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Fourth Annual Eccles Family Rural West Conference

People and Place in the Rural American West

Missoula, Montana, March 17-19

Keynote Speakers

Friday Lunch Keynote

Gov. Steve Bullock Watch video

The Thursday lunchtime keynote speaker is Steve Bullock, governor of Montana.

Steve Bullock was sworn in as governor of Montana on January 7, 2013, having previously served as Montana’s attorney general since 2008. Prior to his election, Bullock operated his own law firm, representing individuals, consumer organizations, labor unions, law enforcement officers, small and large businesses. He also served as chief legal counsel to the Montana secretary of state and chief deputy attorney general at the Montana Department of Justice. Bullock also has served as an adjunct professor at the George Washington University Law School.

Since taking office, Bullock has prioritized responsible fiscal management for Montana, while working to bring better jobs, better education and a more effective government to the state. He’s reached across party lines to bolster the state’s public education system, cut taxes for businesses and make Montana’s government more transparent and accessible.

Bullock was born in Missoula and raised in Helena, where he graduated from public schools. He received his undergraduate degree from Claremont McKenna College and his juris doctor, with honors, from Columbia University Law School in New York. Bullock and his wife Lisa have three kids. 


Friday Dinner Keynote

Professor Lisa Pruitt, Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Law, UC Davis

Professor Lisa Pruitt's career spans the globe, literally and figuratively. Before joining the UC Davis law faculty in 1999, she worked abroad for almost a decade in settings ranging from international organizations to private practice. Pruitt worked with lawyers in more than 30 countries, negotiating cultural conflicts in several arenas. It is not surprising that a common theme of her research interests is how law and legal institutions manage and respond to cultural difference and cultural change.

Pruitt's recent scholarship is still about cultural difference, but the context is closer to home. She now writes about the intersection of law with rural livelihoods, thus bringing her focus to that which is popularly perceived as quintessentially local. Her work considers a range of ways in which rural places are distinct from what has become the implicit urban norm in legal scholarship. Pruitt reveals, for example, how the economic, spatial, and social features of rural locales profoundly shape the lives of residents, including the junctures at which they encounter the law. Her most recent work considers how rural spatiality inflects dimensions of gender, race, and ethnicity. In it, Pruitt challenges the association of the rural with the local by revealing the ways in which rural lives and rural places are enmeshed with national and global forces including legal ones.




Rural West Conference Volume

Bridging the Distance

Common Issues of the Rural West

Edited by David B. Danbom
Foreword by David M. Kennedy

Published in cooperation with the Bill Lane Center for the American West, Stanford University
The University of Utah Press has published Bridging the Distance, a book by the Rural West Initiative of the Bill Lane Center for the American West. Edited by the distinguished historian David B. Danbom and with a foreword by Center co-founding director David M. Kennedy, the book explores the Rural West across four dimensions: Community, Land, Economics – and defining the Rural West itself. The book is the result of work presented at the first Conference on the Rural West, which took place in Ogden, Utah, in October 2012.