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January 27, 2011

Nobel laureate Elinor Ostrom to deliver Stanford's 2011 Tanner Lectures

By Adam Gorlick

Elinor Ostrom, a Nobel laureate and political scientist, will deliver this year's Tanner Lectures on Human Values on Feb. 16 and 17.

Stanford's Center for Ethics in Society and the President's Office will host the series, which is free and open to the public.

Ostrom, who won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics for her work on the management of shared properties such as woods, lakes and fish stocks, will deliver two lectures on "The Challenge of Sustainability." Both 90-minute talks will begin at 5:30 p.m. and be held at the Gunn Building in the Koret-Taube Conference Center, Room 130.

In her first lecture, Ostrom will discuss a Social-Ecological Systems framework that she developed for a special issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Her second talk will analyze four land-management cases in the American West. The talk is based on an article she was asked to write for the 100th   anniversary of the American Economic Review, which will be published in March.

Discussion seminars a day after each lecture will be held on Feb. 17 and 18 from 10 a.m. to noon in the Koret-Taube Conference Center, Room 120. Commentators will include Francis Fukuyama, a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies; Charles Sabel, a law professor at Columbia University; Margaret Levi, a professor of international studies at the University of Washington; and Barton "Buzz" Thompson Jr., director of the Woods Institute for the Environment and a professor in natural resources law at Stanford Law School.

Ostrom, a professor of political science at Indiana University, is the founding director of the Center for the Study of Institutional Diversity at Arizona State University. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. She has written and co-authored numerous books including Trust and Reciprocity: Interdisciplinary Lessons from Experimental ResearchThe Commons in the New Millennium: Challenges and AdaptationsThe Samaritan’s Dilemma: The Political Economy of Development AidUnderstanding Institutional Diversity; and Understanding Knowledge as a Commons: From Theory to Practice.

The Tanner Lectures are held annually at Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, the universities of California, Michigan and Utah, and in England at Cambridge and Oxford universities. Established in 1978 by Obert Clark Tanner, an industrialist, legal scholar and philosopher, the lectures are meant to advance and reflect upon the scholarly and scientific learning relating to human values.

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