Off to Norway!

Professor Christopher Preston received a Faculty Exchange Award from the Office of International Programs and the Provost’s Office for Spring of 2015.  Preston will be travelling to Tromsø in northern Norway to collaborate with two faculty members there on emerging technologies and environmental ethics.  He will work with Fern Wickson on applying insights from feminist ethics to the evaluation of emerging technologies such as biotechnology, nanotechnology, and climate engineering.  He and Dr. Wickson want to show how enriching feminist analysis of technology might be, given that the normal costs and benefits approach is typically inadequate under conditions of uncertainty.  Preston will also work with Dr. Svein Anders Lie to uncover some of the nuances that separate Norwegian from American environmental ethics.  Preston is the author of a biography of Holmes Rolston, III, known as the “father of environmental ethics” in North America.  Lie is interested in the work of Peter Wessel Zappfe, an influence on Arne Naess, the father of environmental ethics in Norway.  Key environmental notions like “intrinsic value” and “wilderness” developed slightly differently in each country at the hands of these pioneers.  Preston will explore these in conversation with Lie and his colleagues while offering several guest lectures in an environmental ethics class at the University of Tromsø.  The exchange will deepen Preston’s knowledge of emerging technology issues and feminism as well as provide comparative material for his environmental ethics research.  He will bring what he learns back to the classroom at UM.