Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
Climate Solutions Lab

Comparative Environmental Politics: The Social Sciences and Climate Change

American University

Environmental Studies


Todd A. Eisenstadt

Undergraduate lecture

Readings from Underrepresented groups

This graduate course explores social science theories and debates surrounding climate change and related environmental issues such as the transition to renewable energy sources and the implications of increasing strains on natural resources such as water. Parting from social science frames for environmental problems, such as the tragedy of the commons within scholarly literature on “the collective action problem,” the course looks concretely at the explanatory strengths and limitations of the social sciences in explaining climate change and related environmental problems. The course looks at international, national, and subnational interest groups and actors across a range of cases around the world and also considers the role of individual behavior. Open to MA and PhD students, enrollment is limited to 20 students as the course will be based heavily on discussion and written assignments.