Junior Tutorial: Climate Sociology
What are the social causes and effects of climate change? Why do societies around the world differ so much in their contributions to climate change, and why do human efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change take on the social structures of nationhood, class, race, and gender? Why has the United States been so slow to transition from traditional energy resources like coal, oil, and gas, to renewable ones like solar, wind, and hydro? How will the costs of climate mitigation and adaptation be distributed at a time of growing inequalities? This course addresses these and other questions by (1) engaging sociological theories about how humans relate to our natural environment, (2) reviewing some of the qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-method approaches, and (3) developing ideas about what roles social scientists can play in creating climate solutions. We read in the areas of environmental justice, environmental sociology, climate demography, and the sociology of disasters, including contemporary classics like Arlie Hochschild’s Strangers in Their Own Land, and Colin Jerolmack’s Up to Heaven and Down to Hell. As we build this foundation, students will design and complete their own semester-long research project on climate sociology.