Instructor: Brendon Swedlow                              Political Science (POLS) 324

bswedlow@niu.edu 815.753.7061                         NIU Spring 2006

Office: 418 Zulauf Hall                                        MW 3:30-4:45

Hours: MW 1-1:50 p.m.                                      DuSable 459

                   

Politics of Energy and the Environment:

Environmental, Health, and Safety Risks

Global Questions, Local Answers

 

Course Overview

 

Environmental issues are among the most pervasive of our time. Whether it is the loss of biodiversity, the warming of the planet, or any one of dozens of other problems we are constantly being asked to assess, environmental issues are everywhere.

Environmental issues are also challenging to understand. Environmental advocates often rely on factual claims – species loss is occurring at a certain rate, or global warming is causing increased flooding – that are disputed by others. How are we to know which claims are more nearly correct?

Environmental issues can be difficult to resolve. Factual disputes are frequently embedded in value conflicts. Many interest groups have strong views on what the relationship between humans and the environment should be. These oughts get mixed up with assessments of what the present relationship is.

This course will teach you how to get answers to your questions about the environment. We will learn how to analyze disputes among environmental experts. We will study how environmental issues are perceived and addressed in different countries. And we will together have the opportunity to research how environmental, health, and safety risks are regulated in Illinois.

 

Course Requirements and Participation

 

Your grade in this course will be based on class participation, a short research paper (5-7 pages), a research proposal (3-5 pages), and a longer research paper (20-30 pages). Deadlines for submission of the papers and proposal are provided below. Further description of what is required for the papers and proposal will be provided in class and on the course webpages.

Class participation will determine a significant part of your course grade (20%). Every day that we meet I will select one or more students from the enrollment roster to answer questions about the readings. Students who are present and prepared to answer those questions, will receive credit for participating in class discussion that day. Students who are absent or unprepared, will receive no credit that day. Other ways to receive no credit for the day include: (1) cell phone or pager-related interruptions and (2) being late, stepping out of and back into class, or leaving early without good reason.

 

Required Readings

 

Required readings for the course are on e-reserves (for which a URL will be provided in class and on the course webpages) at NIU’s Founder’s Library and in the following required texts, available at the Holmes Student Center bookstore:

Sheila Jasanoff.  Risk Management and Political Culture. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1986.

 

Allan Mazur, True Warnings and False Alarms: Evaluating Fears about the Health Risks of Technology, 1948-1971. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future, 2004.

 

David Ropeik and George Gray. Risk! A Practical Guide for Deciding What’s Really Safe and What’s Really Dangerous in the World Around You. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2002.

 

Due Dates for Paper Proposal and Papers

 

February 6         Short Research Paper (5-7 pages; 25% of grade) on Bjorn Lomborg due at beginning of class, Monday

 

March 6             Research Paper Proposal (3-5 pages; 15% of grade) on Risk Regulation due at beginning of class, Monday              

 

May 1                 Research Paper (20-30 pages; 40% of grade) on Risk Regulation due at beginning of class, Monday

 

Please do not…

·       ask for extensions on turning in your paper proposal and papers. Proposals and papers will be graded down one third of a grade per day that they are late.

·       ask for an incomplete in the course unless you have a very, very compelling reason to do so.

 

Definitely do not…

·       engage in “academic misconduct,” defined by the NIU Student Judicial Code as the “receipt or transmission of unauthorized aid on assignments or examinations, plagiarism, unauthorized use of examination materials, or other forms of dishonesty in academic matters.”

 

Department of Political Science Announcements

 

Undergraduate Writing Awards

 

The Department of Political Science will recognize, on an annual basis, outstanding undergraduate papers written in conjunction with 300-400 level political science courses or directed studies. Authors do not have to be political science majors or have a particular class standing. Winners are expected to attend the Department's spring graduation ceremony where they will receive a certificate and $50.00. Papers, which can be submitted by students or faculty, must be supplied in triplicate to a department secretary by February 28, 2006.  All copies should have two cover pages - one with the student's name and one without the student's name. Only papers written in the previous calendar year can be considered for the award. However, papers completed in the current spring semester are eligible for the following year's competition even if the student has graduated.

 

Statement Concerning Students with Disabilities

 

Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, NIU is committed to making reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. Those students with disabilities that may have some impact on their coursework and for which they may require accommodations should notify the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR) on the fourth floor of the Health Services Building. CAAR will assist students in making appropriate accommodations with course instructors. It is important that CAAR and instructors be informed of any disability-related needs during the first two weeks of the semester.

 

Department of Political Science Web Site

 

Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to consult the Department of Political Science web site on a regular basis. This up-to-date, central source of information will assist students in contacting faculty and staff, reviewing course requirements and syllabi, exploring graduate study, researching career options, tracking department events, and accessing important details related to undergraduate programs and activities. To reach the site, go to http://polisci.niu.edu.

