How do environmental factors shape the ways we think about and practice politics? To what extent does an environment in crisis beget political crisis? How might political actors and institutions respond to climate change and why have responses been largely so tepid to date? In what ways do environmental challenges intersect with, or perhaps exacerbate, perennial political concerns about power, equality, freedom, and justice?
Engaging with such questions, this course offers students an introduction to environmental politics. It begins by surveying dominant paradigms of thought – such as political ecology and ecological modernization – within the field. We then examine political challenges to these dominant outlooks, like environmental authoritarianism and eco-socialism. Following this, the course turns to issues of environmental inequality, exploring the ways in which resource inequities may track the legacies of colonial and gender hierarchies. Finally, the class explores various drivers of and impediments to environmental political action, ranging from environmental social movements and calls for climate justice to potentially apathy-inducing phenomena like eco-grief, guilt, and anxiety.
This course aims to familiarize students with foundational schools of environmental-political thought as well as with key concepts and pressing questions from the field of environmental politics.
Mode of instruction
Final Exam, 70 % MC questions.
See 'Practical Information'