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PS356 – Global Environmental Politics: Protection of the Commons

Tackling the complex collective action problems facing humanity in the modern era.

Oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010
Oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010

Instructor(s)

Associate Professor Andrew Price-Smith email

This course explores the role of consilient (interdisciplinary) knowledge and its role in the amelioration of global collective action problems in the domain of the environment, notably commons such as the oceans and atmosphere. Regarding the oceans, we analyze the obstacles to the effective protection of global marine resources, specifically in the realms of biodiversity, fisheries, coral reefs, and endangered species. Regarding the atmosphere, we analyze problems of free-riding, time inconsistency, domestic politics and international anarchy.

The course integrates recent findings in political science, philosophy, biology, economics and ecology to generate a new base of knowledge for students. From a pedagogical standpoint, the aim of the course is to augment the student’s capacity to think in a critical and consilient manner, in order to tackle the complex collective action problems facing humanity in the modern era.