University of Vermont

Gund Institute for Ecological Economics

Eric Zencey

Eric Zencey Fellow

PhD, Political Philosophy/Science History, CGU



Eric Zencey has pursued a career as a writer as well as scholar and teacher, and his work is located at the intersection of ecology, history, economics, social theory, political science and political theory. Lately he has been working to discover and articulate elements of the conceptual infrastructure we need if we are to have an ecologically, politically, socially sustainable society. At Gund he is the Coordinator of the Vermont GPI Project, which is compiling an updated Genuine Progress Indicator for Vermont for implementation as an alternative policy and budgeting instrument in the state. Eric is a Visiting Associate Professor of Historical and Political Studies at SUNY Empire State College, working in that institution's international program (he spends a few weeks each semester in Prague), and a visiting lecturer in the Architecture and Urban Planning program at Washington University in St. Louis, where he teaches in the spring. He writes regularly on economic and environmental topics for general audiences, including regular appearances in the The Daly News, the newsletter of the Center for the Advancement of the Steady-State Economy. His historical-thriller-mystery novel, Panama (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1995), was both critically acclaimed and a national bestseller and was translated into a dozen languages. In his essay collection, Virgin Forest (University of Georgia Press, 1997), Eric argued that an ecological consciousness is necessarily an historical consciousness: "If we are out of place in nature, we are also out of place in time, and the two kinds of exiles are related." His PhD dissertation, Entropy as Root Metaphor, traced the social history of the second law of thermodynamics, exploring its philosophical and social reach, including its ecological implications and its place in the then-nascent field of ecological economics, as represented by the work of Herman Daly and Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen. Eric's essays have appeared in Orion, The North American Review, Adbusters, The Chronicle of Higher Education, on the op-ed pages of The New York Times and The International Herald Tribune, and online in The European Tribune, The History News Network, and The Front Porch Republic. His writing and thinking about environmental matters have been supported by fellowships from the Guggenheim, Rockefeller-Bellagio, and Bogliasco Foundations.

AT UVM: Eric is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science.

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Eric's scholarly and non-academic writings focus on the ways in which economic practices, political institutions, and our ideas about them have to change to reflect the reality of a finite planet

Last modified July 29 2015 10:57 AM