Salil D. Benegal
Contact: salilbenegal [at] gmail [dot] com or benegals [at] union [dot] edu.
Welcome. I am a professor and researcher of climate politics and policy, and am joining Union College as Joseph B. Board Assistant Professor of Environmental Policy (effective July 2023). I'll also be involved with the Environmental Science, Policy & Engineering Program (ESPE) at Union College.
I previously taught for seven years at DePauw University where I was Associate Professor of Political Science (with tenure).
My research examines polarization in climate policymaking and environmental public opinion in the US. I study how partisan misinformation, perceptions of economic tradeoffs, racial prejudices, and gendered system justification shape perceptions of climate science and public support for mitigative climate policies. Two recent papers (both co-authored with Dr. Mirya Holman) examine how Americans' views of climate science and mitigative policies may be shaped by sexist system justification beliefs, and the interactions between education and racial prejudices. Two other projects (co-authored with Dr. Matthew Motta) examine public trust in scientists after COVID-19, and misinformation endorsement on different scientific issues.
Other working projects of mine also examine public opinion about the Green New Deal and just energy transitions; misinformation about clean/renewable energy; and the belief systems underpinning vaccine hesitancy among different racialized demographics within the United States.
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 subsequent work building on my dissertation research has examined the effectiveness of partisan in-group corrections to correct misinformation from political figures. My research has also been covered in avenues such as the Washington Post, NPR Michigan Radio, and the Sierra Club Magazine. Please email me for PDFs of any of my research articles if you are unable to access these.
Here's a list of several courses that I've taught recently at DePauw, or will teach in the near future at Union College. Please email me for syllabi.
Introduction to American Government
Introduction to US Environmental Policy
Comparative Climate Change Politics
US Energy Policy (upper-level undergraduate)
Research Design and Writing