Laurie Adkin, PhD, MA, BA Hons
Area of Study / Keywords
political ecology Alberta Canada; European politics
Laurie Adkin grew up in Ontario and Saskatchewan, completed graduate studies in Ontario, and held a post-doctoral position in France before coming to Alberta in 1991.
She received her doctorate in Political Studies from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Her first field of specialization (through her BA Hons., MA, and Ph.D. programs) was the Comparative Politics of Developing Societies, with area studies including Latin America and East Africa. Her second field was the Comparative Politics of Industrialized Societies, with area specializations in British and Italian politics. At the doctoral level she made a research shift to the study of social movements in the context of the advanced capitalist societies of Europe and North America. By tutoring in the Women’s Studies Program at Queen’s University, and through various research project choices, she also studied feminist theory.
From January 1990 to June 1991 she was a post-doctoral fellow at the Centre de Recherches en Sciences Sociales de Travail, Université de Paris XI, Paris, France. In 1991 she was hired at the University of Alberta, where she is currently a Professor in the Department of Political Science, Faculty of Arts. From January to May 1998, she was a Visiting Professor at the Centre d’Analyse et d’Intervention Sociologiques, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris, France. Her research in France has studied the relations between the labour movement and the anti-nuclear movement as well as the relationship of the French Green Party (Les Verts) with social movements.
Dr. Adkin currently teaches primarily in the fields of Comparative Politics (European politics, social movements, populist far right parties) and Canadian Politics (political ecology of Alberta; political economy of climate change policy and public consultations in Alberta and Canada). She has also taught feminist theory (a course cross-listed with the Department of Gender and Women's Studies) and regularly offers a course on Political Ecology that is part of the requirements for the interdisciplinary Environmental Studies BA program. (This program is offered jointly by the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences.) She is a strong supporter of interdisciplinary studies and research.
Dr. Adkin’s areas of research include political ecology, climate change policy, and democratic theory. However, she has also published work on social movement theory, ecology and political economy, and comparative family policy. Recent research has addressed (1) the implications of federal and provincial “innovation” priorities for knowledge production and the transition to a post-carbon economy, focussing on universities in Alberta, and (2) the restructuring of higher education in Alberta under the UCP government. This work has taken the form of major reports published by the Parkland Institute in 2020 and 2022, as well as a book chapter, blogs, op eds, and presentations.
2015- 2022 Core member of the Mapping Corporate Power (SSHRC Partnership Grant) project, based at the University of Victoria, BC, and involving scholars from multiple universities and four policy think-tanks.
RePublicU (Critical University Studies) (2015-2016)
Citizen and Stakeholder Roles in Public Consultations (2011-2014)
Alberta Climate Dialogue (2010-2014)
FOR A LIST OF PUBLICATIONS PLEASE REFER TO THE CV
CURRENT COURSES AND COURSE DESCRIPTIONS
Pol S 333 Ecology and Politics Fall 2022 Tu/Th 11:00-12:20
Course Description: Ecology and Politics surveys political framings of global and local ecological crises, and critically examines predominant approaches to resolving these crises. The course begins with an introduction to political ecology as an integrated, multi-scalar theoretical framework. The key approaches utilized by political ecologists are political economy and discourse analysis. John Dryzek’s book, Politics of the Earth, provides the backbone of our study of environmental discourses, but this is supplemented by the work of other authors, which brings into play Indigenous knowledge, environmental justice movements, and feminist historical analysis of the nexus between capitalism, patriarchy, and science (Merchant’s The Death of Nature). Using political economy, we ask which social, economic, and political interests underpin policy approaches to environmental crises. What are the implications of these policies for socio-ecological futures? If explanations and strategies for dealing with the climate breakdown conflict, how do we choose among them? Who is responsible to do what?
Prerequisites for Pol. S. 333: The prerequisite for this course is one of Pol S 230, 240, 235, or consent of instructor. This course is not designed for 1st and 2nd year students. An introductory-level background in political theory and political economy is necessary to comprehend the material in this course. Comparable prerequisites from other faculties (e.g., the ENCS programme in ALES) will be considered. If requesting permission to register, please email the instructor a copy of your grades transcript. At the request of the instructor, the Department may cancel your registration if you do not have the required course prerequisites.
Pol S 470/540 Green Transition in Canada Fall 2022 Wed 13:00-15:50
Course description: This course takes a critical political economy approach to understanding both the limitations of current policy approaches to the climate crisis (and related environmental crises) and the case for more transformative approaches. Students are introduced to concepts such as “fossil capitalism,” “petro-state politics,” and “climate capitalism” and to the range of actors that are engaged in climate policy battles in the Canadian context. They will have an opportunity to explore proposals for deep decarbonization, democratization, and decolonization that have been largely outside the framework of mainstream climate policy but that have support from climate justice movements and experts in multiple fields related to ecological sustainability.