 

Reading Assignments and Lecture Topics

 

WEEK 1 But is it True? Skepticism and Environmentalism

Reminder: NO CLASS MONDAY, JAN. 16, MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY

Lomborg, Bjorn. (2001). “Things are getting better.” In Bjorn Lomborg, The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World. Cambridge, UK: The Cambridge University Press. pp. 3-33.

Lomborg, Bjorn. (2001). “Predicament or Progress?” In Bjorn Lomborg, The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World. Cambridge, UK: The Cambridge University Press. pp. 327-352.

 

WEEK 2 Today’s Biggest Environmental Issues? Biodiversity Loss and Global Warming

Lomborg, Bjorn. (2001). “Biodiversity.” In Bjorn Lomborg, The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World. Cambridge, UK: The Cambridge University Press. pp. 249-257.

Lomborg, Bjorn. (2001). “Global warming.” In Bjorn Lomborg, The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World. Cambridge, UK: The Cambridge University Press. pp. 258-324.

 

WEEK 3 How Do We Know What We Know? Understanding the Politics of Science

Science, Policy, and Politics: Learning from Controversy Over The Skeptical Environmentalist. (2004). Edited by R.A. Pielke, Jr. and S. Rayner. Environmental Science and Policy, 7, 5 (Special Issue). http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/publications/special/pielke_tse_debate.html

 

Mazur, Allan. (2004). “Why Experts in Technical Controversies Disagree.” In Allan Mazur, True Warnings and False Alarms: Evaluating Fears about the Health Risks of Technology, 1948-1971. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future. pp. 45-62.

Swedlow, Brendon. (2005). “The Political Struggle for Scientific Authority: Boundary-work and Pollution Claims among Owl and Forest Scientists and their Allies and Opponents.” Draft manuscript. pp. 1-40.

 

 

WEEK 4 How Do We Know What’s Dangerous? Risk Assessment and Management

 

Reminder: Short Research Paper (5-7 pages) on Bjorn Lomborg due Monday, February 6th, beginning of class

 

Andrews, Richard N. L. (2006). “Risk-Based Decision Making: Policy, Science, and Politics.” In Environmental Policy: New Directions for the Twenty-First Century, Sixth Edition, Norman J. Vig and Michael E. Kraft, eds. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Press. pp. 215-238.

 

Swedlow, Brendon. (2005). “Risk Regulation Regimes in Illinois: Creating a Template for U.S.-European Comparisons,” Grant Proposal to the Smith

Richardson Foundation. pp. 1-17.

 

 

WEEK 5  What Causes and Controls Cancer? Assessing and Managing Cancer Risks

 

Jasanoff, Sheila. (1986). “The Many Faces of ‘Cancer Policy’.” In Sheila Jasanoff, Risk Management and Political Culture. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. pp. 9-16.

 

Jasanoff, Sheila. (1986). “Identifying Carcinogens.” In Sheila Jasanoff, Risk Management and Political Culture. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. pp. 17-24.

 

Jasanoff, Sheila. (1986). “Risk Assessment.” In Sheila Jasanoff, Risk Management and Political Culture. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. pp. 25-32.

 

Jasanoff, Sheila. (1986). “Accommodating Scientific Change.” In Sheila Jasanoff, Risk Management and Political Culture. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. pp. 33-40.

 

 

WEEK 6  What Causes and Controls Cancer? Assessing and Managing Cancer Risks

 

Jasanoff, Sheila. (1986). “Regulation of Formaldehyde.” In Sheila Jasanoff, Risk Management and Political Culture. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. pp. 41-54.

 

Jasanoff, Sheila. (1986). “The Cultures of Participation.” In Sheila Jasanoff, Risk Management and Political Culture. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. pp. 55-68.

 

Jasanoff, Sheila. (1986). “Neutral Expertise.” In Sheila Jasanoff, Risk Management and Political Culture. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. pp. 69-78.

 

Jasanoff, Sheila. (1986). “Conclusion.” In Sheila Jasanoff, Risk Management and Political Culture. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. pp. 79-83.

 

 

WEEK 7 How Do We Know What We Know? Culture and Risk Perception

 

Slovic, Paul, James Flynn, C.K. Mertz, Marc Poumadere, and Claire Mays. (2000). “Nuclear Power and the Public: A Comparative Study of Risk Perception in France and the United States.” In Cross-Cultural Risk Perception: A Survey of Empirical Studies. Ortwin Renn and Bernd Rohrmann, eds. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 55-102.

 

 

 

WEEK 8 How Do We Know What We Know? Culture, Risk Perception & Communication

 

Reminder: Research Paper Proposal on Risk Regulation due Monday, March 6th , beginning of class (3-5 pages)

 

Ellis, Richard J. and Fred Thompson. (1997). “Culture and the Environment in the Pacific Northwest.” American Political Science Review, 91, 4: 885-897.

