Doreen Stabinsky

Doreen Stabinsky
207-801-5710 |

Dr. Doreen Stabinsky is Professor of Global Environmental Politics, joining the faculty in 2001. She actively researches and writes about the impacts of climate change on agriculture and food security, and on the emerging issue of loss and damage from slow onset impacts of climate change. She also serves as advisor to a number of governments and international NGOs on issues related to agriculture and loss and damage in ongoing negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Some of her recent publications include “Agriculture and climate change – state of play in the UNFCCC negotiations” and “Ecological agriculture, climate resilience, and a roadmap to get there,” co-authored by Lim Li Ching, both published by the Third World Network, and the report “Tackling the limits to adaptation: an international framework to address ‘loss and damage’ from climate change impacts,” published by ActionAid, CARE International, and WWF. Doreen also closely follows international negotiations on biosafety and is a current member of the Ad Hoc Technical Expert Group on Risk Assessment and Risk Management under the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety. She has represented various NGOs and the College of the Atlantic in numerous intergovernmental forums, including the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, and the World Trade Organization. She has also held positions with and advised non-governmental organizations on topics related to genetic engineering and agriculture, including ten years as an agriculture campaigner with Greenpeace. She is co-editor, with Stephen Brush, of the book Valuing local knowledge: indigenous people and intellectual property rights. Doreen studied economics at the undergraduate level and has a Ph.D. in genetics from the University of California at Davis.

B.A. Economics, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, PA, 1982
Post-baccalaureate study, Biology, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA 1983-1986
Ph.D. Genetics, University of California, Davis 1996

Courses Taught

HS2051Agriculture and Biotechnology

This course will provide an introduction to global issues in agriculture today, with an emphasis on the controversies surrounding the use of genetic engineering in agriculture.  We start with a careful study of critical issues facing agriculturalists and, indeed, all of us, to give students a broad overview of food production and agriculture globally.  In the first half of the course, we will consider: the Green Revolution and technological developments over the last half-century; global trade in agriculture and impacts of major free trade agreements; famine, food aid, and food sovereignty; and neo-Malthusian perspectives on food production and critiques of those perspectives. In the second half of the course, we turn our attention to the science and politics of the new genetic technologies and potential social, economic, and ecological impacts of their use in agriculture.  We will examine socio-political and ecological problems associated with transgenic soy production in South America and cotton production in India and China.  We will also explore problems of contamination resulting from imports of transgenic maize into Mexico and canola exports from Canada to Japan.  To conclude the course we will consider strategies of resistance throughout the world to the introduction of genetically engineered crops.   Evaluation will be based on three written problem sets (8-10 pages each) and class participation.

Level:  Introductory/Intermediate.  Prerequisites: none.  Class limit: 20.  Lab fee: $10.00.  Meets the following degree requirements: HS

HS786Climate Justice

Climate change is one of the largest and most difficult challenges faced by contemporary societies. The challenge has multiple facets: environmental, social, political, economic - each with its own complexities. This course focuses primarily on the social, political and economic components of the climate problem, framed by the concept of climate justice. In the introductory section of the course students are introduced to basic conceptions of justice, the latest findings of climate science and possible impacts on regional scales, as well as the ongoing intergovernmental climate negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The main body of the course is dedicated to understanding the concept and implementation of climate justice: how the costs of climate change impacts and efforts to address climate change could or should be distributed between rich and poor, global north and global south, and what are the possible means whereby those costs might be collectively addressed through an intergovernmental agreement. Students will be evaluated based on regular quizzes, several short papers, class participation, and a final synthetic paper or project. Level: Introductory. Lab fee: $10. *HS*

HS4038Current Topics in Climate Politics: Warsaw COP19

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is the principal intergovernmental treaty under which multilateral action on climate change is governed. The main goal of the course is to provide an opportunity for students at all levels to deepen their knowledge of the highly complex UNFCCC regime and climate politics at the global level. The course will provide an introduction to a range of current topics under negotiation in the UNFCCC process, such as market mechanisms or loss and damage, through lectures and readings of primary negotiating texts. Exact topics covered will vary from term to term, based on the current issues under negotiation. Students will also work to develop in-depth historical and content knowledge on one or more issues addressed under the regime that are of personal interest. Evaluation is based on active participation in class discussions and two presentations (mid-term and final) on a topic of the student's choosing.

