This special issue of The Public Historian examines the nature and scope of the historian’s role as a consultant and expert witness in natural resource litigation. The introductory essay identifies the major issues and challenges that historians face when they bring their knowledge, skills, and professional best standards into law offices and courtrooms, while also positing a conceptual framework for public history practitioners to better understand and appreciate the larger stakes in conducting research for environmental litigation. The author delineates his own experience as an expert in certain water rights cases in the American Southwest where knowledge of the Spanish and Mexican civil law of property is essential.

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