Welcome to Global Environmental Politics!

The world is constantly changing. As new species evolve on the planet, many more disappear. The climate fluctuates, but scientists tell us that overall there are clear signs that the planet is warming. Human activity is central to these environmental changes. How do humans gain knowledge about the impacts of their activities? How do they organize in response to that knowledge? Under what conditions do we govern our relationships with the natural world?

This course examines different perspectives of global environmental politics. Issues covered vary but may include trade-environmental conflicts, environmental justice, climate change, biodiversity, and management of water resources. The course will consider the actors involved in these issues and the design and use of international institutions for managing international cooperation and conflict on these issues.

Course Outline

  1. Introduction
  2. Complexity in Global Environmental Politics
  3. The Actors, Parts, Pieces, Systems, Structures, Participants, Networks… of GEP
  4. Part Four: Processes, Negotiations, Knowledge, Norms, Might, Money
  5. Dams
  6. The Environment & Trade
  7. Conservation & Biodiversity
  8. Climate Change
  9. Resource Wars
  10. Conclusions and the Future

Course Goals
By the end of this course you will be able to…

  • Understand and evaluate the impact of politics on the environment
  • Understand and evaluate the roles of different agents (individuals, NGOs, states, IOs) and structures (international law…) in attempts to govern human activity as it impacts the environment
  • Think and argue critically about issues in global environmental politics and convey your thoughts in written form. The skills we stress in this class-critical thinking, analytical reading, and writing-will be important no matter what you do.

Prerequisites: None. Any of the introductory government courses may be helpful but are not required.

Certificates and Programs: This course is part of the International Relations Certificate and Environmental Studies Program

Course Information
Government 322, Spring 2011
Tuesdays/Thursdays, 2:40 – 4:00pm
PAC 422

Professor Mike Nelson
Office: PAC 417
Office Hours: Tu/Th, 1:30 – 2:30, or by appointment
Email: mbnelson – at – wesleyan.edu
Website: http://www.michaelnelson.info/

Not enrolled, but want to get in this course? Please follow the instructions on the linked form below and return the form to me as soon as possible.

Wait List Form