John Meyer

Office: FH 138
Office Hours: MW 1-2pm (in FH 138), T 2-3pm (in Library Café) & by appt.
Phone: 707-826-4497

John M. Meyer, Professor

Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison


I teach courses in two overlapping areas: political ideas and the politics of environmental sustainability. These include Introduction to Political Theory, Environmental Politics, Contemporary Political Theory, Radical Political Thought, Politics of Sustainability, and seminars on a variety of themes including property, democracy, the politics of everyday life, and environmental political theory. I am also active in Humboldt’s interdisciplinary programs on “Environment and Community“ and Environmental Studies.

In Spring 2014, I am teaching:
(course links require HSU Moodle access)

PSCI 220 Introduction to Political Theory
PSCI 327 Radical Political Thought
EC 620 Politics of Sustainability


My current research focuses upon the ways in which environmental concerns might be the basis for effective social criticism. This has led me in several directions, including a critical analysis of the liberal concept of property; reflection upon the possibilities — and limitations — of a democratic conception of sacrifice; and the tension between populist and paternalist appeals within environmental argument. I am particularly interested in the ways in which large-scale material practices in society — including use of land, reliance upon automobiles, and dwelling in homes — can create both opportunities and constraints for arguments regarding sustainability. I have a forthcoming book related to these themes, entitled Toward a Resonant Environmentalism: Property, Freedom, and Citizenship in Everyday Practice (MIT Press, 2015). I am also a co-editor (along with Teena Gabrielson, Cheryl Hall, and David Schlosberg) of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Environmental Political Theory.

During the 2012-2013 academic year, I was a Carson Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU), in Munich, Germany.

My published books are: The Environmental Politics of Sacrifice(MIT Press, 2010) (edited with Michael Maniates), Political Nature: Environmentalism and the Interpretation of Western Thought (MIT Press 2001), and a reader entitled American Indians and U.S. Politics (Praeger, 2002).


I’ve published articles, essays, and reviews in a variety of academic journals, including the American Political Science Review; Environmental Politics; Ethics, Place, and the Environment; Journal of Political Philosophy; Organization and Environment; Perspectives on Politics; Political Theory; Polity; and Theory and Event. More information about these is available on my curriculum vitae, below.

I’ve also written essays for magazines, commenting on the contemporary — and future — state of environmentalism in the U.S. My essay, “Rethinking Personal Sacrifice“ was published in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. “Another Inconvenient Truth,” about Al Gore’s movie, was published in Dissent Magazine. I have written on the controversy over the supposed “Death of Environmentalism” in Dissent and a special issue of The American Prospect.


I facilitate an international discussion list and am active in an academic workshop on environmental political theory (please contact me if you wish to join the list). The workshop is held annually in conjunction with the Western Political Science Association conference, which also includes a section devoted to environmental political theory.

At Humboldt, I am a steering committee member for the Campus Center for Appropriate Technology (CCAT) and was proud to receive HSU’s “Club Advisor of the Year” award in 2006 for my work with this student-driven organization. I am also a representative on the University Senate. I have served on university’s sustainability steering committee, the Humboldt Energy Independence Fund Committee and the Cabinet for Institutional Change.

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Curriculum Vitae

View Curriculum Vitae (pdf)