Spring 2018

Partisanship and Environment in the U.S.

Listed in: Environmental Studies, as ENST-460

Moodle site: Course


Jessica N. Hejny (Section 01)


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. 

Limited to 18 students. Requisites: ENST 120 and ENST 252 or any Political Science course, or permission of the instructor. Spring semester. Visiting Professor Hejny. 

If Overenrolled: Preference given to students who have taken ENST 252 and ENST majors.


Attention to Research, Attention to Speaking, Attention to Writing


2018-19: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2018