Virginia Eason Weinmann '51 Professor of Government and Environmental Studies
Director of the Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment
Joined Connecticut College: 2001
On sabbatical Spring 2015
A.B., Bryn Mawr; M.A., Harvard; M.A., The Johns Hopkins University; Ph.D., University of California-Berkeley
International environmental justice
International environmental politics
Comparative environmental activism and politics
Jane Dawson continues to conduct ambitious global study, examining in greater detail how environmentalism may be linked to a variety of subgroup identities across a broad spectrum of political settings and the implications of this linkage for the achievement of domestic and international environmental policy objectives.
To this end, in 2007 she was a participant in a SIT Faculty Development Program on The Mekong Delta: Natural and Cultural Ecology, visited the College's SATA Vietnam program in Hanoi, and developed courses to incorporate her research.
Professor Dawson's courses include Environmental Activism and Its Impact Around the Globe (GOV/ES/SS 251); International Environmental Cooperation (GOV/ES 326) and Environmental Studies as a Social Science (ES 111). She developed a new freshman seminar, Environmental Challenges and Politics in the Developing World (FYS 145), in which students traced commodities back to their sources in developing countries and considered the environmental and social impacts of first-world consumption practices. She also teaches a senior seminar on global environmental justice (ES/GOV 494u).
She serves as faculty adviser for government, international relations and environmental studies majors. She also supervises seniors' integrative projects for the College's interdisciplinary centers and student honors theses, such as "Climate Change and the Clean Development Mechanism," "Globalization and African Attitudes Toward GMOs: The Cases of Kenya and Zambia," and "An Exploration of Ecotourism Development in Madagascar."
She is Director of the College's Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment.
Her dissertation,"Social Mobilization in Post-Leninist Societies: The Rise and Fall of the Anti-Nuclear Power Movement in the USSR," is a fascinating study of the emergence of environmental activism in the USSR in the Gorbachev period, which offers an intriguing explanation of how and why it ultimately took the form of nationalist mobilization against Soviet rule. The dissertation was published as a book titled Eco-Nationalism: Antinuclear Activism and National Identity in Russian, Lithuania, and Ukraine, and was awarded the 1997 Marshall Shulman Book Prize.
In addition to this book, she has published a number of articles in refereed journals, and has been an active presenter and participant at professional conferences.
Recent publications, resulting from her work with a co-researcher from University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, Robert Darst, on a joint project funded by the National Council for East European and Eurasian Research:
- "Meeting the Challenge of Permanent Nuclear Waste Disposal in an Expanding Europe: Transparency, Trust, and Democracy," Environmental Politics 15, n. 3 (Fall 2006), coauthored with R. Darst.
- “Baptists and Bootleggers, Once Removed: The Politics of Nuclear Waste Internalization in the EU, accepted for publication in Global Environmental Politics 8, n. 2 (2008), coauthored with R. Darst.
- In progress: “The German Nuclear Waste Disposal Debacle: A Comparison of Waste Siting Processes in Germany, Sweden, and Finland,” with R. Darst.
Professor Dawson was formerly an Associate Professor of Political Science and Associate Director of the Russian and East European Studies Program at the University of Oregon. Prior to that, she held a tenure-track position in the political science department at Wellesley College. She was awarded the William Piche Prize in recognition of her teaching and research record.