Ryan Holifield

Professor, Department Chair
 Bolton Hall 434


PhD, Geography, University of Minnesota, 2007
MA, Geography, University of Georgia, 2001
AB, English, Duke University, 1993

Office Hours

Please email Professor Holifield for current office hours.

Courses Taught

Geog 125 – Introduction to Environmental Geography Online Syllabus
Geog 464 – Environmental Problems Syllabus, Online Syllabus
Geog 564 – Urban Environmental Change and Social Justice Syllabus
Geog 870 – Contemporary Geographic Approaches Syllabus
Geog 905 – City, Environment, and Nature Syllabus

Research Interests

Ryan Holifield conducts research on human dimensions of environmental change, with a focus on issues of democracy, governance, policy, and social and environmental justice. His theoretical interests include urban political ecology, actor-network theory, democratic theory, critical approaches to environmental governance, and critical geographic theory more generally. His past and present research, including collaborations with graduate students and other colleagues, addresses such topics as environmental justice policy and practice in the US Environmental Protection Agency, health risk assessment at hazardous waste sites, social justice and brownfield redevelopment, voluntarism and urban parks, and the politics of urban green space and river restoration. Although he is interested in a wide range of research methods, he specializes primarily in historical and qualitative approaches to analysis.

He currently serves as Principal Investigator for the WaterMarks project, funded by the National Science Foundation Advancing Informal STEM Learning Program; this project brings artists, scientists, and community members together to learn about green infrastructure and other aspects of Milwaukee’s water systems through public art projects and collaborative programming.

Representative Publications

Holifield, R. B., & Williams, K. C.(2020) Watershed or bank-to-bank?: Scales of governance and the geographic definition of Great Lakes Areas of Concern.Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space.
Holifield, R. B., Chakraborty, J. , & Walker, G. (2018) The Routledge Handbook of Environmental Justice.Abingdon: Routledge.
Holifield, R. B.(2018) Just green spaces of urban politics: A pragmatist approach.Jonas, A. , Miller, B. , Ward, K. , & Wilson, D. (Eds). The Routledge Handbook on the Spaces of Urban Politics, 146-156. Abingdon: Routledge.
Finewood, M. , & Holifield, R. B.(2015) Critical approaches to urban water governance: From critique to justice, democracy, and transdisciplinary collaboration.Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews (WIREs): Water, 2(2), 85-96.
Holifield, R. B., & Schuelke, N. (2015) The place and time of the political in urban political ecology: Contested imaginations of a river’s future.Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 105(2), 294-303.
Holifield, R. B.(2015) Environmental justice and political ecology.Perreault, T. , Bridge, G. , & McCarthy, J. (Eds). Handbook of Political Ecology. Routledge.
Holifield, R. B.(2014) Accounting for diversity in environmental justice screening tools: Toward multiple indices of disproportionate impact.Montgomery, J. A.(Ed). Environmental Practice, 16, 77-86.