The course is specifically designed to prepare students to participate on the COA delegation to the UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP), held at the end of the term. However, participation at the COP is not required to enroll in the course. The course may be taken multiple times for credit.

Level: Intermediate/Advanced. Prerequisites: none.  Class limit:?? Lab fee: none. Meets the following degree requirements: HS

HS3016Global Environmental Politics: Theory and Practice

This course will cover the politics and policy of regional and global environmental issues, including many of the major environmental treaties that have been negotiated to date (Montreal Protocol, Framework Convention on Climate Change, Convention on Biological Diversity). Students will gain both practical and theoretical understandings of how treaties are negotiated and implemented, through case studies of the climate change convention and the Cartagena protocol on biosafety. We will draw on both mainstream and critical theories of international relations when analyzing these negotiations. Students will become familiar with the range of political stances on different treaties of various nations and blocs, and the political, economic, cultural, and scientific reasons for diverging and converging views. We will pay special attention to the growing role played by non-governmental organizations in global environmental politics. We will conclude the course with discussions of some current controversial areas in international environmental politics.

Level: Intermediate.  Class limit: 15.  Lab Fee $10.00   Meets the following degree requirements: HS

HS858Global Politics of Sustainable Development: 20 yrs after Rio

The Earth Summit that took place in Rio in 1992 defined the following two decades of global cooperation on environment and development issues. This course serves to review the history of those two decades and prepare students to be active participants in the UN review conference to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012. Students will read primary documents from the original conference and the 10-year review conference (the World Summit on Sustainable Development), and preparatory documents for the upcoming summit. They will examine positions of the main country blocs and the contributions of major UN specialized agencies (UN Food and Agriculture Organization, UN Development Program and UN Environment Program). A central axis for study and analysis of documents and positions will be the political economy of sustainable development. Evaluation will be based on class discussions, weekly written summaries of information contained in readings, and a final presentation or analytical paper on a topic of their choosing. Course level: Introductory/Intermediate. Prerequisites: none. Class limit: 15. Lab fee: none. *HS*

HS821International Financial Institutions

International financial institutions (IFI) such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the regional development banks mobilize significant resources for both public and private sector investment in developing countries. Beyond this central role in lending and grant making to developing countries, the Global Environment Facility of the World Bank serves as the financial mechanism for major environmental treaties, including the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. What exactly are these institutions - how do they operate and who controls them? Why were they created and how have they come to be so powerful? The course will examine the history of the institutions, their governance structures, and their mechanisms of operation. Special attention will be paid to their role in the debt crisis and the subsequent era of structural adjustment lending, civil society critiques of the environmental and social impacts of bank lending, and the role and operation of the Global Environment Facility as financial mechanism for the environmental conventions. Readings will include primary documents of the IFIs themselves as well as decisions of the governing bodies of the UN conventions. We will also read both academic and civil society analyses and critiques of IFI lending. Evaluation will be based on class discussion as well as several problem sets assigned throughout the term and a final analytical paper. Level: Intermediate/advanced. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Students should have course background in international politics and/or economics. Class limit: 15. Lab fee: $10. *HS*

HS1015Introduction to Global Politics

This is an introductory level course that will expose students to basic concepts and controversies in international politics and serve as background for more advanced work in the area of international studies.  Through historical readings and current events discussions we will answer questions fundamental to understanding global politics today, such as:  What are the different roles that nation-states and non-governmental organizations play in international politics?  How important are various international institutions (the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund ) in shaping the global political landscape?   What exactly is civil society? Inequity defines many political relationships between actors in the global system:  between developed and developing countries; between the rich and poor within those countries; between autonomous political groups and the nation-states in which they reside.  To more deeply understand these relationships, we will examine some of the processes that have led to inequities in the current world political economy, touching on such topics as:  colonialism and national liberation movements of the 20th century, the debt crisis, and the formalization of the international trading system.  We will consider the topics from a variety of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, including political ecology, international political economy, and economic geography. Evaluation will be based on participation in class discussions, several short and long papers written over the course of the term, and a final project and its presentation to the class.