 

Swedlow, Brendon. (1995). “Reporting Environmental Science.” In Aaron Wildavsky, But Is It True? A Citizen’s Guide to Environmental Health and Safety Issues. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.  pp. 375-394.

 

 

WEEK 9        NO CLASS MARCH 11-19TH, SPRING BREAK

 

 

WEEK 10 How Does Regulation Matter? Adversarial Legalism and Environmental Law

Kagan, Robert A. (2001). “Adversarial Legalism and Regulatory Style.” Adversarial Legalism: The American Way of Law. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. pp. 181-206.

 

Kagan, Robert A. (2001). “Economic Development, Environmental Protection, and Adversarial Legalism.” Adversarial Legalism: The American Way of Law. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. pp. 207-224.

 

 

WEEK 11 How Does Regulation Matter? Corporate Environmental Performance

Kagan, Robert A., Neil Gunningham, and Dorothy Thornton. (2003). “Explaining Corporate Environmental Performance: How Does Regulation Matter?,” Law and Society Review 37, 1: 51-89.

 

 

WEEK 12 What Are Risk Regulation Regimes? And Why They Matter

Hood, Christopher, Henry Rothstein, and Robert Baldwin. (2001). “What Are Risk Regulation Regimes? Why Do They Matter?” In Christopher Hood, Henry Rothstein, and Robert Baldwin, The Government of Risk: Understanding Risk Regulation Regimes. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 3-19.

 

Hood, Christopher, Henry Rothstein, and Robert Baldwin. (2001). “The Comparative Anatomy of Risk Regulation Regimes.” In Christopher Hood, Henry Rothstein, and Robert Baldwin, The Government of Risk: Understanding Risk Regulation Regimes. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 20-35.

 

 

WEEK 13 What Are Risk Regulation Regimes? Nine British Regimes Compared

 

Hood, Christopher, Henry Rothstein, and Robert Baldwin. (2001). “Nine Risk Regulation Regimes Compared.” In Christopher Hood, Henry Rothstein, and Robert Baldwin, The Government of Risk: Understanding Risk Regulation Regimes. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 36-58.

 

Hood, Christopher, Henry Rothstein, and Robert Baldwin. (2001). “How Far does Context Shape Content in Risk Regulation Regimes?” In Christopher Hood, Henry Rothstein, and Robert Baldwin, The Government of Risk: Understanding Risk Regulation Regimes. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 61-69.

 

 

WEEK 14 What Are Risk Regulation Regimes? The NIU Study of Regimes in Illinois

 

Hood, Christopher, Henry Rothstein, and Robert Baldwin. (2001). “Regime Content and Context Revisited: An Overall Picture.” In Christopher Hood, Henry Rothstein, and Robert Baldwin, The Government of Risk: Understanding Risk Regulation Regimes. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 133-144.

 

Hood, Christopher, Henry Rothstein, and Robert Baldwin. (2001). “Regime Development Under Pressure: Staged Retreats and Lateral Mutations.” In Christopher Hood, Henry Rothstein, and Robert Baldwin, The Government of Risk: Understanding Risk Regulation Regimes. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 147-170.

 

 

WEEK 15 True Warnings or False Alarms? What an Answer Might Look Like

 

Mazur, Allan. (2004). “True Warnings and False Alarms.” In Allan Mazur, True Warnings and False Alarms: Evaluating Fears about the Health Risks of Technology, 1948-1971. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future. pp. 1-10.

 

Mazur, Allan. (2004). “Lawless’s Era: 1948-1971.” In Allan Mazur, True Warnings and False Alarms: Evaluating Fears about the Health Risks of Technology, 1948-1971. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future. pp. 22-44.

 

Mazur, Allan. (2004). “Evaluating the Lawless Warnings: True or False?” In Allan Mazur, True Warnings and False Alarms: Evaluating Fears about the Health Risks of Technology, 1948-1971. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future. pp. 63-73.

 

 

WEEK 16 True Warnings or False Alarms? What an Answer Might Look Like

Reminder: Research Paper on Risk Regulation due Monday, May 1, beginning of class

 

Mazur, Allan. (2004). “Coding the Cases.” In Allan Mazur, True Warnings and False Alarms: Evaluating Fears about the Health Risks of Technology, 1948-1971. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future. pp. 74-86.

 

Mazur, Allan. (2004). “Hallmarks of True and False Alarms.” In Allan Mazur, True Warnings and False Alarms: Evaluating Fears about the Health Risks of Technology, 1948-1971. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future. pp. 87-96.

 

Mazur, Allan. (2004). “Hindsight and Foresight.” In Allan Mazur, True Warnings and False Alarms: Evaluating Fears about the Health Risks of Technology, 1948-1971. Washington, DC: Resources for the Future. pp. 97-109.