Karen Litfin

University of Washington-Seattle Campus

Materials Contributed through SERC-hosted Projects


Who am I in a Changing Climate? part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
In my "Global Environmental Politics" course, students study climate change from a range of levels of analysis: local, regional, national and international. As students become aware of the gap between the scientific consensus regarding what would be required to stabilize Earth's climate and actual policies, they inevitably experience varying degrees of anxiety, frustration, and even guilt for their own complicity. Rather than evading these emotional responses, I endeavor to make space for them in the classroom - without compromising the intellectual content of the course or engaging in group therapy. My approach to climate change is informed by my general approach to teaching international relations, which I call "person/planet politics." Rather than seeing the causes of and responses to climate change as merely happening "out there," students are encouraged to bring the material home by engaging with it through minds, hearts and bodies.