Who We Are

Emma Norman

Emma Norman

Northwest Indian College

I am a political and environmental geographer interested in questions related to water governance, borders, and enviornmental and social justice.  My work investigates how flow resources, such as water, are governed across political jurisdictions and at multiple scales.

I am currently the Chair of the Native Environmental Science Department at Northwest Indian College, where I was on faculty for ten years (2002 - 2012).  Prior to rejoining Northwest Indian College, I was an Assistant Professor of Geography at Michigan Technological University working with the Environmental and Energy Policy Program and the Great Lakes Research Center (2012-2014).

I earned my PhD in Geography at the University of British Columbia where I worked with Dr. Karen Bakker, Dr. Matthew Evenden (advisors), Dr. Trevor Barnes and Dr. Douglas Harris.  After completing my PhD, I was a postdoctoral fellow with the Program on Water Governance at UBC, where I worked on  a multi-disciplinary project related to water security. I also hold degrees from Huxley College of the Environment at Western Washington University (M.S. in Geography, 2001) and Colby College (B.A. in International Studies,1995).

I am the author of over 25 articles, numerous policy briefs, and three books (two edited volumes and one sole author).  My latest book, Governing Transboundary Waters: Canada, the United States and Indigenous Communities (Routledge Press, Earthscan Series 2014) was awarded the Julian Minghi prize for best book in Political Geography in 2015.

I have published in a wide range of journals including the Annals of the Association of American Geography, Geoforum, Water Alternatives, and the Canadian Water Resources Journal. I also aim to translate my work to a wider audience and have published numerous policy reports, briefing papers, and book chapters.  Including the edited volume: Water without Borders?: Canada, the United States, and Shared Waters (The University of Toronto Press) and Negotiating Water Governance: Why the Politics of Scale Matter,

Beyond academics, I have had several meaningful work experieces. I served as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Malawi (1995-1997), where I worked as an environmental educator with the Department of Parks and Wildlife.  After the Peace Corps, I worked as a Land Acquisition Specialist with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida (1997-1999) where I coordinated land-purchase agreements with the State of Florida for conservation purposes.

My interests in environmental border issues emerged while studying at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington.  Being perched at the edge of the Canada-U.S. border gave me a unique vantage point to explore environmental issues that were simultaneously local and international.  During this time, I also had the opportunity to serve as a research fellow in Ecuador (with the National Institute of Health and Fundación Cimas del Ecuador) where I conducted research on pesticide exposure to workers in the flower industry - this research project was a turning point in my work with environmental justice and political ecology issues.  My work with Native American tribes and First Nations in the coastal Pacific led me to apply my work related to environmental governance and borders to issues related to decolonization, self-determination and self-governance.  My most recent work engages in issues related to water governance and the politics of scale.

An inspiration for my work comes from the many teachers in my life - including my family, mentors, and students.