Level: Introductory.  Lab fee: $20.  Meets the following degree requirements: HS

HS1016Practical Activism

In this course, students will gain practical experience and skills to prepare them to work in advocacy positions for environmental and/or social justice organizations.  Through project-based work, we will pay attention to developing such skills as:  interacting with the media; interpreting technical information and report writing; lobbying and other political work; grant-writing and other types of fundraising; and non-profit administration and management, including strategic planning, program development, board management, and non-profit legal issues.  Student interest will determine the exact topics covered over the term. To begin, we will survey models of organizational structure, from small grassroots, single-issue groups, to large, international, multi-issue organizations.  We will also survey various modes of operation, critically analyzing different strategies, tactics, and types of activist/advocacy campaigns, including:  non-violent direct action, student organizing campaigns, consumer boycotts, legislative campaigns, and voter initiatives. Local professionals will join us throughout the course to provide expert input on various topics, and to inform students about the types of jobs available in environmental advocacy and the range of skills needed for each.  There will be a large emphasis placed on hands-on work on student-defined projects.  Students will be evaluated based on class participation as well as completion of course projects.

Level: Introductory.  Lab fee: $30. Class limit 15.  Meets the following degree requirements: HS

HS4030Practicum in Environmental Diplomacy

In this course, students will learn about four different international environmental regimes -- the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, the Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety, the Committee on World Food Security, and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change -- through comparative classroom study and attendance at formal negotiating sessions. Each student will choose to focus their work during the term on one of the four bodies. They will be responsible for teaching their classmates about the types of problems addressed by the body and the politics surrounding those problems as well as the basic governance structures that shape the regime. Through comparative analysis of the four regimes, students will also examine common issues in global environmental governance, such as implementation and compliance, finance, capacity building, technology transfer, and mechanisms for civil society engagement. Work in the class will include a general presentation to the class on the basic elements of the regime and another presentation on the politics of a specific issue to be addressed by the body during its meeting. Each student will attend a negotiating session of their chosen regime and will write daily analytical blog postings while at the meeting. Students will be evaluated based on their two presentations, blog posts and contribution to the collective learning of the class through the term-long comparative analysis of the four regimes.

Level: Intermediate/Advanced.  Prerequisites: Prior coursework in global politics, permission of instructor. Lab fee: none. Meets the following degree requirements: HS

HS748The Road To Copenhagen

In December 2009, representatives of the world?s governments, as well as business, labor, religious, environmental, and youth leaders will convene in Copenhagen, Denmark, for the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The event is significant, as government negotiators will likely be hammering out the final wording of an agreement on national and international actions to address the most serious environmental threat of our time: climate change. In this seminar-style course, students will prepare themselves to be part of this historic gathering. Using the actual negotiating texts, students will become familiar with the most important issues under negotiation. Each student, alone or in pairs, will also be responsible for becoming the class expert(s) on at least one of the issues ? understanding the negotiating history, the range of political positions being expressed in the negotiations, and the technical specifics of the various proposals being considered. Students will share their expertise throughout the term with the entire class through one or more formal presentations. Some attention will also be given throughout the term to the contributions of various non-governmental constituencies ? in particular, business, environmental NGOs, and youth ? to the global politics of climate change, examining how, and how effectively, they engage in the process to enable a meaningful outcome to the governmental negotiations that will culminate at the summit in Copenhagen. Students will be evaluated based on participation in class discussions, their formal in-class presentations, as well as contributions to a collective public blog that will document their experiences at the meeting in Copenhagen. Course level: Intermediate/Advanced. Pre-requisites: Signature of instructor. Lab fee: $10.

HS851Tutorial: Advanced Climate Policy


HS912Tutorial: FAO Committee on World Food Security

The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a central institution for international governance of food security issues. This tutorial on the CFS will introduce the students to its history, structure, form and function. Students will learn about the mechanisms of multilateral governance of food security by the CFS through examination of primary official documents of the FAO, the World Food Program, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and Bioversity International, as well as primary texts of non-governmental organizations. The course will focus on both theory and practice: learning practical skills to participate in intergovernmental negotiations in the context of food security issues, as well as developing a theoretical understanding of the contested nature of the CFS space: what is the contest, how the space is defined (formally and discursively), how different actors in the space use it, and to what outcome. Evaluation will be based on class discussion, a briefing paper developed on a CFS agenda item, and a final synthetic paper on a topic of interest. The course is designed to enable participation by students in the CFS meeting in Rome, 7-11 October, 2013, although the course can be taken for credit without travel to Rome.

Level: Intermediate-Advanced. Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.  Class limit: 6.  Lab fee: none.