Prerequisites: This course has been designed for fourth-year students who have a background in political economy, environmental studies, or critical policy studies in another field. It is cross-listed with a graduate course (Pol S 540). It is recommended that undergraduate students have completed at least one third-year political science or sociology course with political economy content before taking Pol S 470. An excellent prerequisite for 470 is Pol S 333 Ecology and Politics.
- October 20, 2022: (discussant) Public Forum on the Future of University Governance, University of Alberta. Event organized by the Kule Institute Climate Resilience Scholars. Link to video-recording: https://vimeo.com/763626928
- October 18, 2022: “How Alberta’s post-secondary schools are funded and run needs to change,” Edmonton Journal.
- May 31, 2022: Release of Higher Education: Corporate or Public? The UCP’s Restructuring of Post-Secondary Education in Alberta. Edmonton: Parkland Institute and Corporate Mapping Project.
- March 28, 2022: Oral testimony before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources related to the committee's study of the proposed cap on oil and gas sector emissions in Canada. A Cap on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the Oil and Gas Sector. Written brief and oral testimony for the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources, Parliament of Canada, March 28, 2022. https://www.ourcommons.ca/DocumentViewer/en/44-1/RNNR/meeting-13/evidence
- March 15, 2022: “Retelling the Story of the UCP Government’s Budget and its Meaning for Post-Secondary Education in Alberta.” Parkland Institute blog.
- January 2022: Signatory to letter from 400+ Canadian academics to the Minister of Finance, Chrystia Freeland, concerning a proposed tax credit for oil and gas corporations for R&D on CCS/CCUS.
- September 1, 2021: The Assault on Higher Education,” Alberta Views.
- March 2, 2021 guest on the Ryan Jespersen podcast, "Real Talk," discussing the impacts of UCP government budget cuts to Alberta universities.
- February 11, 2021 guest on Blue Sky, CBC Radio Saskatchewan. Topic: “How much influence does the oil and gas industry have in Saskatchewan?”
- January 21, 2021 speaker for the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs, addressing innovation policy and the structuring of research at Alberta universities.
- January 13, 2021 written submission to the federal/provincial joint review panel inquiry on the proposed Benga Mining Ltd. coal strip-mine on Grassy Mountain
- January 5, 2021 guest on the Ryan Jespersen podcast about the crisis of legitimacy facing the Kenney government.
- December 11, 2020 "Government take-over of post-secondary education in Alberta," Parkland Institute blog
- October 2020 Adkin interviewed about ecological political economy, for the EcoPolitics Podcast, episode 11.
- September 16, 2020 panelist, "The Politics of Academic Restructuring at the University of Alberta."
- September 18, 2020 panelist, Climate Strike Canada: Just Recovery Teach-in
- September 13, 2020 “The University of Alberta’s Commitments to Dismantling Racism,” blog on www.caua.ca,
- June 20, 2020 guest on the Ryan Jespersen radio show, discussing research funding to Alberta universities.
- August 25, 2020 “Accounting Questions,” Blog post, Arts Squared.
- July 10, 2020 "Cronyism, patronage, and destruction of democratic rights mark Kenney's rule by decree," with Ricardo Acuña, National Observer.
- July 2020: "Should we bail out the oil and gas industry?" Dialogue published in the July 2020 issue of Alberta Views
- March 25, 2020: Open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau from 685 Canadian academics on directions for post-COVID-19 economic development (originator of the letter).
- March 13, 2020 “The Covid-19 Pandemic and the Deepening Climate Crisis,” Blog post, www.caua.ca.
- March 9, 2020: Alberta budget post-mortem, University of Alberta.
- February 1, 2020: Sustainability in Academia, panel discussion at the Students' Sustainability Summit, University of Alberta.
- January 2020: "The Limits of Capitalism," The Bullet.
- April 2019 interview with the Sustainability Council, University of Alberta.
- Defending Alberta--at what cost? podcast September 2019 Panel Discussion
This course examines different approaches to understanding the links between politics, society and ecology. Prerequisites: One of POL S 235 (or 230 or 240) or Department consent.
Selected topics of current interest in comparative politics and government. A variable content course, which may be repeated if topics vary. Prerequisite: One of POL S 235 (or 230 or 240) or Department consent.
Research - Climate Change Policy and Environmental Regulation in Alberta
This work examines a range of drivers of Alberta’s “climate change” policy since the 1990s, including: government-initiated public consultations and public opinion, international climate change negotiations and agreements, policy and political developments in the United States, policy and political developments at the federal level in Canada, political-economic developments in Alberta, corporate, environmental, indigenous organizations’ campaigning/influence, and climate science. The findings are that climate change policy in Alberta has been principally an adjunct to the government’s prioritization of energy sector development, and that its formation has been driven by developments and pressures that are external to the province. Selected research products include:
- Adkin, Laurie E. “Extraction First: the UCP Government’s Anti-Environmental Policies,” in Trevor Harrison and Ricardo Acuna, eds., Anger and Angst: Jason Kenney’s Legacy and Alberta’s Right. Montreal: Black Rose Books, April 2023.
