Joseph B. Underhill

HRF Director, Env. Studies Director, Associate Professor

CB 53

Professor Underhill teaches courses in Environmental Politics, International Relations, and Political Methodology and regularly takes students off campus for experiential and interdisciplinary learning.  From 2010-2012 he served as the Batalden Faculty Scholar in Applied Ethics, engaging the campus on the theme of “seeking justice where we live” and teaching courses related to youth movements and social change, especially in Muslim communities both in Minneapolis and in the context of a trip to Egypt to study the effects of the revolution there.

He has directed the International Relations Program and Model United Nations programs at Augsburg since 1998, and taken students to New Zealand, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Egypt, and Tanzania.  He frequently leads trips on the Mississippi River, studying the environmental politics of the river first hand.  He created and runs the River Semester program, which offers a full semester of courses for students traveling from Minneapolis to New Orleans via canoe, bus, and train.  That program launches in Fall 2015.

He also serves as the campus faculty representative for the Nobel Peace Prize Forum, co-hosted each year by Augsburg University, and bringing Nobel laureates such as Jimmy Carter, Shirin Ebadi, Wangari Maathai, Mohammad Yunus, and Tawakkol Karman to campus.

Research and Scholarship

Current research focuses on how campuses can be seen as laboratories for social change and sustainability.  Prof. Underhill is working on a manuscript on democratic practice and sustainability in higher education, using Augsburg as a case study.  He is the author of a book on the political culture and psychology of U.S. foreign policy decision-makers, entitled Death and the Statesman (Palgrave 2001).  His most recent publication is “Campus as Watershed: Urban Sustainability and the Pedagogy of Place” (forthcoming in an edited volume on the environmental history of Minnesota).

A blog from his recent study abroad trip to Egypt can be accessed here.

His occasional thoughts on teaching can be found here.


B.A. University of California, Berkeley 1985

M.A. San Francisco State University, 1989

Ph.D. University of Michigan, 1995