Jon Isham
Office
Warner 016
Tel
(802) 443-5761
Email
jisham@middlebury.edu
Office Hours
Spring 2022 Office Hours: Mondays and Fridays, 9:00 - 11:00

Jon Isham has been on the Middlebury faculty since 1999. He co-founded the Middlebury Center for Social Entrepreneurship in January 2012, serving as its director until 2016. He was the director of Environmental Studies from 2011-2014 and was a Fulbright Scholar at Ashesi University in 2016-17.

Jon teaches classes about environmental policy, environmental economics, microeconomics, and social change. His research encompasses a broad range of questions about institutional determinants of well-being and sustainability.  He co-edited (Island Press, 2007) and Ignition: What You Can Do to Fight Global Warming and Spark a Movement and Social Capital and Economic Development: Well-Being in Developing Countries (Edward Elgar Publications, 2002); has published articles in Economic Development and Cultural Change, The Journal of African Economies, The Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Rural Sociology, Society and Natural Resources, The Southern Economic Journal, The Vermont Law Review, World Bank Economic Review and other journals; and book chapters in volumes from Ashgate Press, The New England University Press, Oxford University Press, and Cambridge University Press.  More information about his research can be found on his c.v. and his website.

Jon has an AB in Anthropology from Harvard College, an MA in International Studies from Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Maryland. He and his wife Tracy Himmel Isham and their three daughters live in Cornwall VT.

Courses Taught

Course Description

Introductory Microeconomics
An introduction to the analysis of such microeconomic problems as price formation (the forces behind demand and supply), market structures from competitive to oligopolistic, distribution of income, and public policy options bearing on these problems. 3 hrs. lect.

Terms Taught

Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2022

Requirements

SOC

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Course Description

Special Topics in Environmental Economics
The objective of this seminar is that each student achieves fluency in a set of advanced concepts in environmental economics. The seminar is divided into two main sections. First, we introduce the core theory and policy implications of environmental economics. These include the economics of renewable and non-renewable resources, the theory of externalities and public goods, the Coase theorem, the Ostrom perspective; and sustainability. Second, we study selected topics including the promise and challenges of economic growth, the future of fossil fuels and renewables, and the imperative of climate justice. (ECON 0210 and (ECON 0255 or IPEC 0240 [formerly ECON 0240]) 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

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Course Description

Individual Special Project
If you choose to pursue an area that we do not offer or go in depth in an area already covered, we recommend the Individual Special Project option. These ECON 0500 proposals MUST be passed by the entire department and are to be submitted to the chair by the first Friday of fall and spring semester, respectively. The proposals should contain a specific description of the course contents, its goals, and the mechanisms by which goals are to be realized. It should also include a bibliography. According to the College Handbook, ECON 0500 projects are a privilege open to those students with advanced preparation and superior records in their fields. A student needs to have a 3.5 or higher G.P.A. in Economics courses taken at Middlebury in order to pursue an Individual Special Project. ECON 0500 does not count towards the major or minor requirements.

Terms Taught

Fall 2018, Winter 2019, 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

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. (crosslisted with PSCI 0211 Fall 2018 only)

Terms Taught

Fall 2022

Requirements

AMR, NOR, 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

Spring 2019, Spring 2021, Spring 2022

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

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Course Description

Fighting for Justice
How do people overcome injustice? In this course, we will study historic justice movements, including abolition and the fight against Jim Crow. We will then analyze two contemporary movements: the fights against mass incarceration and against climate change. After comparing and contrasting these fights with past movements and with each other, we will study ideas for accelerating the pursuit of justice in our time. Our reading will include the work of Frederick Douglass, Ella Baker, Bryan Stevenson, Michelle Alexander, Van Jones, and Mary Robinson. During our final two weeks, students will present their ideas for overcoming current forms of injustice. 3 hrs. sem.

Terms Taught

Fall 2019, Fall 2021

Requirements

CW, SOC

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Course Description

Independent Study
Approval Required

Terms Taught

Winter 2019, Winter 2020, Winter 2021, Winter 2022, Winter 2023

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Course Description

Love in Action
In this course we will study the power of love to effect social change. We will review historic and current episodes–including the Civil Rights Movement, post-Apartheid reconciliation in South Africa, and Black Lives Matter–to address longstanding injustice. We will learn from historic (e.g. John Lewis, James Baldwin) and contemporary (e.g., bell hooks) leaders who promote love as a ‘force more powerful’ and also study the limits of love in the pursuit of justice. During the course, members of the college community and external speakers will share their perspectives on the power and limits of love.

Terms Taught

Winter 2019, Winter 2021, Winter 2022

Requirements

SOC, WTR

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Course Description

Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Terms Taught

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

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