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Associate Professor in the Department of Geography223+44 (0) 191 33 41894
Associate Professor , Economy and Culture223+44 (0) 191 33 41894
Associate Professor , Geographies of Life223+44 (0) 191 33 41894


Jeremy Schmidt’s research focuses on the social dimensions of land, water, and energy, with particular attention to the ethical and political dimensions of human impacts on the Earth system.

His book, Water: Abundance, Scarcity, and Security in the Age of Humanity, details the intellectual history of America’s water management philosophy. It shows how claims from geology and American social sciences (notably anthropology and geography) combined to make water a ‘resource’ in the United States. It tracks the intellectual and political maneuvering that allowed water management in the U.S. to shape emerging understandings of the Earth system in the Anthropocene and to pace global governance agendas that ultimately aligned sustainability with the securing of the water-energy-food-climate nexus.

Dr. Schmidt's work on policy, Indigenous rights, and water markets has been cited and debated by the provincial government in Alberta, Canada, where he continues to work on the intersections of land, water, and energy. He is also actively involved in several international networks, including Water Future, the United Nations Dialogue on Earth Jurisprudence, and Economics for the Anthropocene.

Prior to joining Durham University, Dr. Schmidt held post-doctoral positions at Harvard University and Dalhousie University, and was Assistant Professor of Environmental Geography at Carleton University. In 2015, he received an Impact Award (Talent Category), the highest distinction bestowed by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. His PhD was conferred by the University of Western Ontario, where he held a Trudeau Scholarship and a SSHRC Fellowship.


Graduate Student Opportunities

Dr. Schmidt is no longer accepting doctoral students for 2021 start dates. If you have an interesting project that fits within his broad concerns for a later start date please feel free to be in touch directly by email.


All of Dr. Schmidt's journal articles are available freely to anybody upon request. Please do not hesitate to email if you do not have access to the final, published version, and one will be provided.

Research interests

  • Water, land, and energy
  • Environmental governance, ethics, and policy
  • The Anthropocene and the social sciences


Authored book

  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. (2017). Water: Abundance, Scarcity, and Security in the Age of Humanity. New York: New York University Press.
  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. & Matthews, Nathanial (2017). Global Challenges in Water Governance: Environments, Economies, Societies. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Book review

  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. (2020). Dilip da Cunha: The Invention of Rivers: Alexander's Eye and Ganga's Descent. Water Alternatives
  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. (2020). Andrea Ballestero: A Future History of Water. Anthropos 115(2): 548-549.
  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. (2019). Debjani Bhattacharyya: Empire and Ecology in the Bengal Delta: The Making of Calcutta. Environmental Values 28(4): 516-517.
  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. (2018). John Fleck: Water is for fighting over and other myths about water in the west. Water International 43(3): 480-481.
  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. (2018). Rajan, Ravi S, Romero Adam, and Watts Michael (Eds): Genealogies of Environmentalism: The Lost Works of Clarence Glacken. Environmental Values 27(4): 453-455.
  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. (2017). Frank Biermann: Earth system governance: world politics in the Anthropocene. Environmental Politics 26(3): 546-548.
  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. (2016). Peter Clancy: Freshwater politics in Canada. British Journal of Canadian Studies 29(1): 124.
  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. (2016). Erik Swyngedouw: Liquid power: contested hydro-modernities in Twentieth-Century Spain. The Canadian Geographer 60(4): e50-e51.
  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. (2014). Caroline Desbiens: Power from the north: territory, identity and the culture of hydropower in Quebec. Quebec Studies 56: 141-143.
  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. (2013). Hasok Chang: Is water H2O? Evidence, realism, and pluralism. Water History 5(3): 373-375.
  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. (2013). Michael Mascarenhas: Where the water's divide: neoliberalism, white privelege, and environmental racism in Canada. Canadian Public Policy 39(2): 354-355.
  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. (2012). Emilio Moran: Environmental social science: human-environment interactions and sustainability. International Journal of Social Research Methodology 15(5): 445-446.
  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. (2012). Rutgerd Boelens, David Getches, and Armando Guevara-Gil (eds): Out of the mainstream: water rights, politics, and identity. Agriculture and Human Values 29(1): 127-128.
  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. (2012). David Zetland: The end of abundance: economic solutions to water scarcity. Journal of Peace Research 49(4): 624.
  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. (2011). Jamie Linton: What is water? The history of a modern abstraction. The Canadian Geographer 55(4): 513-514.
  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. (2011). "The desymbolized world," Dany Robert-Dufour: The art of shrinking heads: on the new servitude of the liberated in the era of total capitalism. Capitalism, Nature, Socialism 22: 116-118.
  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. (2011). Jane Kenway and Johannah Fahey (eds): Globalizing the research imagination. International Journal of Social Research Methodology 14(4): 333-335.
  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. (2011). David Delaney: The spatial, the legal, and the pragmatics of world-making: nomospheric investigations. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 101(6): 1388-1390.
  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. (2011). Douglas Kysar: Regulating from nowhere: environmental law and the search for objectivity. Environmental Values 20(4): 567-569.
  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. (2010). Gary Chamberlain: Troubled waters: religion, ethics, and the global water crisis. Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture 4: 112-113.
  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. (2009). Ursula Heise: Sense of place and sense of planet: the environmental imagination of the global. Ethics, Place, and Environment 12: 143-145.
  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. (2008). Jamie Benidickson: The culture of flushing: a social and legal history of sewage. Canadian Public Policy 34: 135-136.

Chapter in book

Edited book

  • Brown, Peter G. & Schmidt, Jeremy J. (2010). Water Ethics: Foundational Readings for Students and Professionals. Island Press.

Journal Article

Supervision students