Area of Study
Email Address
Kirner-Johnson 114

Peter F. Cannavò works and teaches in the areas of political theory; environmental theory, politics, and history; geography and the politics of place; and ethics and public policy. Cannavò is the author of The Working Landscape: Founding, Preservation, and the Politics of Place. He contributed to the volumes The Oxford Handbook of Environmental Political Theory, The Encyclopedia of Political Theory, The Environmental Politics of Sacrifice and Political Theory and Global Climate Change.

He is co-editor (with Joseph H. Lane, Jr.) of Engaging Nature: Environmentalism, Concepts of Nature, and the Study of the Political Theory Canon, a collection on environmental insights from the political theory canon. He is currently writing To the Thousandth Generation, a book about the theoretical and historical connections between environmentalism and civic republicanism in the U.S. Cannavò has published in various peer-reviewed journals, including Environmental Politics, Environmental Values, and Political Theory, and has also contributed opinion pieces to several media outlets, including The Huffington Post and USA Today.

Recent Courses Taught

Global Warming
Interpreting the American Environment
Introduction to Political Theory
Introduction to Environmental Politics
Political Theory and the Environment
Ethics and Public Policy
The Politics and Theory of Place and Space
Forever Wild: The Cultural and Natural Histories of the Adirondack Park
Politics and Place: New York City and New Orleans in Times of Crisis

Research Interests

Environmental political theory, politics and history, geography, American political thought, civic republicanism, liberalism, ethics and public policy, food politics


  • Dean’s Scholarly Achievement Award for Early Career Achievement, Hamilton College
  • Certificate of Distinction in Teaching, Harvard University
  • Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellowship
  • Graduate Fellowship in Ethics, Harvard University Program in Ethics and the Professions
  • Mellon Dissertation Research Fellowship
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship Award
  • Arthur Maas Prize Fellowship
  • Woodrow Wilson Fellowship

Selected Publications

  • “EPT and Republicanism,” in Teena Gabrielson, Cheryl Hall, John M. Meyer, and David Schlosberg, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Environmental Political Theory, Oxford: Oxford University Press, (forthcoming in 2015).
  • Co-edited volume (with Joseph H. Lane, Emory & Henry College): Engaging Nature: Environmentalism, Concepts of Nature, and the Study of the Political Theory Canon, Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2014.
  • The Working Landscape: Founding, Preservation, and the Politics of Place, Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2007 (nominated for the 2008 Orion Book Award).
  • “Civic Virtue and Sacrifice in a Suburban Nation,” in Michael Maniates and John M. Meyer, eds., The Environmental Politics of Sacrifice, Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2010. 
  • “Place,” in Mark Bevir, ed., The Encyclopedia of Political Theory, Newbury Park, Calif.: Sage, 2010.
  • “In the Wake of Katrina: Climate Change and the Coming Crisis of Displacement,” in Steven J. Vanderheiden and John Barry, eds., Political Theory and Global Climate Change, Cambridge: The MIT Press, 2008.
  • “EPT and Republicanism,” in Teena Gabrielson, Cheryl Hall, John M. Meyer, and David Schlosberg, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Environmental Political Theory, Oxford: Oxford University Press, (forthcoming in 2015)
  • “Ecological Citizenship, Time, and Corruption: Aldo Leopold’s Green Republicanism,” Environmental Politics, 21 (6), 2012, pp.864-881.
  • “The Half-Cultivated Citizen: Thoreau at the Nexus of Republicanism and Environmentalism,” Environmental Values, 21 (2), 2012, pp.101-124.
  • “To the Thousandth Generation: Timelessness, Jeffersonian Republicanism, and Environmentalism,” Environmental Politics, 19 (3), 2010, pp.356-373.
  • Review Essay: “Confronting Postmodern Uncertainty: Political Lessons from Cultural Practice” (review of Gay Hawkins, The Ethics of Waste, Mary Caputi, A Kinder, Gentler America, and Helen Liggett, Urban Encounters), in Political Theory, 35 (5), 2007, pp.676-685.
  • “American Contradictions and Pastoral Visions: An Appraisal of Leo Marx, The Machine in the Garden,” Organization and Environment, 14 (1), 2001, pp.74-92.
  • “Books of Note: Tim Hayward, Political Theory and Ecological Values,” in Environment, 42 (4), 2000, p.34.
  • “Books of Note: Andrew Dobson, Justice and the Environment,” in Environment, 42 (3), 2000, p.45.
  • “America’s Great Plains and the Debate Over a Region’s Future: A Case Study in Rural Development,” in Case Studies in Rural Development Policy (Corvallis, OR: National Rural Studies Committee, 1993).

National Media

  • “George Will Goes Mad Over Campus Sustainability,” Huffington Post, April 20, 2015
  • “Global warming reveals our own Game of Thrones,” USA Today, October 15, 2014
  • “When Rights Become Toxic,” Huffington Post, April 3, 2013
  • “Interconnected Community Needs Broad Plan,” Syracuse Post-Standard, Jan. 20, 2013
  • “The Real Frankenstorm,” Huffington Post, Oct. 26, 2012
  • “Individualism or Independence?,” Huffington Post, Sept. 10, 2012
  • “Ignorance a Weapon in Climate Change Debate,” Syracuse Post-Standard, June 21, 2009
  • “Some Ideas for President Obama’s Call to Sacrifice” (co-authored with Karen Litfin, University of Washington), Seattle Times, Jan. 23, 2009
  • “Palins Redefine Paterfamilias,” Providence Journal, Sept. 27, 2008 (reprinted in the Syracuse Post-Standard, Sept. 29, 2008)
  • “Reagan Environmental Legacy Largely a Negative One,” Syracuse Post-Standard, June 28, 2004
  • “Protesters Ask Key Questions,” Syracuse Post-Standard, Feb. 12, 2003

College Service

  • Faculty working group on diversity in the curriculum, 2015-present
  • Hamilton Adirondack Program Committee, 2013-present
  • Director, Environmental Studies Program, 2011-present
  • Director of sustainability, Arthur Levitt Public Affairs Center, 2011-present
  • Executive Committee, Diversity and Social Justice Project, 2010-present
  • Ad Hoc Committee on the Library of the Future, 2010-11
  • Marshal, commencement, 2011
  • Committee on Student Activities, 2009-10
  • Middle States Evaluation Leadership and Governance/Administration Working Group, 2009-10
  • New Faculty Orientation Committee, 2009-11
  • Hamilton College Sustainability Committee, 2007-present
  • Environmental Studies Committee, 2003-present
  • Faculty advisor, Hamilton College Divestment Club, 2013-present
  • Faculty advisor, Graduates for a Greener Hamilton, 2007-present
  • Faculty advisor, Hamilton College Community Farm, 2007
  • Faculty advisor, Tau Kappa Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science
  • Honor Society, 2003-present
  • Faculty advisor, Hamilton College Democrats, 2003-present

Professional Affiliations

American Political Science Association

Appointed to the Faculty


Educational Background

Ph.D., Harvard University
M.P.A., Princeton University
A.B., Harvard University

Help us provide an accessible education, offer innovative resources and programs, and foster intellectual exploration.

Site Search