Associate Professor

Litfin, Karen


Karen Litfin, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of political science at the University of Washington. She received her Ph.D. from UCLA in 1992. Karen’s first two books were Ozone Discourses: Science and Politics in Global Environmental Cooperation (Columbia University Press, 1994) and The Greening of Sovereignty in World Politics(MIT Press, 1998). She has also written on the politics of earth remote sensing; the political implications of Gaia Theory; the relationship between climate science and politics; the ecological politics of sacrifice; the global ecovillage movement; and contemplative pedagogical practices. For links to some of these publications, please click on “Research” tab.

Karen’s latest book, Ecovillages: Lessons for Sustainable Community, traces her yearlong journey to ecovillages around the world in language that is at once intellectually and emotionally engaging. The book explores these micro-laboratories of deep sustainability through four broad windows—ecology, economics, community, and consciousness—or E2C2, and gleans their lessons for a viable human future at every scale, from the neighborhoods to cities to countries to global governance. Click here for her video.

In her teaching, Karen takes an innovative “person/planet politics” approach rooted in two questions: What does it mean to come of age at the dawn of the Anthropocene, as we learn that prevailing institutions, practices and values are unraveling the tapestry of life? And how does one serve as a mentor under these conditions? Karen is currently working on a book based upon her twenty years of experience with contemplative pedagogical practices in environmental and global education.

taken from https://www.polisci.washington.edu/people/karen-litfin