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Dr. Jamie Linton
Assistant Professor (Adjunct)
Fellow, Queen’s Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy
Email: jamie.linton@queensu.ca

Currently: Visiting Professor, l'université de Paris Ouest Nanterre, France












Research Interests

Teaching Interests


Publications, Lectures, and Presentations

“Water, Problems, and Hope” (a short essay on current water issues and challenges)


Research Interests

I came to Queen’s in 2007, shortly after completing a PhD in Geography at Carleton University. My first academic discipline was political science, in which I earned an M.A. at the University of Western Ontario. My initial research interests were in the fields of political philosophy and international development, which continue to inform aspects of my work. Following employment as a researcher on environmental policy with the federal government in Ottawa and at the United Nations in New York, I worked as an independent researcher and writer focusing on environmental issues, especially those involving water. Based in Ottawa in the 1990s, I also engaged in public campaigns to legislate against large-scale water exports and to promote aquatic ecosystem health nationally and locally. I decided to pursue doctoral studies in geography because I found it to be the discipline most congenial to thinking about relations between human society and the environment. My doctoral research focused on the history of the idea water in modern, Western society, and how this particular idea has contributed to water controversies and crises. Since coming to Queen’s I have received a SSHREC Postdoctoral Fellowship and have continued to focus my research and teaching on the social dimensions of water. My current research projects include an elaboration of the concept of the ‘hydro-social cycle’ and its relevance to processes of water governance, an exploration of the idea of water as a social opportunity and its relevance to water policy in Canada, and an investigation of how the concept of water as a cultural product applies to water issues in First Nations communities in Canada.

Since January, 2012, I have been Visiting Researcher at the Université Paul Valéry, in Montpellier France. I am working with a unit specializing in the history and geography of natural resources on a project considering approaches to water conflicts in the Middle East. In this position, my research interests have expanded to include the design of mediation and social learning processes to resolve environmental conflicts and issues.

Teaching Interests

I most recently taught Geography 370 (Water and Society/Water in Social Context) in the Department of Geography at Queen’s as well as Geography 5905 (Masters Research Workshop) in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Carleton University. Geography 370 offers students an opportunity to consider the relationship between water and society from a relational and dialectical perspective. Water and human society may be understood in relation to one another: Societies are influenced in many ways by hydrological conditions; at the same time the meaning of water, its importance and the way it is used by people reflect cultural and historical circumstances. The overall aim of the course is to explore the relationship between water and human society and to reflect on current water policies and issues from this relational perspective. Geography 5905 is a workshop for Master’s students, the main objective of which is the development of a thesis proposal. A second objective of the workshop is to allow students to develop skills of critical analysis through a process which facilitates peer review of research proposals.

I have also taught the following courses at Queen’s and at other universities:
• Geography 103, Water Resources (Queen’s University)
• Geography 240, Qualitative Research and Methods (Queen’s University)
• Geography 101, Introduction to Human Geography (Queen’s University)
• Geography 250, Geography of Canada (Queen’s University)
• Geography 4300, Comparative Environmental Movements (Carleton University)
• Geography 3100A, Select Topics in Geography: The Natures of Geography. (University of Ottawa)
• Geography 3100B, Select Topics in Geography: Society and Water / Water in Social Context (University of   Ottawa)
• Geography 2200, Global Change: Economy, Culture, Environment (Carleton University)
• Political Science 230, Politics of the Environment (University of Western Ontario)


I grew up in Tillsonburg, Ontario, and have lived in Sweden, France, Prince Edward Island, New York City and the Outaouais region of Québec. Since moving to Kingston, I have become involved in local history projects – especially regarding water – and in in campaigns to promote public water services in the region. My recreational interests include Nordic skiing, mountain biking, road cycling and song-writing.

Select Publications, Lectures, and Presentations


Linton, Jamie. (2010) What is Water? The History of a Modern Abstraction. Vancouver: UBC Press.

Block, Greg, Richard Connor, Andrew Hamilton, Mary Kelly, James Linton, and Roberto Sánchez eds. (2001) North American Boundary and Transboundary Inland Water Management Report. Montreal: Éditions Yvon Blais.

Linton, Jamie. 1997. Beneath the Surface: The State of Water in Canada. Ottawa: Canadian Wildlife Federation. 144pp.

Book Chapters:

Linton, Jamie and Noah Hall. (in press) “The Great Lakes”, In Water Without Borders: Canada, the US, and Transboundary Waters, eds. E. S. Norman, A. Cohen and K. J. Bakker. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Linton, Jamie. 2012. “The Right to What? Water, Rights, People and the Relation of Things”, In The Right to Water: Politics, Governance, Social Struggles, eds. F. Sultana and A. Loftus, 45-60. London: Taylor and Francis.

Linton, Jamie. 2010. “Global Water Crisis” In World History Encyclopedia. General editor, Alfred J. Andrea.  ABC-CLIO/Greenwood, Santa Barbara, California.

