I am an Associate Professor of Political Science at Davidson College, where I also serve as the Faculty Director of the Deliberative Citizenship Initiative and the Program Director of the Davidson in China Program. My work focuses on identifying ways to improve collective action efforts to solve the most intractable social and political problems of our time. Within this broad scope, my teaching and research relates to four main areas:
- Polarization: The recent polarization of politics around the world has impeded our ability to tackle our greatest challenges as a society. I am dedicated to better understanding this polarization and finding ways to reduce it so that widely-supported progress can be made on these issues. I have taught a course on the topic, Partisanship and Polarization in US Politics, and am conducting research on it as well. I am also serving as a Co-Convener and the Faculty Director of the Deliberative Citizenship Initiative, which is designed to foster more productive democratic discourse as one of many ways to bridge our current partisan divide.
- Public Policy: Even as the social and political polarization of both elites and the public continues, specific policies must be designed and implemented to tackle problems at the local, national, and international levels. I have published articles on how these policies are developed and how they can be improved, both generally and in the particular context of environmental challenges. And I help students learn how to analyze different policymaking approaches in my courses on American Politics, US Environmental Politics and Policy, Global Environmental Politics, and Business and Politics.
- Sustainability: Governments, civil society, and businesses have increasingly turned to “information-based” governance strategies to tackle our most pressing sustainability challenges. In my book, Green Grades: Can Information Save the Earth?, published by MIT Press in 2017, I examine the dynamics and effectiveness of these strategies, which include both product eco-labels and corporate environmental ratings. As Director of the Sustainability Information Lab, I have worked with several Davidson students on researching the politics, psychology, and performance of this form of governance in a range of different contexts, such as organic food, higher education, and electronics.
- Chinese Politics: With the world’s largest population and second largest economy, decisions made in the People’s Republic of China are hugely consequential. Having spent nearly five years living and working in China, I have a longstanding interest in understanding the Chinese government and people. I served as the Resident Director of the Davidson in China Program in 2018, and currently serve as its Program Director. I also teach a course on Business and Politics in China, and have mentored several students on research projects related to China’s environmental challenges.
Theory to Action: I also have a strong interest in citizenship, consumerism, leadership, and entrepreneurship, and have led seminars on these topics as well. These courses are informed not only by my research in these areas, but also my experience as a co-founder of a social venture startup, GoodGuide.com, and as the Ecotourism Coordinator for The Nature Conservancy’s China Program. In all of my classes, I try to connect the world of ideas with real world problems like those I grappled with as a practitioner. My website, Theory to Action, provides some examples of how students have made these connections in several of my courses.
Interdisciplinarity: All of my teaching and research has roots in my interdisciplinary academic experiences as an undergraduate and graduate student. I completed my PhD in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at the University of California, Berkeley, and have a Master in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. My undergraduate degree is in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (with a Five-Year Certificate in East Asian Studies) from Princeton University. The sciences, humanities, social sciences, and the field of policy studies therefore all inform my approach to understanding and analyzing environmental, social, and political issues.
This site provides more details about my research, teaching, and service, as well as more general information about my professional and academic background. If you have an interest in any of these areas, please do not hesitate to contact me at grbullock at davidson.edu.