Daniel Suarez
Office
Franklin Env Ctr-Hillcrest 218
Tel
(802) 443-5365
Email
dsuarez@middlebury.edu
Office Hours
On sabbatical until August 2023

I am an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies with a background in critical geography, cultural anthropology, and environmental science.

I study the contemporary politics of global environmental change. My work explores questions of power, knowledge, environmental justice, and social change by combining scholarship from political ecology, global environmental politics, science and technology studies, institutional theory, social movements, and critical pedagogy.

I bring an ethnographic approach to the study of environmental politics, attentive to the everyday practices and lived experiences of the people who together constitute and conduct environmental governance. My doctoral research examined the rise of “ecosystem services” approaches in biodiversity conservation. I have since initiated two further lines of research investigating (a) clashing “theories of change” in environmentalism and (b) how educators are grappling with the radical implications of contemporary ecological crises in their teaching. You can find more information about my research here: https://danielsuarez.ca/.

In the classroom, my teaching emphasizes vigorous dialogue as a means of advancing student learning: dialogue with each other, dialogue with me, and dialogue with the wider worlds in which my students are implicated, locally and globally, personally and professionally.

I grew up in Vancouver and am into running, cycling, hiking, and many other -ings related to being outdoors.

Courses Taught

Course Description

Environmental Justice in the Anthropocene
We live in a moment defined by environmental change. Yet the causes and consequences of these transformations are profoundly uneven. Across race, class, gender, and other forms of difference, “environmental problems” manifest in radically unequal ways, disproportionately burdening some while benefiting others. In this class we will dwell on this central tension in thinking about present socio-environmental crises and what to do about them, from toxic landscapes and biodiversity loss to global hunger and a warming climate. Certainly, these problems pose urgent, even existential problems that demand intervention. Yet common refrains about ‘how to save the environment’ always come with baggage. They have deep histories and hidden assumptions about causes and solutions, justice and inequality, politics and social change, which we will wrestle with together in this course. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

Requirements

CMP, SOC

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Course Description

Conservation and Environmental Policy
This course examines conservation and environmental policy in the United States. In order to better understand the current nature of the conservation and environmental policy process, we will begin by tracing the development of past ideas, institutions, and policies related to this policy arena. We will then focus on contemporary conservation and environmental politics and policy making—gridlock in Congress, interest group pressure, the role of the courts and the president, and a move away from national policy making—toward the states, collaboration, and civil society. 3 hrs. lect./disc.
(By Approval)

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

Requirements

AMR, SOC

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Course Description

Theories of Change
Clashing perspectives regarding how to envision and enact “social change” have long riven the environmental movement, animating deep disagreement among activists. In this seminar we will explore these debates by (1) analyzing various efforts aimed at “changing the world” and (2) troubleshooting their different methods, strategies, and underlying beliefs and assumptions about how they think social change “works.” Through close analysis of these initiatives, we will examine how activists, organizers, and other self-described practitioners of social change conceive of social change: what it is, what it looks like, how it happens, and how to do it. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

Requirements

SOC

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Course Description

Global Political Ecology
From global land grabs and agrarian revolutionary movements to clashes over energy infrastructure and the establishment of protected areas, today’s “environmental issues” are suffused with political relations and deeply entangled with the historical formations of capitalism, colonialism, the state, and science. In this seminar we will analyze how “social” questions of power, political economy, and social struggle, pervade the “natural” (and vice versa). Such questions are invariably messy and full of surprises, confounding reduction to universal theories extended from afar. Often, they require a close in-the-weeds look. That is what this class will invite you to do. The field of political ecology offers a rich repertoire of approaches for developing empirically grounded, historically contextualized, and theoretically nuanced forms of analysis that grapple with the situated complexities of resource and environmental issues. (ENVS 0208 or ENVS 0211 or PSCI 0214) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

