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Katie Meehan

Katie Meehan profile picture
  • Title: Associate Professor
  • Phone: 541-346-4521
  • Office: 107C Condon Hall
  • Affiliated Departments: Latin American Studies
  • Interests: Water policy and governance; infrastructure and cities; climate change adaptation


My expertise lies in water policy and governance, urban infrastructure and informal development, social justice and cities, and science and technology studies. Based on a long record of work in Latin America, my current project seeks to understand how we might learn from urban development experiments in the global South--such as Mexico City, one of my favorite places in the world--to 'plumb' the city in more equitable, resilient, and sustainable ways. This project examines the sociotechnical and spatial planning challenges associated with institutionalizing rainwater harvesting at broader scales, and draws on urban political ecology and science and technology studies (STS) to theorize how urban sociotechnical transition is built from 'below' by non-elite actors and knowledge systems. I'm currently writing these pieces up as a book manuscript, now under contract with the University of Minnesota Press. Past research, set in the Mexican border city of Tijuana, examined why urban dwellers create informal water supply, and how these technologies produced diverse economies, institutions, and hydrologic flows.

A second emerging research interest is in the social study of climate change science, funded by a three-year Fulbright grant (2014-2017). In collaboration with scholars from Canada and Latin America, we have explored the ways that stakeholder knowledge is incorporated by transdisciplinary climate change science, how 'local knowledge' is understood in climate adaptation studies, the ontological and political challenges of knowledge integration, and the geopolitics of international science. Our team's work on how research models are evolving to include stakeholders was published in Science in November 2015, among other outlets. Future work in this area will query interdisciplinary knowledge integration and the 'molecularization' of climate change science in the Brazilian Amazon, a site of intense scientific collaboration and geopolitical unease around resource extraction and knowledge production.

I am always interested in working with creative and self-motivated students, and I welcome inquiries from prospective graduate students with research interests that overlap with one or two areas above.



  • GEOG 142: Introduction to Human Geography
  • GEOG 214: Geography of Latin America
  • GEOG 442/542: Urban Geography: The Wire
  • GEOG 467/567: International Water Policy
  • GEOG 607: Graduate seminars in Urban Political Ecology, Science & Technology Studies
  • GEOG 610: Qualitative Methods in Geography


Ph.D., University of Arizona, Geography (2010)

Graduate Certificate in Water Policy, University of Arizona (2010)

M.S. (with Distinction), University of Oxford (2005)

B.A., University of Oregon, Environmental Studies, Political Science (1999)


For a full list of publications, please see Google Scholar. Selected publications include:



  • 2015. Klenk, Nicole L., Katie Meehan, Sandra Lee Pinel, Fabian Mendez, Pablo Torres Lima, and Daniel M. Kammen. "Stakeholders in climate science: beyond lip service?" Science 250(6262): 743-744.
  • 2015. Klenk, Nicole, and Katie Meehan. "Climate change and transdisciplinary science: problematizing the integration imperative." Environmental Science & Policy 54(1): 160-167.
  • 2014. Meehan, Katie M. "Tool-power: water infrastructure as wellsprings of state power." Geoforum 57(1): 215-224.
  • 2014. Meehan, Katie M. and Anna W. Moore. "Downspout politics, upstream conflict: formalizaing rainwater harvesting in the United States." Water International 39(4): 417-430. (Runner-Up for Best Paper Award, International Water Resources Association)
  • 2013. Meehan, Katharine. "Disciplining de facto development: water theft and hydrosocial order in Tijuana." Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 31(2): 319-336.
  • 2013. Shaw, Ian G.R., and Katharine Meehan. "Force-full: power, politics and object-oriented philsophy." Area 45(2): 216-222. (Awarded the Virigine Mamadouh Outstanding Research Award)
  • 2013. Meehan, Katharine, Ian G.R. Shaw, and Sallie A. Marston. "Political geographies of the object." Political Geography 33(1): 1-10.
  • 2013. Meehan, Katharine, Kerri Jean Ormerod, and Sarah A. Moore. "Remaking waste as water: the governance of recycled effluent for potable water supply." Water Alternatives 6(1): 67-85.