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.