Requirements

CMP, SOC

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Course Description

Community-Engaged Environmental Studies Practicum
In this course students work in small groups with one of a variety of partners and organizations to complete a semester-long, community-engaged project. Project themes vary by term and typically focus on local and regional environmental issues that have broader application. Projects rely on students’ creativity, interdisciplinary perspectives, skills, and knowledge developed through their previous work. The project is guided by a faculty member and carried out with a high degree of independence by the students. Students will prepare for and direct their project work through readings and discussion, independent research, collaboration with project partners, and consultation with external experts. The course may also include workshops focused on developing key skills (e.g., interviewing, public speaking, video editing). The project culminates in a public presentation of students’ final products, which may various forms such as written reports, policy white papers, podcasts, or outreach materials. (Open to Juniors and Seniors) (ENVS 0112, ENVS 0211, ENVS 0215, GEOG 0120 or GEOG 0150) 3 hrs. sem./3 hrs. lab

Terms Taught

Fall 2018

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Course Description

Independent Study
In this course, students (non-seniors) carry out an independent research or creative project on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment. The project, carried out under the supervision of a faculty member with related expertise who is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program, must involve a significant amount of independent research and analysis. The expectations and any associated final products will be defined in consultation with the faculty advisor. Students may enroll in ENVS 0500 no more than twice for a given project. (Approval only)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Senior Independent Study
In this course, seniors complete an independent research or creative project on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment. During the term prior to enrolling in ENVS 0700, a student must discuss and agree upon a project topic with a faculty advisor who is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program and submit a brief project proposal to the Director of Environmental Studies for Approval. The expectations and any associated final products will be defined in consultation with the faculty advisor. Students may enroll in ENVS 0700 as a one-term independent study OR up to twice as part of a multi-term project, including as a lead-up to ENVS 0701 (ES Senior Thesis) or ENVS 0703 (ES Senior Integrated Thesis). (Senior standing; Approval only)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Senior Thesis
This course is the culminating term of a multi-term independent project, resulting in a senior thesis on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment. Approval to enroll is contingent on successful completion of at least one term (and up to two) of ENVS 0700 and the approval of the student’s thesis committee. The project, carried out under the supervision of a faculty advisor who is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program, will result in a substantial piece of scholarly work that will be presented to other ENVS faculty and students in a public forum and defended before the thesis committee. (Senior standing; ENVS major; ENVS 0112, ENVS 0211, ENVS 0215, GEOG 0120, and ENVS 0700; Approval only)

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

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Course Description

Senior Integrated Thesis
This course is the culminating term of a multi-term independent project, resulting in a senior thesis on a topic pertinent to the relationship between humans and the environment and that meaningfully integrates perspectives, methodologies, and/or approaches from multiple academic divisions (e.g., humanities/arts, natural sciences, social sciences). Approval to enroll is contingent on successful completion of at least one term (and up to two) of ENVS 0700 and approval of the Environmental Studies Program. The project, carried out under the co-supervision of two faculty advisors from different academic divisions of whom at least one is appointed in or affiliated with the Environmental Studies Program, will result in a substantial piece of scholarly work that will be presented to other ENVS faculty and students in a public forum and defended before the thesis committee. (Open to Senior ENVS majors) (Approval Only)

Terms Taught

Winter 2019, Winter 2020, Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Winter 2022

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Course Description

The Politics of Hope
We are frequently told we must “never give up hope.” But what is at stake in hoping? In this course we will interrogate this ubiquitous injunction to hope. We will analyze contemporary debates about the possibility of hope in the face of uncertain planetary futures to consider the affective politics of how, in what ways, toward what ends, and why we hope. At what point does hope become misplaced, turning into a “cruel optimism”? How is hope mobilized politically? How are different futurities distributed among different groups? And what might happen if we let go of commonly-held yet narrowly-conceived hopes and tried imagining something different? this course counts as a social science cognate for environmental studies majors.

Terms Taught

Winter 2020, Winter 2021

Requirements

SOC, WTR

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Course Description

Russian and East European Studies Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Terms Taught

Winter 2021, Spring 2021, Winter 2022, Spring 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023

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Academic Degrees

PhD, University of California, Berkeley

MA, University of Toronto

BSc, University of British Columbia

Publications