Political Economy, Global Studies, and Environmental Justice

Investigate the vital political, economic, ecological, and social issues of the early 21st century. Learn about their history and development, their present manifestation, and envision alternatives.

Combining a strong academic focus with opportunities for independent research, community-based learning, and study abroad, this Path emphasizes the careful study of contemporary issues along with hands-on work so you can learn what can be done to make a difference and create your impact at the same time.

Major themes

You will study the role of power in determining how the economy and society work, for whom they work, and with what ecological consequences. Social movements for change are a primary focus.

Some major themes you will engage with in programs on this Path include:

  • Climate change
  • Colonialism
  • Ecological transformations
  • Economic and environmental inequality
  • Imperialism
  • Borders and migration 
  • Nationalism and nation-states
  • Neoliberal globalization
  • Mass incarceration and liberation education
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Revolutions
  • Social classes and social movements

A broad interdisciplinary experience

This Path brings together many areas of study. Most programs are team-taught by faculty from different disciplines. 

Check out some recent and upcoming examples of Evergreen’s radical approach to breaking down traditional academic boundaries:  

Decolonizing Climate Justice (Spring 2023) 

Faculty:

Kristina Ackley (Native American studies)
Shangrila Joshi (climate justice, climate policy and politics, political ecology, environment and development) 

Food Systems, Human Health, and the Environment (Fall 2022) 

Faculty

Frederica Bowcutt (botany, ecology, environmental history)
Prita Lal (food justice, social movements, race/gender/class inequality, Black studies) 

Introduction to Environmental Studies: Global Climate Change (Fall 2022, and repeated Winter 2023) 

Faculty:

Gerardo Chin-Leo (oceanography, marine biology)
Shangrila Joshi (climate justice, climate policy and politics, political ecology, environment and development

Reclaiming the Commons: Black, White, and Indigenous Peoples Reconstructing Community (Spring 2023) 

Faculty: 

Zoltan Grossman (geography, Native American studies)
Prita Lal (food justice, social movements, race/gender/class inequality, Black studies

Taking Back Empire: Political Economy, Militarism, and Decolonial Movements (Fall 2022/Winter 2023) 

Faculty: 

Savvina Chowdhury (feminist economics)
Jon Davies (Education)
Zoltan Grossman (
geography, Native American studies) 

Highlights of this Path

Case studies

One of the most effective ways to understand how our society works is to learn about specific issues and the conditions that created them. You’ll get to study contemporary issues in a historical context. With the support of your faculty, you’ll have the freedom to dive deep into a topic you’re passionate about and then showcase your knowledge to your learning community.

Eyes on the future

Faculty and staff on this Path are deeply invested in your future and helping you pursue what you’re passionate about. You’ll develop one-on-one relationships with your faculty, learn from their expertise, and make connections that could launch your career.

Whether you’re interested in education, climate change, government work, activism, or other fields and avocations related to this Path, you’ll find the freedom and support you need to pursue your goals after graduation.

Movements for equality and change

Get a close look at the systems that create societal disparities like income inequality and structural racism. Work directly with incarcerated students. Study the theories, histories, and practices of social movements for change.

A historically grounded, global perspective

Discover how our political and economic systems came to function the way they do now. Develop a historically-grounded understanding of practices and ideologies from liberalism to populism, from neoliberalism to fascism, and from anarchism to socialism. Explore the rise and spread of capitalism and its relationship to the environment.

Responsible economics

Learn micro and macroeconomics in historical contexts along with alternative approaches. Envision economic systems that value a healthy planet.

Study abroad

The study abroad options on this Path are world-class learning opportunities. Travel with a tight-knit community to explore the politics, cultures, and histories of people around the world. 

Programs on this Path have traveled to: 

  • Mexico
  • Nepal
  • Egypt
  • Jordan
  • Turkey
  • Morocco

Upcoming study abroad opportunities in this Path

Borders, Walls and Refugees in the Age of Climate Change 

Faculty: 

Steve Niva (international politics, political science, Middle East studies).

This program travels to Morocco in Spring '23.

Internships and volunteer opportunities

You’ll have lots of opportunities to get out of the classroom and into the community on this Path. With faculty support for internships and independent learning contracts (ILCs) you can earn credit for hands-on experiences that will set you up for success after college.

The Center for Community Based Learning (CCBLA) links you with community organizations working on different issues related to this Path. You can find internships or volunteer opportunities to grow a range of skills from grant writing and ethnography to community organizing and social work.

Faculty on this Path work closely with Evergreen’s Center for Climate Action and Sustainability to open up new opportunities for students inside and outside the classroom.

Gateways for Incarcerated Youth

The Gateways for Incarcerated Youth program takes you on a journey to create change through education. You’ll work directly with youth at a local detention center, learn to see the world through their lens, and find out what you can do to break the cycle of incarceration, violence, and recidivism.

Learn more about Gateways for Incarcerated Youth.

The Flaming Eggplant Café

For over ten years, the Flaming Eggplant was a student-run collective café that served non-corporate, ethically-sourced, and socially just food. It has also served as an incubator for cooperative development in our region.  