Brooks, David B. and Jamie Linton. 2009. Less is More: Approaching water security and sustainability from the demand side. In Threats to Global Water Security, eds. J. A. A. Jones, T. G. Vardanian and C. Hakopian, 15-26. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Journal Articles:

Linton, Jamie, Jessica Budds and Rachael McDonnell, “The Hydrosocial Cycle: Mobilizing a Socio-Natural Concept” (in review) as lead article for a special issue of Geoforum edited by J. Budds, J. Linton and R. McDonnell.

Linton, Jamie and David B. Brooks (2011) ‘Governance of Transboundary Aquifers: New Challenges and Opportunities’. Water International 36 (5): 606-618.

Brooks, David B. and Jamie Linton. (2011) “Governance of International Aquifers: Balancing Efficiency, Equity, and Sustainability” Special Issue of the International Journal of Water Resources Development on Governance of Transboundary Water Bodies of Latin America27 (4).

Linton, Jamie (2011) “Fountains of Youth: resurrecting beaches and drinking fountains reflects a change in our relationship with water. Alternatives Journal 37(1): 8-11. 

Linton, Jamie. (2008) “Is the Hydrologic Cycle Sustainable? A Historical-Geographical Critique of a Modern Concept” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 98(3): 630-649.

Linton, Jamie. (2006) “The Social Nature of Natural Resources – the Case of Water” Reconstruction: studies in contemporary culture.6 (3) Special Issue: Water: Resources and Discourses. (online at http://reconstruction.eserver.org/063/contents.shtml)

Linton, James I. (2004) “Global Hydrology and the Construction of a Water Crisis” The Great Lakes Geographer 11(2): 1-13.

Published Studies and Reports

Linton, Jamie. (2010) “George Lilley’s Photographs and the Public Life of Water.” Historic Kingston Vol. 58: 49-55.

Linton, Jamie. (2002) “Canada on Tap: The Environmental Implications of Water Exports.” A Report Commissioned by the Council of Canadians’ Blue Planet Project. Ottawa: March 2002.

Linton, James I. (contributing author, 1998) “Canada and Freshwater: Experience and Practices”, Monograph No. 6 in the Sustainable Development in Canada series. Published in Ottawa by Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Environment Canada, 1998.

Linton, James I. (contributing author, 1996) “Fresh Water”, Chapter 10 of The State of Canada’s Environment – 1996. Ottawa: Environment Canada. 1996.

Book Reviews

Linton, Jamie (forthcoming 2013). “Engineering Nature: Water, Development, and the Global Spread of American Environmental Expertise”, by Jessica B. Teisch. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Reviewed for the Journal of Historical Geography

Linton, Jamie (2012). “Technonatures: Environments, Technologies, Spaces, and Places in the Twenty-first Century” eds. Damian F.  White and Chris Wilbert.Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfred Laurier University Press. Reviewed for The Canadian Geographer 56 (1): 151-152.

Linton, Jamie (2010). Review of Wohl, Ellen, Of Rock and Rivers: Seeking a Sense of Place in the American West. H-Water, H-Net Reviews. March, 2010. URL: http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=25610

Linton, Jamie. (2009) Review of Wooster, Margaret, Living Waters: Reading the Rivers of the Lower Great Lakes. H-Water, H-Net Reviews. October, 2009. (http://www.h-net.org/reviews/showrev.php?id=24651)

Linton, Jamie. (2009) “Rivers by Design: State Power and the Origins of U.S. Flood Control” (Karen M. O’Neill, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2006) Reviewed for the Journal of Historical Geography. 35:1 (January, 2009) 199-200.

Linton, Jamie. (2007) “Eau Canada: The Future of Canada’s Water” (Karen Bakker ed., Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2007) Reviewed for The Canadian Geographer. 51:4 (2007) 505-7.

Newspaper Opinion (op-ed) Articles:

Linton, Jamie, Carolyn Bonta and Spencer Moore. (2009) “Opening up the Road Less Traveled: City Council takes important first step to active transportation.” The Kingston Whig-Standard, Wednesday, November 24, 2008.

Linton, Jamie and David McDonald. (2008) “Let’s Restore Richardson Beach”, The Kingston Whig-Standard, July 19, 2008.

Linton, James I. (2001) “Water exporters are all wet” The Globe and Mail, May 29, p. A15.

Linton, James I. (2000) “Drinking (water) with your enemy” co-authored with David Brooks of the International Development Research Centre, The Globe and Mail, July 19, 2000 p. A17.

Linton, James I. (1993) “Does NAFTA let the US drink Canada dry?” The Globe and Mail, November 19, 1993, p. A19.

Linton, James I. (1990) “Maybe the Americans can be more like us” The Globe and Mail, January 4, p. A7.

Academic Conference Papers

“An Idea Flows Through Space and Time: The Fate of the Global Water Balance”. Presented at the International Conference of Historical Geographers, the University of Prague, Prague, Czech Republic, August 9, 2012.

“The Hydrologic Cycle and the Hydrosocial Cycle: From Management to Governance of Water.” Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Washington, DC. April 17, 2010.

“The Right to What? Water, Rights, People and the Relation of Things” Presented at The Right To Water, an international conference held at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, Syracuse New York, 29-30 March, 2010.

