Robert A. Williams Jr.: Savage Anxieties: The Invention of Western Civilization

Mon, February 17, 2014 | CLA 1.302D Meeting Room.

12:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Robert A. Williams Jr.: Savage Anxieties: The Invention of Western Civilization

From one of the world’s leading experts on Native American law and indigenous peoples’ human rights comes an original and striking intellectual history of Western civilization and the idea of the savage that sheds new light on how we understand ourselves and our contemporary society. Throughout the centuries, conquest, war, and unspeakable acts of violence and dispossession have all been justified by citing civilization’s opposition to the savagery of the tribe. Robert Williams, award winning author, legal scholar, and member of the Lumbee Indian Tribe, proposes a wide-ranging reexamination of the history of the Western world, told from the perspective of civilization’s war on tribalism as a way of life. In Savage Anxieties, Williams shows us how the language of savagery used by the West to talk about the human rights of the world’s indigenous peoples is in dire need of reappraisal.

Robert A. Williams, Jr. is a member of the Lumbee Indian Tribe of North Carolina and  a professor of law and American Indian Studies at the University of Arizona Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program. He is the author of numerous books and articles on indigenous peoples’ human rights, including The American Indian in Western Legal Thought and Like a Loaded Weapon. The recipient of awards from the MacArthur, Ford, and Soros foundations, Williams is also well known for his work defending Indian tribes and indigenous groups before the United States Supreme Court and international human rights bodies around the world.

Professor Williams received his B.A. from Loyola College (1977) and his J.D. from Harvard Law School (1980). He was named the first Oneida Indian Nation Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School (2003-2004), having previously served there as Bennet Boskey Distinguished Visiting Lecturer of Law. In 1990, he published The American Indian in Western Legal Thought: The Discourses of Conquest (Oxford University Press), which received the Gustavus Meyers Human Rights Center Award as one of the outstanding books published that year on the subject of prejudice in the United States.  He has also written Linking Arms Together: American Indian Treaty Visions of Law and Peace, 1600-1800 (1997) and Like a Loaded Weapon: The Rehnquist Court, Indian Rights and the Legal History of Racism in America (2005). He is co-author of Federal Indian Law: Cases and Materials (6th ed., with David Getches, Charles Wilkinson, and Matthew Fletcher, 2011). The 2006 recipient of the University of Arizona Henry and Phyllis Koffler Prize for Outstanding Accomplishments in Public Service, Professor Williams is the founding Director of the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program at the Rogers College of Law. He has received major grants and awards from the Soros Senior Justice Fellowship Program of the Open Society Institute, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the National Institute of Justice. He has represented tribal groups before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the United Nations Working Group on Indigenous Peoples, and served as co-counsel for Floyd Hicks in the United States Supreme Court case, Nevada v. Hicks (2001 term). Professor Williams has served as Chief Justice for the Court of Appeals, Pascua Yaqui Indian Reservation, and as Justice for the Court of Appeals and trial judge pro tem for the Tohono O’odham Nation. Professor Williams was named one of 2011’s “Heroes on the Hill” by Indian Country Today for his work on behalf of the Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group before the OAS Inter-American Human Rights Commission.

Robert A. Williams, Jr.
E. Thomas Sullivan Professor of Law and Professor of American Indian Studies Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program The University of Arizona Rogers College of Law Tucson, Arizona 85721
Tel.# 520-621-5622     Fax: 520-621-9140

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