Ellis Adjei Adams is an assistant professor of geography and environmental policy in the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame. He is affiliated with Notre Dame’s Environmental Change Initiative and the Eck Institute for Global Health.
Prior to arriving at Notre Dame, Adams was an assistant professor of global studies and geosciences at Georgia State University. He earned a PhD in geography, environment, and spatial sciences from Michigan State University, an MS in environmental policy from Michigan Tech University, and a BS in natural resources management from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana.
Adams’ work examines the social, political, institutional, and governance dimensions of environmental and natural resources, particularly water. Trained as a human environmental geographer with expertise bridging the natural and social sciences, he is broadly interested in nature-society relations. His research to date has primarily focused on understanding human-water interactions in different urban contexts in the Global South.
His current research converges on three main domains: 1) urban water insecurity, 2) water policy and governance, and 3) gender, water, and sustainable development. The first explores the causes and socioeconomic consequences of household water insecurity in urban areas; the second examines how policy (public, private, community-based, etc.) and power relations influence access to water; and the third explores the multiple relationships between gender, water, and sustainable development. Theoretically, his work draws from and contributes to political ecology, feminist political ecology, environmental justice, and common pool resources theory.
Adams has conducted fieldwork principally in Africa (Ghana, Malawi, and Uganda), with emerging interests in Brazil and the United States. He is a co-principal investigator on a $398,482 National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded project “Analyzing the Magnitude, Variability, and Governance of Infrastructure-Mediated Flows in Atlanta” with collaborators at Georgia State University. His research has been published in Geoforum, Political Geography, Land Use Policy, Science of the Total Environment, Environment and Urbanization, Cities, Food Policy, Journal of Environmental Management, International Journal of Water Resources Development, and featured by media outlets such as the Conversation.
Adams was the recipient of the 2020 Distinguished Emerging Scholar Award in African Geography from the Association of American Geographers and a co-recipient of the Nabuo Maeda International Research Award from the American Public Health Association. He is currently consulting for the World Bank to develop a WASH and Health Index for Africa.