John Meyer


John M. Meyer
(707) 826-4497
FH 138
Office Hours: 
On sabbatical until fall 2021
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison

After college, I worked as a political organizer in Colorado, Washington D.C., and Ohio. The work was fulfilling, but I wanted to develop a broader perspective on social and political change and where citizen activism might take us. This led me to pursue a Ph.D. and an academic career.

Throughout my career I’ve been motivated by the conviction that our human relationship with the more-than-human world is vitally important to our social and political values (and vice versa). As a result, I’ve immersed myself in the study of political theory and environmental ideas. At Humboldt, I am privileged to work in a place where many students and fellow faculty share my passions.

My recent research focuses on ways in which environmental concerns can become the basis for effective social criticism. This has led me in several directions, including a critical analysis of the liberal concept of property; reflection upon the possibilities for — and limitations of — a democratic conception of sacrifice; and the tension between populist and paternalist appeals in environmental argument. I’ve written a book on some of these themes entitled Engaging the Everyday: Environmental Social Criticism and the Resonance Dilemma, published in Spring 2015. I’ve written and edited other books, and published articles, essays, and reviews in both academic journals and political magazines. I’ve also been active in cultivating an international network of scholars who have similar interests; we’ve created a listserv, an annual academic workshop, and working group on “environmental political theory.”

I was the founding coordinator of the interdisciplinary M.A. program in Environment and Community (2000-2004), have served as the advisor for the Campus Center for Appropriate Technology (CCAT), facilitated the creation of a new environmental studies major, and have served on the university’s sustainability steering committee. I am currently a representative on the University Senate.

I teach in two overlapping areas: political ideas and the politics of environmental sustainability. My courses include Introduction to Political TheoryEnvironmental PoliticsContemporary Political TheoryRadical Political ThoughtPolitics of Sustainability, and seminars on a variety of themes including property, democracy, the politics of everyday life, and environmental political theory. I am also active in Humboldt’s interdisciplinary programs on Environment and Community and Environmental Studies.

Areas of Interest: 

Political theory and ideas, environmental political theory, politics of sustainability, democratic theory, everyday politics, populism.

To schedule online zoom appointments during my existing office hours:

Courses Taught: 
PSCI 220 Introduction to Political Theory
PSCI 306 Environmental Politics
PSCI 323 Contemporary Political Theory
PSCI 327 Radical Political Thought
PSCI 373 Politics of Sustainability
PSCI 485 Capstone Seminar: Property and Politics
PSCI 485 Capstone Seminar: Democracy
PSCI 485 Capstone Seminar: Politics of Everyday Life
EC 620 Politics of Sustainability