Heritage and Justice

Connecting Culture to Social, Environmental, and Economic Equity

Emily Bergeron, JD|PhD

Assistant Professor

Emily is an Assistant Professor in the University of Kentucky's Department of Historic Preservation. Prior to moving to Lexington, she earned her PhD in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University where her research focused on how issues of environmental law and environmental justice impacted the Onondaga Nation of the Haudenausaunee Confederacy in the context of the Superfund remediation of Onondaga Lake. Emily also holds degrees in law and historic preservation from the University of Florida. 

Emily's research focuses on the link between heritage and social, environmental, and economic justice. For example, her work has considered the use of preservation law in addressing mountaintop removal, the social and cultural impacts of creating national parks, and how law and advocacy are implicated in memorialization. In addition to her research, Emily incorporates these issues into the courses she teaches at the University of Kentucky in both her basic service courses as well as through electives such as Rethinking Preservation and an upcoming course on Heritage and Sustainable Development. 

Recent Work

Attkinson Forum, Cornell University 

In November 2018, Cornell University held its annual Attkinson Forum on American Studies. The year's topic was Place, Memory, and the Public Monument. The two-day symposium explored cultural, historical, design, and planning issues surrounding monuments and memorialization using as a starting point the debates over Civil War monuments. The program consisted of a series of formal presentations, panel, and audience discussions. On the second day or the Forum, I spoke on Timing, Context, and Law: Legal Thinking Behind Monuments and Memorialization. The talk addressed the process of removing Confederate monuments in Lexington, KY as well as the constitutional issues and ongoing litigation surrounding the removal question. 

Conservation Refugees

Environmental conservation, though clearly a laudable cause, is often a source of displacement for indigenous people. These conservation refugees, removed from their ancestral lands for the sake of biodiversity, are rarely protected by the law. This article, published in the American Bar Association's Natural Resources & Environment addresses the legal and social implications of removal. Click here for the article.


This work was also presented at the University of Kentucky's Geography Colloquium.  

For more work...

Green Typewriter
Old Book
Orange Blossom




114 Bowman Hall, University of Kentucky 

Lexington, KY 40506