Tabitha M. Benney portrait
  • Associate Professor, Political Science Department
  • Affiliated Faculty, University of Utah, Center for Global Change and Sustainability
  • Affiliated Faculty, Environmental and Sustainability Studies, University of Utah
  • Research Fellow, Earth System Governance (ESG) Network
  • Affiliated Researcher, The Griffith Criminology Institute and Global Risk Governance Program, University of Cape Town
  • Assistant Professor, Political Science Department
  • Affiliated Faculty, Center for Genomic Medicine
  • Affiliated Faculty, Latin American Studies Program
  • Affiliated Faculty, Asian Studies Program

Research Summary

My interdisciplinary research focuses on mapping interactions within complex coupled systems to develop research-based policy applications to address a range of trans-boundary governance issues. My current research agenda is focused on health disparities and inequality related to the impacts of energy, climate, and air quality. I also study systems of the global economy (e.g. varieties of capitalism, energy coalitions, social inequality, and low carbon energy transitions).


  • PhD, Political Science, University of California, Santa Barbara. Project: Dissertation: The International Political Economy of Carbon Markets in Emerging Economies
  • MA, International Affairs, Georgetown University. Project: The Evolution of the Nation-State
  • BSFS, School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University


I am currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Utah. I am also affiliated faculty in the Environmental and Sustainability Studies Program, Center on Global Change and Sustainability, Public Policy Program, Asian Studies, Latin American Studies, International Studies, and the Center for Genomic Medicine at the University of Utah. I am also a Research Fellow for the Earth Research Governance Network, and an Affiliated Researcher with the Evolving Securities Initiative (ESI) at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. I received my PhD in Political Science, in the subfields of International Relations/ International Political Economy, Environmental Governance, and Research Methods from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) in June 2013. Prior to attending UCSB, I received my BSFS (2001) and MA in International Affairs (2007) from Georgetown University. I also worked for the US National Academy of Sciences as a Junior Program Officer from 2001-2007.

I currently teach in the fields of International Relations, Energy and Environmental Politics, and Research Methods. My work has been published in The Review of International Political Economy, Science of the Total Environment, Energy Policy, Environmental Research, Atmosphere, The Routledge Handbook on Ethics, The World Financial Review, Vehicles, and Wiley’s Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change – among others. My books include, Making Environmental Markets Work: The Varieties of Capitalism in Emerging Economies (Routledge Press, 2015) and Agency in Earth System Governance - coedited with Michele. Betsill and Andrea Gerlak (Cambridge, 2020). In addition, I have received numerous awards, fellowships, and grants including, the International Studies Association (ISA) Catalytic Research Workshop Grant, the Interdisciplinary Research Pilot Program (IRPP) Grant, the Louis G. Lancaster’s International Relations Award, the Betty Glad Research Grant, the Distinguished Teaching Award (University of Utah), and, most recently, the Emerging COVID-19/SARS-CoV-2 Health Science Research Grant.