Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Political Science and International Relations, 2019-present
  • Research Methods
  • Public Management
Amherst College, Environmental Studies, 2016-2019
  • US Environmental Policy
  • Environmental Justice
  • Senior Seminar in Environmental Studies (co-taught)
  • The Politics of Food
  • Climate Change Policy and Politics
  • Partisanship and Environment From TR to Trump
  • Hurricane Katrina: Race, Class, and Environmental Justice
  • Environmental Philosophy
Goucher College, Environmental Studies, 2015-2016
  • Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • Food Politics
  • Environmental Policy
Lafayette College, Environmental Studies, 2014-2015
  • Introduction to the Environment
  • Food, Culture, and Sustainable Societies
  • Organizations and the Environment (Varieties of Environmentalism)
  • Environmental Policy
  • Environmental Justice
University of Oregon, Political Science Department, 2011-2014
  • Introduction to Environmental Politics and Policy
  • Women and Politics
Additional Teaching Expertise
  • Environmental Studies
    • Global Environmental Politics
    • The Politics of Animals
    • Environmental Law
    • U.S. Forest Policy/U.S. Public Lands Policy
    • Collaborative Environmental Governance
    • Native American Environmental Policy and Law
    • U.S. Environmental History
    • Environmental Political Theory
  • American Politics and Public Policy
    • Introduction to American Politics
    • U.S. Public Policy
    • Gender and Politics
    • American Political Development
    • U.S. Social Movements
    • American Political Thought
    • Parties and Elections
    • The Presidency
    • Race and Politics
  • Political Theory
    • Introduction to Political Theory
    • Contemporary Political Theory
    • Democratic Theory
    • Feminist Theory
    • Environmental Political Theory

Course Descriptions

Introduction to Environmental Studies

This course serves as an introduction to theoretical frameworks and salient issues in environmental studies. We begin the course will a crash course in environmental problems, including climate change. In the first section of the course, we examine perspectives in environmental ethics. Our discussion will engage the following questions: What is the environment? How should we conceptualize the relationship between humans and the natural world? Are humans inside or outside nature? How should we conceive of our duties to the natural world and to non-human animals? In the second section of the course, we examine theoretical and practical approaches to diagnosing and addressing environmental problems, including psychological, technological, institutional, and economic perspectives. For each of these approaches, we will explore mini-case studies that will allow us to see how these perspectives are applied in practice. In the final section of the course, we focus on climate change and explore the ways in which the different theoretical frameworks diagnose and propose solutions to climate change. This course will lay the groundwork and prepare you for upper level courses in environmental studies.

Food Politics

Food is a site of politics. Eating is a social, economic, and political practice with repercussions for the relationships between people and between humans and the natural environment. What we choose to eat, how we produce, process, market, sell, buy, consume, and discard food all involve political choices. The formal politics of government regulation and legislation affect food in many ways. Food policy and regulation shapes what we understand as food and how we engage with it. But the politics of food extends beyond the formal institutions of the state to the spheres of everyday politics, ethics, and economics. People, animals, and environments here in the U.S. and all over the world are affected by the food choices that we as American consumers make. What are the consequences of these choices? This course focuses our attention on our (often taken for granted) food practices and their political effects for the beings and ecosystems with whom we share the planet. We will explore the politics of food through its life cycle—growing, selling, buying, eating, and discarding—as well as the politics of food legislation and regulation, global food politics, and food movements. We will examine these issues through the lenses of ethics, economics, environment, and social justice, approaching our food practices with a critical eye.

U.S. Environmental Policy

Why hasn’t Congress passed any major environmental laws since 1990? Why are Republicans and Democrats so far apart on environmental issues? What power does the president have to influence environmental policy? Why are environmentalists constantly suing the government? Where is environmental policy being made if not in Congress? What has Obama done for the environment? If you have been puzzling over any of these questions, then this is the course for you! This course provides a comprehensive introduction to U.S. environmental policy from a historical perspective. We will explore how the federal government has addressed environmental issues over the past 50 years, focusing particularly on the green state legislation of the 1960s and 1970s, critiques of command and control regulation, the effects of conservatism on environmental policymaking, and the turns to state-level governance, market-based solutions, and collaborative governance. Over the course of the term, we will ask how and why these approaches to policymaking have changed over time. And we will compare these methods of policymaking to determine which approaches allow the government to make policy most effectively and democratically.

Environmental Justice

Environmental harms are not distributed equally across either U.S. or global populations. In the United States, low income communities and communities of color suffer disproportionately from environmental harms. Globally, developing countries shoulder many environmental burdens while the benefits of environmentally detrimental production often flow to developed nations. Both domestically and internationally, women feel the brunt of environmental injustice. What are the reasons for this? What theoretical approaches can help us understand environmental injustice and conceptualize environmental justice? How have communities mobilized to address environmental injustice and environmental racism? What does environmental justice look like in practice? This course will explore these questions. We begin the course with two seminal cases, Kettleman City, CA and the chemical corridor in Louisiana, to orient us to some of the core issues that arise in environmental justice cases. We then cover a range of disciplinary approaches to environmental justice, examining environmental injustice from the perspective of economics, social movements, public policy, planning, law, and political ecology. Next we turn to the role of environmental justice in urban planning, and examine issues of race, zoning, and transportation. The next section of the course focuses on the relationship between gender, environmental justice, and sustainable development. Here we look at empirical cases of protests against mountain top removal, women’s empowerment through tree planting, and dam construction in India. We end the course by focusing on three recent cases: Hurricane Katrina, the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, and the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s struggle to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Organizations and the Environment (Varieties of Environmentalism)

