Dr. Joseph Tainter

Environment & Society


Dr. Joseph Tainter

Contact Information

Office Hours: By Appointment
Office Location: NR 238
Phone: (435) 797-0842
Email: joseph.tainter@usu.edu
Additional Information:


Joseph Tainter received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from Northwestern University in 1975. He has taught at the University of New Mexico and Arizona State University, and until 2005 directed the Cultural Heritage Research Project in the Rocky Mountain Research Station. He has been a professor in ENVS since 2007, serving as Department Head from 2007 to 2009. His study of why societies collapse led to research on sustainability, with emphases on energy and innovation. He has also conducted research on land-use conflict and human responses to climate change. Dr. Tainter has appeared in documentary films and television programs, in print media, and in radio programs. He appeared in the film The 11th Hour, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Dr. Tainter's books include:

Tainter, Joseph A., and Tadeusz W. Patzek. 2012. Drilling Down: The Gulf Oil Debacle and Our Energy Dilemma. Copernicus Books, New York.

Allen, T. F. H., Joseph A. Tainter, and T. W. Hoekstra. 2003. Supply-Side Sustainability. Columbia University Press, New York.

McIntosh, Roderick J., Joseph A. Tainter, and Susan Keech McIntosh (eds.). 2000. The Way the Wind Blows: Climate, History, and Human Action. Columbia University Press, New York.

Tainter, Joseph A., and Bonnie Bagley Tainter (eds). 1996. Evolving Complexity and Environmental Risk in the Prehistoric Southwest. Santa Fe Institute, Studies in the Sciences of Complexity, Proceedings Volume XXIV. Addison-Wesley, Reading.

Tainter, Joseph A. 1988. The Collapse of Complex Societies. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Graduate Students