- Adkin, Laurie E. "A Cap on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the Oil and Gas Sector." Written brief and oral testimony for the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources, Parliament of Canada, March 24, 2022.
- Adkin, Laurie E. “Technology innovation as a response to climate change: The case of the Climate Change Emissions Management Corporation of Alberta.” Review of Policy Research vol. 36, no. 5 (2019). E-published July 5, 2019.
- “Resources and Directions for Green Transition in Alberta,” presentation to the Financial Management Institute, Edmonton, 5 October 2018.
- “Climate Change and Energy Policy in Alberta,” presentation to the Symposium on Public Policy in Alberta, University of Alberta, Edmonton, July 10, 2017.
- Adkin, Laurie E. “Crossroads in Alberta: Climate Capitalism or Ecological Democracy.” Socialist Studies vol. 12, no. 1 (Spring 2017), 2-31.
- Adkin, Laurie E., Lori Hanson, David Kahane, John Parkins, and Steve Patten, “Can public engagement democratize environmental policymaking in a resource-dependent state? Comparative case studies from Alberta, Canada,” Environmental Politics vol. 26, no. 2 (2017). Published online: 27 Oct 2016.
- "Making Climate Change Policy in Alberta,” paper presented to the Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA) annual conference, Political Economy section, Brock University, May 29, 2014.
- "Comparing the 2002 and 2007 climate change consultations in Alberta,” paper presented to the Canadian Political Science Association Conference, University of Alberta, June 2012.
Research - Ecology, Democracy, Citizenship
First World Petro-Politics: The Political Ecology and Governance of Alberta. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016. [Editor and contributor]
Environmental Conflict and Democracy in Canada. Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia Press, 2009. [Editor and contributor]
The Politics of Sustainable Development: Citizens, Unions, and the Corporations. Montreal; New York; London, U.K.: Black Rose Books, 1998. [Sole Author]
“Political Ecology,” in Janine Brodie, Sandra Rein, and Malinda Smith, eds. Critical Concepts, 6th edition, Oxford University Press, 2022.
“Hegemony and Counter-hegemony,” in Patricia Ballamingie and David Saznto, eds. Showing Theory to Know Theory: Understanding Abstractions in Critical Social Science through Illustrative Vignettes. Rebus Community. March 2022. https://showingtheory.net/
Interviewed by Ryan Katz-Rosene and Peter Andree for Studies in Political Economy: “Canada’s ecological political economy and the climate crisis: an interview with Dr. Laurie Adkin.” Studies in Political Economy vol. 102, issue 1 (2021).
“Political Ecology and Counter-hegemonic Politics,” in William K. Carroll and Kanchan Sarker, eds. A World to Win: Contemporary Social Movements and Counter-hegemony, 93-110. Winnipeg: Arbeiter Ring Press, 2016.
Research - Political Ecology of Knowledge Production
- Discussant. Public Forum on the Future of University Governance, University of Alberta. Event organized by the Kule Institute Climate Resilience Scholars. October 20, 2022. Link to video recording: https://vimeo.com/763626928
- Higher Education: Corporate or Public? How the UCP is restructuring post-secondary education in Alberta. Major report. Edmonton: Parkland Institute and Corporate Mapping Project. May 31, 2022. With William Carroll, David Chen, Mike Lang, and Mark Shakespear.
- “Retelling the Story of the UCP Government’s Budget and its Meaning for Post-Secondary Education in Alberta.” Parkland Institute blog. March 15, 2022.
- “The Assault on Higher Education,” Alberta Views September 1, 2021.
- "Government Take-over of Post-Secondary Education in Alberta: Upheaval at the University of Alberta," Parkland Institute blog, December 11, 2020, with Mark Shakespear and Mike Lang.
- Knowledge for an Ecologically Sustainable Future? Innovation Policy and Alberta Universities. Major report. Parkland Institute and Corporate Mapping Project. June 24, 2020. With Laura Cabral.
- "Petro-Universities and the Production of Knowledge for a Post-Carbon Future,” in William K. Carroll, ed, Regime of Obstruction: How Corporate Power Blocks Energy Democracy. Athabasca University Press, 2021.
- “The corporate interests and ideologies shaping Alberta’s universities: What do they mean for our future?” Invited talk to the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs, 21 January 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEcD0mwmSbM
- Keynote speech at the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communication (EECOM) Conference, Saskatoon, May 11, 2019
- Research presentation to the Department of Political Science, University of Alberta, November 28, 2019
- Paper presented at Canadian Political Science Association conference, Political Economy section, Calgary, June 1, 2016