Skip to: Site menu | Main content

Judith Shapiro



Dual Degree in Natural Resources and

Sustainable Development


School of International Service

American University


4400 Massachusetts Ave., N.W.

Washington, DC 20016


Judith Shapiro is the director of the Masters in Natural Resources and Sustainable Development for the School of International Service at American University. She was one of the first Americans to live in China after U.S.-China relations were normalized in 1979, and taught English at the Hunan Teachers’ College in Changsha, China. She has also taught at Villanova, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Aveiro (Portugal) and the Southwest Agricultural University in Chongqing, China.

Professor Shapiro’s research and teaching focus on global environmental politics and policy, the environmental politics of Asia, and Chinese politics under Mao. She is the author, co-author or editor of seven books, including China's Environmental Challenges (Polity 2012), Mao’s War against Nature (Cambridge University Press 2001), Son of the Revolution (with Liang Heng, Knopf 1983), After the Nightmare (with Liang Heng, Knopf 1987), Cold Winds, Warm Winds: Intellectual Life in China Today (with Liang Heng, Wesleyan University Press 1987), Debates on the Future of Communism (co-edited with Vladimir Tismaneanu, (Palgrave 1991), and, together with her mother Joan Hatch Lennox, Lifechanges: How Women Can Make Courageous Choices (Random House, 1991). Her book Mao’s War against Nature inspired a documentary film, “Waking the Green Tiger” (2011). Her early experiences in China were made into a television feature film starring Melissa Gilbert.

Dr. Shapiro’s latest project — China’s Environmental Challenges — is a textbook for Polity Press published in 2012. Dr. Shapiro has recently given lectures on the book's insights at universities in the U.S. and during a tour in China. A fresh review of the book from the Financial Times can be found here. Also, click here to hear Prof. Shapiro describe the book and its importance. (May need to enable pop-ups.)

Dr. Shapiro earned her Ph.D. from American University’s School of International Service. She holds an M.A. in Asian Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and another M.A. in Comparative Literature from the University of Illinois, Urbana. Her B.A. from Princeton University is in Anthropology and East Asian Studies. Before coming to American University she had a lengthy career as an independent writer and commentator on Chinese politics. She also has extensive experience as a legal interpreter of Mandarin Chinese.