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Durham University

Department of Geography

Staff Profile

Dr Jeremy Schmidt

Personal web page

Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41894
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 41801
Room number: 223

(email at


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. He is series editor for Global Challenges in Water Governance (Palgrave).

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 2019 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

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


Journal Article

Authored book

Edited book

Chapter in book

  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. Water ethics: philosophy in practice. In: Dearden, Philip, Mitchell, Bruce & O'Connell, Erin Environmental Change and Challenge: A Canadian Perspective. Oxford University Press; Forthcoming.
  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. Valuing water: rights, resilience, and the UN High-Level Panel on Water. In: Sultana, Farhana & Loftus, Alex Water Politics: Governance, Justice, and the Right to Water. Routledge; 2019.
  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. Water: an ethical opportunity for Canada. In: Davidson, Seanna, Linton, Jamie & Mabee, Warren Water as Social Opportunity. Kingston: McGill-Queens University Press; 2015:29-51.
  • Brown, Peter G. & Schmidt, Jeremy J. Living in the Anthropocene: Business as usual, or compassionate retreat?. In: The WorldWatch Institute State of the World 2014: Governing for Sustainability. Washington: Island Press/Center for Resource Economics; 2014:63-71.
  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. Scarce or insecure? The right to water and the ethics of global water governance. In: Sultana, Farhana & Loftus, Alex The Right to Water: Politics, Governance, and Social Struggles. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge; 2012:94-109.
  • Brown, Peter G. & Schmidt, Jeremy J. An ethic of compassionate retreat. In: Brown, Peter G. & Schmidt, Jeremy J. Water Ethics: Foundational Readings for Students and Professionals. Island Press; 2010:265-286.
  • Schmidt, Jeremy J. Water ethics and water management. In: Brown, Peter G. & Schmidt, Jeremy J. Water Ethics: Foundational Readings for Students and Professionals. Island Press; 2010:3-15.

Book review