“Beasting the Picture: Petromyzon marinus (the sea lamprey) in the Great Lakes and the Production of Aquatic Space”. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association of Geographers, Carleton University, Ottawa, May 27, 2009.

“The Hydrosocial Cycle and the Politics of Drinking”. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Las Vegas, Nevada. March 23-27, 2009.

“Invasive Spaces: An historical geography of the sea lamprey, Petromyzon marinus, in the Great Lakes basin”. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association of Geographers, Université Laval, Québec, May 23, 2008.

“‘Man and the hydrologic cycle is a story in itself....’ (but not the whole story!)”. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Boston, MA, April 15, 2008.

“Less is More: Approaching water security and sustainability from the demand side”, by David B. Brooks and Jamie Linton. Presented by David Brooks at “Natural Disasters and Water” a NATO Advanced Research Workshop, Yerevan State University, Yerevan, Armenia. 18 - 22 October 2007.

“Water as a Geographical Solution”. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, San Francisco, CA, April 18, 2007.

“The Social Nature of Natural Resources: The Case of Water”. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association of Geographers, University of Western Ontario, May 31-June 4, 2005.

“The Social Nature of Water: The Hydrologic Cycle”. Paper presented at the Fourth International Conference of Critical Geography, Mexico City, January 8-12, 2005.

“Two Histories of the Hydrologic Cycle”. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association of Geographers (Ontario Division), University of Waterloo, Ontario, October 30, 2004.

“Re-Reading Innis in Light of Poststructural Political Ecology: Towards an Ante-Staple Approach”. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association of Geographers, Université de Moncton, New Brunswick, May 25-29, 2004.

“Hydrology and the Construction of a Crisis”. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association of Geographers (Ontario Division), Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario. October 25, 2003.

“Variations on the Meaning of Water”. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association of Geographers, University of Toronto, Ontario, June 1, 2002.

Invited Lectures and Seminars

September 20, 2012. ‘L’apprentissage social comme une réponse à l’incertitude hydrologique’ (Social learning as a response to hyrological uncertainty) , presentation given at the ART-Dev seminar, Université Paul Valéry, Montpellier, France,.

July 19, 2012. “The Prospects of Mediation in a Prospective Israeli-Palestinian Water-Sharing Agreement”, seminar given at Mixed Research Unit ART-Dev., Université Paul Valéry, Montpellier, France.

June 12, 2012. ‘Hydrological Uncertainty: Causes and Responses”, invited presentation given at “The Ethnography of Water Politics”, Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen Denmark.

May 16, 2012. “Normalizing Conflict as a Response to Hydrological Uncertainty”, presentation given at the international workshop on “Governing Water in the Face of Uncertainty”, The Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

June 17, 2011. ‘The hydrologic cycle and the hydrosocial cycle’, invited seminar given at Durham University, UK.

June 15, 2011. ‘Politics of modern water’, invited seminar given at the Open University, Milton Keynes, UK.

June 14, 2011. ‘Politics of modern water’, invited seminar given at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK.

June 9, 2011. ‘How modern water generates inequality’, invited seminar given at Université Montpellier, France.

June 7, 2011. ‘Hydrosystems and Hydropolitics’, invited seminar given at Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, France.

November, 2010. ‘Water and Opportunity: a theme for transborder research’, talk given at Transborder University Network (TRUN) Consortium Meeting II, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI., November 2010.

August, 2010. ‘The History and the Mystery of Water’. Culture and Company Speaker Series, Kingston, Ontario.

October 20, 2009. “Hydrosocial Dialectics and the James Bay Hydroelectric Development.” Public lecture given at Sir Wilfred Grenfell College, Memorial University, Corner Brook, Newfoundland.

September 18, 2009. « Le cycle hydrologique et le cycle hydrosocial : gestion et gouvernance de l’eau » Public lecture given at l’Université de Montréal, Montréal Québec.

February 20, 2009. “Hydrology, the Hydrologic Cycle and Water Resources.” Public lecture given at Central Washington University, Ellensburg, Washington.

April 3, 2008. “The Life and Death of Public Waters”. Public lecture convened by the Students’ Committee of the Political Studies Department, Queen’s University. Kingston, Ontario.

February 18, 2008. “Geography, Nature and Water”. Public lecture given at the Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts (Amherst).

March 28, 2007. “Why it is Important to Think About the Way We Think About Water”, Public lecture given at the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta.

January 25, 2007. “Is the (Concept of the) Hydrologic Cycle Sustainable?” Lecture presented at the Sigma Xi, Scientific Research Society, National Research Council, Ottawa, Ontario.

November 9, 2005. “What is Water Scarcity?” Presentation for Interactive Workshop on International Development Issues, sponsored by Oxfam, Canada. Ottawa, Ontario.

July 21, 2001 “The Real Value of Water.” Presentation at Water for People and Nature, an International Conference organized by the Council of Canadians, Vancouver, British Columbia.

June 15, 2000. “Water Issues – a Canadian Perspective.” Presentation to the U.S. National Wildlife Federation, Annual General Meeting, Seattle, Washington.