G = graduate; UG = undergraduate.  All syllabi are available upon request.

“Environmental Politics” (G & UG seminar crossing the subfields of comparative politics, international relations, and American politics)

With the threats of climate change and environmental degradation looming large, the need to understand the politics behind them becomes increasingly critical.  This seminar surveys and synthesizes existing literature on environmental politics, spanning across the subfields of comparative politics, international relations, and American politics.  The seminar is mainly comprised of two interrelated parts: 1) how politics shape environmental policies and outcomes; 2) how environmental change influences politics and policy.  Topics include the domestic and international sources of environmental policymaking, the political determinants of environmental policy implementation, the resource curse, climate & environmental change and conflict, comparative environmental behavior, environmental (in)justice, and environmental activism.  The seminar concludes with a reflection on how the study of environmental politics contributes to and engages core political science discourse and debates.

“Environmental Politics in China” (UG lecture)

Over three decades of extraordinary economic development in China came at the great expense of the environment. Despite having one of the world’s most comprehensive environmental laws and regulations, China had been one of the most polluted countries in the world until recently. The Eighteenth Party Congress in November 2012 was a watershed event in the environmental and ecological landscape in China. However, strong central directives to clean up the air and elevate the deployment of green energy have been met with mixed results. This course examines how domestic actors, institutions, and political organization affect environmental policymaking and implementation in China from the late twentieth century until the present day.

“Politics of Air Pollution” (UG seminar)

Air pollution is the biggest environmental health threat to humanity in the twenty-first century, causing one in eight deaths and endangering the health of 95 percent of the world’s population.  Breathing dangerously polluted air, which is linked to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, may exacerbate the worst health consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.  When and why is there excessive pollution?  How do politics and policy induce unintended environmental consequences?  This course examines the political economy of air pollution regulation theoretically and empirically.