Christopher S. Sneddon

Academic Appointments

Chair of Geography
Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies

My research and teaching interests come together around the question of how to reconcile human activities with the long-term resilience and vulnerability of ecological systems. Most of my work has focused on human uses of water and, in particular, on the transformation of river basins due to large-scale development. Much of this research has focused on "third world" settings in the twentieth century-e.g., the Mekong River Basin-but has applications to a variety of historical and geographical contexts. One of my primary interests is analysis of social conflicts over water, and a current project (working with colleagues in Dartmouth's Geography Department) examines the social dimensions of dam removal in New England. At a theoretical level, I draw inspiration from ongoing discussions in political ecology, ecological theory, concepts of power, how to think about geographical scale, and ideas regarding nature-society relations. I recently completed a book titled Concrete Revolution: Large Dams, Cold War Geopolitics, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation published by the University of Chicago Press and due for release in September 2015. At Dartmouth, I teach courses on political ecology, nature-society relations, qualitative research methods, the geopolitics of development, the envrionmental politics of Southeast Asia, and environmental history.

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My education and experiences over the past 15 years reflect these interests. After receiving a B.S. in Zoology from the University of Wisconsin in 1987, I served in the U.S. Peace Corps as a fisheries volunteer in the province of Kalinga-Apayao, Republic of the Philippines from 1988 to 1990. This was a transformative experience, and paved the way for my current interests in combining ecological knowledge and social theory to address complex environmental dilemmas in the context of internaitonal development. I completed my M.S. in Resource Policy and Planning at the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources and Environment in 1993. My Master's research focused on environmental movements in Southeast Asia. My doctoral research, which culminated with a Ph.D. in Geography at the University of Minnesota in 2000, focused on conflicts over water in Northeast Thailand. 

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Fairchild 123
HB 6017
Environmental Studies
The John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding
B.S. University of Wisconsin
M.S. University of Michigan
Ph.D. University of Minnesota

Selected Publications

Sneddon, C. In Press. Concrete Revolution: The Bureau of Reclamation, Cold War Geopolitics and Large Dams. Chicago: University of Chicago Press (expected September 2015).

Sneddon, C. 2013. “Water, governance and hegemony.” In Harris, L., Goldin, J. and C. Sneddon (eds) Contemporary Water Governance in the Global South: Scarcity, Marketization and Participation. New York: Routledge, pp. 13-24.

Sneddon, C. 2012. The “Sinew of Development”: Cold War geopolitics, technological expertise and river alteration in Southeast Asia, 1954-1975. Social Studies of Science 42(4):564-590.

Sneddon, C. and C. Fox. 2012. Inland capture fisheries and large river systems: A political economy of Mekong fisheries. Journal of Agrarian Change 12(2/3):279-299.

Sneddon, C. and C. Fox. 2012. Water, geopolitics, and economic development in the conceptualization of a region. Eurasian Geography and Economics 53(1):143-160.

Sneddon, C. and C. Fox. 2011. The Cold War, the US Bureau of Reclamation and the technopolitics of river basin development, 1950-1970. Political Geography, 30(8):450-460.

Sneddon, C. and C. Fox. 2008. Power, development and institutional change: participatory governance in the Lower Mekong basin. World Development 35(12):2161-2181.

Sneddon, C. 2007. “Nature’s” materiality and the circuitous paths of accumulation: dispossession of riverine fisheries in Cambodia. Antipode 39(1):167-193.

Sneddon, C., Howarth, R. B. and R. B. Norgaard. 2006. Sustainable Development in a Post-Brundtland World. Ecological Economics 57:253-268.

Sneddon, C. and C. Fox. 2006. Rethinking transboundary waters: a critical hydropolitics of the Mekong basin. Political Geography 25:181-202.

Sneddon, C. 2003. Reconfiguring scale and power: the Khong-Chi-Mun project in Northeast Thailand. Environment and Planning A 35:2229-2250.

Sneddon, C. 2000. ‘Sustainability’ in ecological economics, ecology and livelihoods: a review. Progress in Human Geography 24(4): 521-549.

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