In his course, we will examine the origins, perspectives, and political activities of environmental social movements. We take an in-depth look at the evolution of and perspectives within the American environmental movement that emerged in the 1960s. In the process, we will examine changes in the movement, critiques of the movement from within its ranks, and divergent perspectives within environmentalism. Throughout our exploration of the U.S. environmental movement, we will look at how different parts of the movement diagnose environmental problems, the solutions they propose, the tactics they employ, and how they interact with the government and policy-making. We will also examine conservative anti-environmental backlash movements in the U.S. In the second part of the course, we look at global environmental movements. We examine differences between Northern and Southern environmentalisms, the relationship of movements and organizations to states and the international system, the role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and several cases of global activism. Throughout the course, we will explore how environmental social movements confront the state from both domestic and international positions, challenge corporate power and global capitalism, and imagine and enact visions of sustainability.

Climate Change Policy and Politics

This course provides an overview of climate change as a policy problem and examines both domestic and international policy solutions.  We begin the course by acquiring a set of analytical tools for understanding the policy challenges of climate change.  These diagnoses lay the foundation for examining solutions to climate change in the second half of the course.  In the second half of the course, we explore individual and corporate solutions, government solutions at the international, national, state, and city levels, market-based solutions, and technological solutions, including renewable energy, carbon capture, and geoengineering.  We end the course with a look at climate justice, and examine what just approaches to climate change mitigation and adaptation might look like. 

Partisanship and Environment

This seminar explores the development of partisan polarization on the environment in the United States from the beginning of the twentieth century to the present. We begin the course with the conservation era and Theodore Roosevelt’s efforts to conserve natural resources from exploitation and end with the current Trump administration.  We will focus attention on partisan dynamics in the presidency and congress, while also noting shifts in the courts and public opinion on environment.  Guiding our investigation are the following questions: Why did the Republican party transform from the standard bearer of conservation to the party of climate denial?  How did the Democratic party come to represent environmental protection in the second half of the twentieth century?  What drove the transition from conservation to environmentalism in the 1950s-1960s?  What tools do the president and congress have to push their pro- and anti-environmental agendas, and under what conditions are these strategies successful?  Are there ways to address polarization and reclaim a middle ground for environmental policymaking?  Throughout the course we will examine case studies on environmental issues, including forest management, reclamation, wilderness preservation, endangered species, air pollution, water pollution, toxics, hazardous waste, and climate change. 

Introduction to the Environment (same as Introduction to Environmental Studies)

Food, Culture, and Sustainable Societies (same as Food Politics)

Introduction to Environmental Politics and Policy

This course will provide an overview of American environmental politics and policy. The course is divided into 3 thematic sections—environmental ethics, environmental politics, and environmental policy. The first two weeks will provide an introduction to issues in environmental ethics. We will explore these issues in order to gain an understanding of debates about how we should view ourselves in relation to the environment and how we should act towards the environment. These debates will frame some of the ways in which environmental issues become politicized. In the second section of the course, we will cover the rise of environmental issues in the political sphere. We will focus on the rise of the environmental movement and the ways in which environmentalists frame political claims. We will also cover various perspectives within the environmental movement, including radical environmentalism, environmental justice, critiques of capitalism, and the politics of food. The third section of the course examines environmental issues from the perspective of government regulation. We will explore how the government has addressed environmental issues over the past 50 years, focusing particularly on the green state legislation of the 1960s and 1970s, critiques of command and control regulation, the effects of conservatism on environmental policymaking, and the turns to market-based solutions and collaborative governance. Throughout the course, I will draw your attention to the ways in which ethical, political, and regulatory questions are intertwined and situated in history.

Women and Politics

This course provides an introduction to historical and contemporary issues in women and politics in the American context. The course follows a broad chronology from first wave feminism (suffrage) to second wave feminism and contemporary debates about the meaning and practice of gender and the concrete politics of women and work. We will engage these topics with an expansive conception of politics in mind – politics exists not just in democratic institutions and the formal political sphere, but also in our everyday interactions with others, in the ways that we experience relations of domination and empowerment, and in the negotiation of shared meanings. Though the history of feminism is narrated in three sequential waves, we can also trace common themes that run from historical to contemporary feminism. We will be attentive to the ways in which, even though women have achieved much over the past 150 years, we continue to deal with some of the same challenges that first wave feminists identified. Feminism is an ongoing project, and many issues, like work, representation, and violence, continue to be central issues for feminist politics. The first section of the course gives a brief overview of the first and second waves of feminism, as well as challenges presented by intersectional approaches and conservative feminisms. The second section of the course examines the distinction between sex and gender and the consequences for how we think about the categories of men and women. In this section, we will explore critiques of heteronormativity and exclusion in the feminist movement, the social construction of bodies, sexual violence, and racial and political representation. The last section of the course focuses on women and work. Work has been a central issue in the history of feminism and continues to be a contentious issue in public debate about women’s rights and choices. We will look at the issue of work through a historical lens, as it relates to race and welfare, and end with a look at the debate over Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In. On the last day of the course, we end with a discussion of where feminism as a political project stands now and what a contemporary third wave feminist politics might look like.