Ellis Adjei Adams – Keough School


Areas of expertise: Environmental policy; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); water policy and governance; gender, water and development; cities; political ecology; Sub-Saharan Africa

Ellis Adjei Adams is Assistant Professor of Geography and Environmental Policy at the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame. It is affiliated with Notre Dame Environmental change initiative and the Eck Institute for Global Health.

Before coming to Notre Dame, Adams was an assistant professor of world studies and geosciences at Georgia State University. He received a PhD in Geography, Environment and Space Science from Michigan State University, an MA in Environmental Policy from Michigan Tech University, and a BS in Natural Resource Management from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana.

Adams’ work examines the social, political, institutional and governance dimensions of environmental and natural resources, particularly water. Trained as a geographer of the human environment with expertise bridging the natural and social sciences, he is largely interested in nature-society relations. His research to date has mainly focused on understanding human-water interactions in different urban contexts in Southern countries.

Her current research focuses on three main areas: 1) urban water insecurity, 2) water policy and governance, and 3) gender, water and sustainable development. The first explores the causes and socio-economic consequences of household water insecurity in urban areas; the second examines how policies (public, private, community, etc.) and power relations influence access to water; and the third explores the multiple relationships between gender, water and sustainable development. Theoretically, her work draws on and contributes to political ecology, feminist political ecology, environmental justice and common resource theory.

Adams has conducted fieldwork primarily in Africa (Ghana, Malawi and Uganda), with emerging interests in Brazil and the United States. He is a co-principal investigator on a $ 398,482 project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) project “Analyzing the Magnitude, Variability, and Governance of Infrastructure-Mediated Flows in Atlanta” with collaborators from Georgia State University. His research has been published in Geoforum, Political geography, Land use policy, Total environmental science, Environment and Urbanization, Cities, Food policy, Environmental management journal, International Journal of Water Resources Development, and presented by media such as the Conversation.

Adams received the Distinguished Emerging Scholar Award 2020 in African Geography from the Association of American Geographers and a co-recipient of the Nabuo Maeda International Research Award from the American Public Health Association. He is currently a consultant for the World Bank to develop a WASH and Health Index for Africa.


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