You'll have the opportunity to contribute to the future visions of the Flaming Eggplant through student-run cooperative projects at the café, oral histories with former collective members, and re-creating a welcoming café space that brings the campus community together. 

A real learning community

Seminar discussions are part of how Evergreen builds an inclusive learning community. You’ll find yourself in honest conversation with people from different backgrounds and forge relationships based on mutual respect.

An inclusive approach

You won’t only study historical and current issues from a mainstream perspective. Programs on this Path make a point to bring diverse voices into the curriculum, so you get a broader understanding of how different people are affected by the systems we live with.

This Path can prepare you for careers in

  • Cooperatives and other non-profit organizations
  • Diplomacy and foreign policy
  • Environmental justice
  • Higher education
  • Journalism
  • Law
  • Local and regional politics
  • Social work
  • Teaching K–12

Graduate school opportunities beyond this Path

  • Economics
  • Education
  • Environmental studies
  • Feminist studies
  • History
  • International studies
  • Labor studies
  • Law School
  • Political ecology
  • Political economy
  • Political science
  • Public policy
  • Science and technology studies
  • Social work
  • Sociology
Faculty on this Path
Title Expertise
Beck, Stephen philosophy
Blewett, Lori communication
Bowcutt, Frederica botany, ecology, environmental history
Bridges, George
Buxbaum, Stephen political economy, community development and planning
Chowdhury, Savvina feminist economics
Crowley, Lin media and Chinese studies
Foucrier, Tamsin
Gaul, Karen anthropology
Grossman, Zoltan geography, Native American studies
Joshi, Shangrila climate justice, climate policy and politics, political ecology, environment and development
Kennedy, Cynthia leadership
Lal, Prita food justice, social movements, race/gender/class inequality, Black studies
Levenda, Anthony
McMillin, Paul historical sociology, information studies
Niva, Steven international politics, political science, Middle East studies
Prouty, Carolyn health science, public health, bioethics
Rognas, Liza American history, information resources and library science
Saliba, Therese international feminism, Middle East studies, English
Steinhoff, Eirik English
Vavrus, Michael education, history, political economy
Womeldorff, Thomas (Tom) economics
Catalog Offerings for 2021-22
Title Paths Class Standing Credits
American Frontiers: Homelands and Borderlands
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
8, 16
Botany: Plants and People
  • Junior
  • Senior
12
Carrying Home: Latinx Worlds, Culture, and Public Health
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Climate Foundations: Political Ecology and Political Economy
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Community-Based Learning: Working in Community
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
12, 16
Cultivating Justice: Food, Feminism, and Community Psychology
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
12, 16
Democracy or Empire in U.S. Foreign Policy: Contending Visions
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Environmental Psychology and Public Health: Linking Health, Social, and Environmental Justice
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
12, 16
Fisheries in the Pacific Northwest: Biology and Political Ecology
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Gateways for Incarcerated Youth
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Introduction and History of Cooperatives
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
4
Introduction to Environmental Studies: River Resources
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Microeconomics and Markets
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Political Economy of Fascist Politics: Consequences and Resistance
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
U.S. Foreign Policy and the War on Terror
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
What Unions Do
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
8
Catalog Offerings for 2022-23
Title Paths Class Standing Credits
Borders, Walls and Refugees in the Age of Climate Change
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Botany: Plants and People
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Branching Out: An Ethnobotanical Garden in Community
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
8, 12
Business Finance and Management in Action: How to Start and Operate Financially Successful Enterprises
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
4, 8
Business Finance and Management: Intermediate
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
4, 8
Climate Policy and Action: Internship
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
8
Climate Policy and Action: Policy Analysis and Advocacy
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
8
Climate Policy and Action: Science and Policy Basics
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
8
Decolonizing Climate Justice
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Food Systems, Human Health, and the Environment
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
14
Gateways for Incarcerated Youth
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Human/Animal/Anthropocene: Psychology and Anthropology
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Introduction to Environmental Studies: Global Climate Change
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
14
Introduction to Environmental Studies: Global Climate Change
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
14
Marx's Capital: Capital, Crypto-, and the Mystery of Money
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
12, 16
Political Economy of Fascist Politics: Consequences and Resistance
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Reclaiming the Commons: Black, White, and Indigenous Peoples Reconstructing Community
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Taking Back Empire: Political Economy, Militarism, and Decolonial Movements
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Tend & Tell: Developing an Ethnobotanical Garden
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
8, 12
Tend & Tell: Interpreting an Ethnobotanical Garden
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
8, 12
Washington State Legislative Internships
  • Junior
  • Senior
16
Writing, Communication, and Leadership for the Common Good: Creating Change
  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior
8, 12

Programs planned 2021-25

Foundational

  • Introduction to Environmental Studies
  • Political Economy and Social Movements
  • Political Economy and Climate Justice
  • Environmental Justice

Advanced

  • Advanced Political Economy
  • Botany: Plants and People
  • Intermediate Macroeconomics
  • Political Ecology: Politics of Nature

Fields of Study related to this Path