Salil D. Benegal
Contact: salilbenegal [at] gmail [dot] com.
Welcome. I am a professor and researcher of environmental policy who will be joining Union College in Fall 2023 as Joseph B. Board Assistant Professor of Environmental Policy. I am presently an Associate Professor of Political Science at DePauw University (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 of my more 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. Other working projects of mine also examine public opinion about the Green New Deal and just energy transitions; overconfidence and meta-ignorance about scientific facts relating to COVID-19 and climate change; 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.
I presently teach several courses at DePauw University in the Political Science department and in collaboration with the Honors Scholar program and the Environmental Fellows program:
Comparative Politics and Government
Introduction to Environmental Policy
Introduction to Human Rights
Research Design and Writing
Politics of Climate Change
Senior Seminar in Energy Policy ("Energy, Resources, and the Environment")
Please email me for syllabi.