Associate Professor of Politics; Chair and Departmental Faculty Advisor for Environmental Studies
Rafi Youatt is associate professor of Global Politics at the New School, and currently chair of the undergraduate Environmental Studies program. His main areas of research are global politics and international relations, particularly on questions relating to environment and ecology; anthropocentrism and the politics of the human; and the politics of collective personification.
His forthcoming book, Interspecies Politics: Nature, States, Borders (University of Michigan Press, Configurations series, 2020), argues that that international politics is in fact a form of interspecies politics, one that involves the interactions, ideas, and practices of multiple species, both human and nonhuman, to generate differences and violences, and to create commonalities and affiliations. While we frequently think of having an international politics “of” the environment, a deep and thoroughgoing anthropocentrism guides our idea of what political life is, which prevents us from thinking about a politics “with” the environment. Anthropocentric assumptions about politics drive both ecological degradation and deep forms of inter-human injustice and hierarchy. This book rejects those assumptions, by showing instead how and why inter-state life requires us to think about politics as an activity that crosses species lines. It therefore explores a post-anthropocentric account of inter-national politics, focusing on a series of cases and interspecies practices in American borderlands, ranging from the US-Mexico border in southern Texas, to Guantanamo Bay Cuba, to Isle Royale, near the US-Canadian border. The book draws on international relations, environmental political theory, anthropology, and animal studies, to show how key international dimensions of states – sovereignty, territory, security, rights – are better understood as forms of interspecies assemblage that both generate new forms of multispecies inclusion, and structure forms of violence and hierarchy against human and nonhuman. Across these practices, the book concludes by tracing the contours of a halting and incomplete transformation in international order, from international liberal humanism, to a global posthuman ecological politics that truly embroils all manners of life, but is never achieves its universally inclusive aspirations.
His first book, Counting Species: Biodiversity in Global Environmental Politics was published with University of Minnesota Press in 2015. His work is published in journals including Millennium, International Political Sociology, Political Research Quarterly, and Environmental Values. He is working on a new project on mountains, borders, and war. Collaborations at the New School include the Multiple Mobilities Research Group.
Willing to supervise doctoral projects in critical international relations, global environmental politics, and multispecies politics; and experimental, eclectic, and free-thinking projects willing to speak directly to key questions in global politics.
PhD 2007, University of Chicago, Political Science
MA 2001, University of Chicago, Committee on International Relations
BA 1997, University of California, Berkeley, Political Science
Counting Species: Biodiversity in Global Environmental Politics. University of Minnesota Press, (2015).
'Anthropocentrism and the Politics of the Living' in Eroukhmanoff, C. and M. Harker, eds. Reflections on the Posthuman in International Relations: The Anthropocene, Security, and Ecology. (2017)
'Images Unwalled: Walls of Water' with Multiple Mobilities Research Cluster. Anthropology Now. (2017)
‘Personhood and the Rights of Nature: The New Subjects of Contemporary Earth Politics’, International Political Sociology. (2017)
‘Sovereignty and the Wolves of Isle Royale.’ In Political Theory and the Animal-Human Relationship. Grant, J. and V. Jungkunz, eds. (SUNY Press, April 2016).
‘Interspecies.’ Entry for Oxford Handbook of Environmental Political Theory. Gabrielson, T., Hall, C., Meyer, J., and Schlosberg, D., eds. (Oxford University Press, 2016).
‘Interspecies Relations, International Relations: Rethinking Anthropocentric Politics.’ Millennium Journal of International Studies. 43(1) (2014), pp. 207-223.
‘Pain, Power, and the Interspecies Politics of Foie Gras.’ Political Research Quarterly. 65(2), (2012), pp. 346-358.
‘Counting Species: Biopower and the Global Biodiversity Census.’ Environmental Values. (2008). 17(3), pp. 393-417.
Field Seminar Global Politics
Political Research Seminar
Directed Dissertation Study