I am an Assistant Professor of Freshwater Policy in the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, MI). Previously I was a Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Canadian Studies at Michigan State University, a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow at Michigan Tech University, and a Visiting Scholar in the School of Canadian Studies at Carleton University. I received a Ph.D. from the University of Ottawa.
My works looks at Canadian and American environmental, transnational/borderlands, environmental diplomacy, energy, and technology issues, focusing in particular on Canadian-American border waters in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence basin. My background is in history, but my work tends to cross both interdisciplinary and political boundaries. I engage policy issues, not only with some of my publications and teaching, but I have also served as an expert witness or consultant for the Canadian federal government, the Canadian Senate, and the International Joint Commission.
My 2014 book on the binational creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project, titled Negotiating a River: Canada, the U.S., and the Creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway (UBC Press, 2014) won the Champlain Society’s Chalmers Prize for Ontario History (click here to order). I co-edited (with Lynne Heasley) and contributed to Border Flows: A Century of the Canadian-American Water Relationship (University of Calgary Press, 2016), which is available as an Open Access publication.
I am currently working on a book that delves into the transnational history of landscape, engineering, and hydroelectricity at Niagara Falls (for a sneak peek of this research, see my 2013 article in Environmental History). I am tentatively calling it The Death of Niagara Falls: Hydro-Electricity, Beauty, and the Manipulation of a Border Waterscape but am open to suggestions! I am also co-editing (with Murray Clamen) and contributing to a collection on the history of the Boundary Waters Treaty and the International Joint Commission.
I have been working on the history of Great Lakes governance, studying the history of water levels in particular, which includes diversions and engineering works as well as scientific conceptions of natural causes (e.g., earth tilt, climate change, glacial rebound). Other projects include a survey history of Canadian-American environmental relations based on a course I developed, comparative research on Mexico-US and Canada-US border water governance and history, and eventually I hope to write a history of the IJC.
I utilize digital humanities, such as GIS mapping. and have co-authored several different print and online efforts showing how historians and other scholars can make use of digital techniques, including an online textbook (co-authored with Josh MacFadyen and Jim Clifford) The Geospatial Historian. I serve as one of the editors for The Otter, the NiCHE (Network in Canadian History and History) group blog, and am a member of the NiCHE Executive. I have a photography and film background, some of which you can see on this site.