My research and teaching take place at the intersection of crisis and political transformation.
I look at the ways that large-scale shocks – from economic crises to ecological disasters to terror attacks – act as catalysts and accelerators for broad-based social change. Very often that change is regressive. Societies are pushed backwards; civil and human rights are eroded; power and wealth are rapidly concentrated among elites; societies turn against the most vulnerable. This is an area of research I explored in my 2007 book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, and I have continued to use this lens to explore the aftermath of disasters linked to climate breakdown, including Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico (2017) and the Camp Fire in Northern California in (2018).
The work I am most passionate about, however, involves a kind of inverse shock doctrine: ways that large shocks can be harnessed to usher in progressive change, with democratic and economic rights strengthened and policies protecting the natural world rapidly adopted. This is the subject matter of my 2014 book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate and my 2019 collection On Fire: The Burning Case for a Green New Deal.
At UBC, my primary focus is on how the climate emergency can and must act as a catalyst for this kind of bold, justice-based transformation in our bio-region and beyond, with particular attention to the intersections between climate justice and Indigenous land rights; the gendered and racialized labour of care; and the rights of migrants.
Prior to joining UBC, I was the inaugural Gloria Steinem Endowed Chair in Media, Culture and Feminist Studies at Rutgers University, from 2018 – 2021, and I co-founded The Leap.
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My books have been adopted in over 1000 courses in more than 200 North American universities and colleges and translated into over 35 languages.
Klein, N. 2021 How to Change Everything: A Young Human’s Guide to Protecting the Planet and Each Other (R. Stefhoff, Adap.) (New York: Simon and Schuster)
Klein, N. 2019 On Fire: The Burning Case For a Green New Deal (Toronto: Knopf Canada)
Klein, N. 2018 The Battle For Paradise: Puerto Rico Takes on the Disaster Capitalists (Chicago: Haymarket Books)
Klein, N. 2017 No is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World we Need (Toronto: Knopf Canada)
Klein, N. 2014 This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate (Toronto: Knopf Canada)
Klein, N. 2007 The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (Toronto: Knopf Canada)
Klein, N. 2002 Fences and windows: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate (Toronto: Knopf Canada)
Klein, N. 2000 No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies (Toronto: Knopf Canada)
Selected recent publications:
Klein, N. 2021 ‘Stealing Children to Steal Land’ [podcast] Created (with D. Manuel and K. Manuel) and Guest Hosted, Intercepted with Jeremy Scahill (16 June)
Klein, N. 2021 ‘A Climate Dystopia In Northern California’ The Intercept (7 May)
Klein, N. 2021 ‘India Targets Climate Activists with the Help of Big Tech’ The Intercept (27 February)
Klein, N. 2020 ‘Why Texas Republicans Fear the Green New Deal’ The New York Times (21 February)
Manuel, K. & Klein, N. 2020 ‘‘Land Back’ Is More Than a Slogan for a Resurgent Indigenous Movement’ The Globe and Mail (19 November)
Klein, N. 2020 ‘Screen New Deal’ The Intercept (8 May)
Klein, N. 2016 ‘Let Them Drown: The Violence of Othering in a Warming World’ London Review of Books 38 (11)
Message From the Future II: The Years of Repair. 2020 Directed by Jim Batt and Kim Boekbinder [Short Film] (New York: First Look Media/The Intercept) (Role: Executive Producer)
Message From the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. 2019 Directed by Kim Boekbinder and Jim Batt [Short Film] (New York: First Look Media/The Intercept) (Role: Executive Producer)
This Changes Everything. 2015 Directed by Avi Lewis [Feature Film] (Toronto, Ontario, CN: Klein Lewis Productions) (Role: Writer, Narrator)
The Take. 2004 Directed by Avi Lewis [Feature Film] (New York, NY: First Run Features/Icarus Films) (Role: Writer, Narrator)
The Neil Postman Award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity, 2021 Media Ecology Association
Honorary Professor of Media and Climate Rutgers University, New Jersey
14th Annual Outstanding Lifetime Achievement for Humanism in Culture, The Humanist Chaplaincy of the Harvard College Community of Humanists, Atheists, and Agnostics (HCHAA) at Harvard University (US), 2020
The Frederick Douglass (FD) 200, Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives and the Antiracist Research & Policy Center at American University in Washington DC (US), 2019
The Sydney Peace Prize, University of Sydney (AU) and the City of Sydney, Australia, 2016
Izzy Award for Outstanding Independent Media and Journalism, Park Center for Independent Media at Ithaca College (US), 2015
Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction, The Writer’s Trust of Canada (CA), 2014
IPE Outstanding Activist Scholar Award, International Studies Association (US), 2014