Introduction to Environmental Politics


Susan E. Gallagher, Associate Professor, Political Science

Unit 1: An Overview of American Environmental History, Politics, and Policy

Timeline: The Modern Environmental Movement, The American Experience (PBS/WGBH).

Jack Lewis, "Looking Backward: A Historical Perspective on Environmental Regulations" (EPA Journal, March 1988).

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2002), excerpts.

Frederick Buell, “The Decade of Crisis,” preface to From Apocalypse to Way of Life: Environmental Crisis in the American Century (New York: Routledge, 2003.

Background: R. Crumb, "A Short History of America." (pdf) 

Unit 2: Industrial Expansion in the Age of Slavery

Stefania Barca, "Energy, Property, and the Industrial Revolution Narrative," Ecological Economics (March 2010).

Jack Temple Kirby, "The American Civil War: An Environmental View," National Humanities Center.

Henry David Thoreau, "Slavery in Massachusetts," a speech delivered in Framingham, 1854, Mapping Thoreau Country.

Background: Mark Fiege, The Republic of Nature: an environmental history of the United States (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2012).  

Unit 3: Nature as Refuge: Rise of the Conservation Movement in the U.S

Dorceta Taylor, "Race, Class, Gender, and American Environmentalism," U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Forest Service (2002).

Anne E. Chapman, "Nineteenth Century Trends in American Conservation," National Park Service.

Kathryn Morse, "There Will Be Birds: Images of Oil Disasters in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries," Journal of American History (June 2012), 124-134.

Background: Susan E. Gallagher, "Nature as Destination: Thoreau's Contributions to Tourism on Cape Cod," Mapping Thoreau Country:  Tracking Henry David Thoreau's Travels in Massachusetts.


Unit 4: From Preservation to Protection: The Evolution of Environmental Policy in the 20th Century

Lorus and Margery Milne, "There's Poison All Around Us Now," Review of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, New York Times, September 23, 1962.

NEPA, the National Environmental Policy Act (1969),

"The Guardian: Origins of the EPA," Environmental Protection Agency.

Background: Mark Stoll, Rachel Carson's Silent Spring: A Book that Changed the World (Digital Exhibit), Environment and Society Portal.

Unit 5: Environmental Regulation Comes of Age

Neil S. Shifrin, "Pollution Management in the Twentieth Century," Journal of Environmental Engineering (May 2005), 676-691.

"A Brief History of the Clean Water Act," NOW, PBS. 

"Air Pollution and the Clean Air Act," EPA.

Sue Jennings, "Celebrating Forty Years of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act," George Wright Forum (2008).

Joel A. Mintz, "EPA Enforcement of Comprehensive Environmental Response Liability Act (CERCLA): Historical Overview and Recent Trends," Southwestern Law Review (July 11, 2012). 

Unit 6: Deindustrialization & Deregulation: Environmental Policy in and Beyond the Reagan Era

Alice Mah, "Lessons from Love Canal: Toxic Expertise and Environmental Justice," Open Democracy, August 7, 2013.

Robert Bullard, "Race, Class, and the Politics of Place," Chapter Two, Dumping in Dixie: Race, Class, and Environmental Quality (Boulder: Westview Press (1990).

James Ridgeway, "Pollution Is Our Most Important Product," The Nation, November 7, 1981.

Jonathan H. Adler,"The Conservative Record on Environmental Policy," New Atlantis (Summer 2013).

"A Look Back at Reagan’s Environmental Record," staff, Grist, June 2004.

Unit 7: Environmental Politics in the Age of Climate Change

Susan E. Gallagher, "Policy Challenges," and "Political Economy," teaching and learning resources created for UMass Lowell's Climate Change Initiative.

Kate Gordon et al, "Risky Business: The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States,", June 2014

Rebecca Solnit, "Bigger Than That (The Difficulty of) Looking at Climate Change,", October 6, 2013.

Kate Sheppard, "Remember When Cap and Trade Was a GOP Idea?," Mother Jones, December 21, 2010.

Naomi Klein, "Capitalism vs. the Climate," The Nation, November 28, 2011.

Note: These resources will be updated when the course is offered again in Fall 2016.