My expertise lies in water policy and governance, urban infrastructure and informal development, social justice and cities, transdisciplinary knowledge regimes, and the politics of environmental knowledge and technology, especially at the science-policy interface. I draw on approaches in political ecology and science and technology studies (STS), especially feminist science studies, to frame my research in Latin America.
I have two parallel lines of research. Building on my theory of tool-power, my current book project examines household water insecurity in Mexico City and how grassroots organizations have emerged to create new kinds of infrastructural models of people, water, and the city. Based on a five-year ethnographic study of rainwater harvesting innovation, I explore how rainwater practitioners in Mexico City are replumbing the city (and relations between citizens and the state) in potentially more equitable, resilient, and sustainable ways. This project builds on my broader interests in the legal, sociotechnical, and spatial planning challenges associated with institutionalizing new forms of water supply in cities (such as rain or recycled wastewater). Past dissertation research, set in the Mexican border city of Tijuana, traced why and how people create 'water' by recycling household greywater (a type of 'waste'), and how these informal technologies produce diverse economies, institutions, and hydrologic flows.
Thanks to recent collaborations across the Americas, I have developed a second area of expertise in the politics of environmental knowledge integration and mobilization at the science/policy interface. Supported by a multi-year Fulbright NEXUS grant with scholars from Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean, we explored the geopolitics of transdisciplinary knowledge mobilization across the hemisphere: including new modes of stakeholder engagement in transdisciplinary sutainability research, how 'local knowledge' is unevenly understood in climate adaptation studies, and the ontological and political challenges of integrating knowledge in environmental science.
In 2017, I launched a new NSF-sponsored research project on Knowledge Integration that explores how experts integrate knowledge "from microbes to landscapes" and across disciplinary cultures in the Brazilian Amazon, a place of intense scientific collaboration and longstanding geopolitical unease regarding issues of knowledge production and resource extraction. For more information and project updates on our blog, see our website here.
For the 2018-2019 academic year, I am not taking on new graduate students in the area of water governance. However, I am seeking a Portuguese-speaking doctoral student, with interests in science studies and political ecology, to work with me in the Knowledge Integration Project. Details here.
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 my profile on Google Scholar. Selected publications include:
- 2015. Meehan, Katie, and Kendra Strauss (eds). Precarious Worlds: Contested Geographies of Social Reproduction. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.
Recent Articles (Selected)
- 2017. Molden, Olivia C. and Katie Meehan. "Sociotechnical imaginaries of urban development: social movements around 'traditional' water infrastructure in the Kathmandu Valley" Urban Geography DOI: 10.1080/027223638.2017.1393921
- 2017. Klenk, Nicole, and Katie Meehan. "Transdisciplinary sustainability research beyond engagement models: toward adventures in relevance." Environmental Science & Policy 78(1): 27-35.
- 2017. Klenk, Nicole., Anna Fiume, Katie Meehan, and Cerian Gibbes. "Local knowledge in climate adaptation research: moving knowledge frameworks from extraction to co-production." Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews (WIREs) Climate Change 8(5) DOI:10.1002/wcc.475
- 2016. Molden, Olivia, Nicholas Griffin, and Katie Meehan. "The cultural dimensions of household water security: the case of Kathmandu's stone spout systems." Water International 41(7): 982-997.
- 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.
- 2014. Meehan, Katie. "Tool-power: water infrastructure as wellsprings of state power." Geoforum 57(1): 215-224.
- 2014. Meehan, Katie. 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, and reprinted in 2017 in Hydrosocial Territories and Water Equity: Theory, Governance and Sites of Struggle)