsiders, owners and dependents, workers and bosses. An expert in constitutional, environmental, and property law, Purdy warns that if we do not make efforts now to move toward a commonwealth, environmental and political pressures will create harsher and crueler conflicts—between citizens, between countries, and between humans and the rest of the world.
Professor of Law Jedediah Purdy is an expert in constitutional, environmental, and property law—not to mention Twitter and Instagram.