Cogut Institute for the Humanities

Rachel Wetts

Spring 2023 Faculty Fellow, Acacia Assistant Professor of Environment and Society and Sociology
Project “Climate Politics as Status Struggle: Class, Gender, and the Politics of Symbolic Worth”
Last updated June 20, 2023, based on June 2022 biographical sketch


Rachel Wetts is Acacia Assistant Professor of Environment and Society and Sociology. Her research examines how cultural and social psychological processes interact with systems of power and privilege to shape American politics. She focuses on two areas of American politics with profound consequences for contemporary American society and for societies across the globe: the politics of white racial resentment, and the problem of stalled political action to address climate change. In each of these areas, she examines how elite-public interactions shape how we understand, discuss, and respond to large-scale changes in social relations and the natural world. While at the Cogut Institute, she will be working on a new project conceptualizing American climate change politics as a form of status politics — as a way that various groups in American society seek to have their skills, tastes, and identities recognized and socially validated. Her research has been published in Social Forces and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, among others, and has been covered in major news outlets, including The Washington Post, The Atlantic, and NPR.


Meet the Fellows talk: “Climate Politics as Status Struggle”