Contact & Location


Department of History

Physical Address:
Administration Bldg. 315
PHONE: (208) 885-6253
FAX: (208) 885-5221
E-MAIL: history@uidaho.edu

Mailing Address:
Department of History
c/o University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3175
Moscow, ID 83844-3175

Adam Sowards

Adam Sowards, Ph.D.

Office: Admin 319
Phone: (208) 885-0529
Email: asowards@uidaho.edu
Mailing Address: History Department - University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3175
Moscow, Idaho 83844-3175

College of Letters, Arts & Social Sciences
Department of History
Associate Professor
Director, Institute for Pacific Northwest Studies

Home Town: Greater Seattle Area
With UI Since 2003

  • Research/Focus Areas
    • North American Environmental History
    • History of the North American West
    • History of Science
  • Biography

    Adam M. Sowards is an environmental historian who focuses on North America, especially the West and is affiliate faculty with Environmental Science, Water Resources and American Studies.  A prize-winning historian, he has primarily focused on the American conservation movement and forest history.  Currently, Sowards is interested in how environment and culture affect scientific inquiry and is studying Arctic exploration and a Northwestern ecologist.  Periodically, he works with U-Idaho students, faculty, and other collaborators on regional environmental history projects, especially ones that focus on water use and management.  Sowards has been at the University of Idaho since 2003 and has been active in interdisciplinary teaching, research, and service. He has worked with dozens of graduate students in many academic programs, besides the hundreds of undergraduates who have passed through his classroom.

  • Selected Publications


      • The Environmental Justice: William O. Douglas and American Conservation. (Oregon State University Press, 2009)
      • United States West Coast, An Environmental History. (ABC-CLIO, 2007)

      Articles and Essays  

      • “Making the Idaho Landscape of 1863,” Idaho Landscapes: History, Science, and Art, special issue on the Sesquicentennial of the Creation of Idaho Territory, 2013.

      • “The Past and Future of the Columbia River.” In The Columbia River Treaty Revisited : Transboundary River Governance in the Face of Uncertainty, ed. Barbara Cosens. (Oregon State University Press, 2012) (co-authored with Paul Hirt)


      • “‘We’re All Kinda Crazy’: Smokejumpers and Western Forests.” Oral History Forum d’histoire orale 30 (2010). Special Issue: Talking Green: Oral History and the Environment:


      • “From Virgin Forest to Modern Farm: Picturing Ecological Change in Northern Idaho’s Cutover Land.” Idaho Yesterdays 50, no. 2 (2009).


      • “William O. Douglas’s Wilderness Politics: Public Protest and Committees of Correspondence in the Pacific Northwest.” Western Historical Quarterly 37, no. 1 (2006): 21-42.


  • Outreach Projects
    • Editorial Board, Journal of the West
    • Associate Editor, History for a Sustainable Future Book Series, MIT Press
    • Governing Council, Idaho Water Resources Research Institute
    • Core Faculty, Program in Environmental Science
    • Waters of the West work in local communities.
    • Sponsored lecture series through the Institute for Pacific Northwest History.
    • American Society for Environmental History, serving on several professional committees.
    • Advisory council for the Sustainable Future History Project Book Series with MIT Press.
  • Awards and Honors
    • Leadership Academy, University of Idaho, 2011-12
    • Association for American University Presses Books for Understanding, U.S. Supreme Court, for The Environmental Justice, 2010
    • Outstanding Faculty Award, Environmental Science Program, University of Idaho, 2009-10
    • Choice Outstanding Academic Title, 2008, for United States West Coast An Environmental History
    • University of Idaho Alumni Association Award for Faculty Excellence, 2008

Adam's Links

“Much of the interesting business of life is learning one way or another how to represent the earth.” Norman Maclean, Young Men and Fire (1992)