Salil D. Benegal        

DePauw University, Greencastle, IN
Contact: salilbenegal at depauw dot edu or salil dot benegal at gmail dot com.

Welcome. I am an assistant professor of Political Science at DePauw University. 

My current research examines political misinformation and polarization in the context of climate change. I currently have two forthcoming articles on this:
"Correcting Misinformation About Climate Change: The Impact of Partisanship in an Experimental Setting" (co-authored with Lyle Scruggs, accepted at Climatic Change), which uses survey experiments to examine the importance of source credibility in correcting climate change denialism and misinformation.

"The Spillover of Race and Racial Attitudes into Public Opinion about Climate Change" (accepted at Environmental Politics), which examines how racial associations and prejudices towards Obama have "spilled over" into the domain of climate change rhetoric and public opinion, contributing to the growing political divide between Democrats and Republicans on this issue.

Prior to joining DePauw, I completed my Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut. My dissertation "A Changing Climate in the Public Mind", examined how perceptions of economic risk and partisan cues affect attitudes and beliefs towards climate change in the USA and Europe using a series of cross-national polls from the US and Europe, and survey experiments run in the US. Some of my research on this has been published in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences (2017) and in Global Environmental Change (2012, co-authored with Prof. Lyle Scruggs [pdf]) on trends in belief in global warming during the recent economic recession. (N.B: Media coverage on this paper at WiredScienceDaily and MSNBC.)

My teaching focuses on areas of both environmental politics and policy, political misinformation in public opinion, and democratic institutions. I teach/have taught the following courses at DePauw University:
POLS 150: Comparative Government
POLS 265: Environmental Policy
POLS 290: Introduction to Human Rights
POLS 365: Political Psychology
POLS 390: Special Topics: The Politics of Climate Change
POLS 450: Senior Seminar: Energy, Resources, and the Environment.

Other research and teaching interests include attitudes towards social policy and economic inequality, in particular from human rights-based approaches to addressing these issues. I also have an interest in the progressive realization and fulfillment of economic and social human rights, and am affiliated with the UConn Economic and Social Rights Research Group (ESRG). In the past, I have been involved with ESRG research projects examining social movements emerging around the right to food in India (with Prof. Shareen Hertel), the impact of free trade policies on the right to health in the developing world (with Prof. Audrey Chapman), and the Social and Economic Rights Fulfilment (SERF) Index (with Prof. Susan Randolph) as a measure for progressive realization of different economic and social rights. I have also worked as a coder for the CIRI Human Rights Data Project.