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

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 and Water Resources.  A prize-winning historian, he has primarily focused on the American conservation movement and forest history. Sowards is interested in how environment and culture affect scientific inquiry and environmental management. He is especially interested in the history of public lands. He works with U-Idaho students, faculty, and other collaborators on regional environmental history projects, especially ones that focus on forest and 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


    Editor. Idaho’s Place: A New History of the Gem State. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2014. http://www.washington.edu/uwpress/search/books/SOWIDA.html

    The Environmental Justice: William O. Douglas and American Conservation. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 2009. http://osupress.oregonstate.edu/book/environmental-justice

    United States West Coast: An Environmental History. Nature and Human Societies Series, ed. Mark Stoll. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2007. 

    Guest Journal Editing           

     Editor. “Environmentalism in the American West.” Special issue, Journal of the West 50, no. 1 (Winter 2011).

    Selected Journal Articles

     “Making the Idaho Landscape of 1863.” Idaho Landscapes (March 2013): 5-17.

    “Roots and Branches: Environmentalism and the American West.” In “Environmentalism in the American West,” edited by Adam M. Sowards. Special issue, Journal of the West 50, no. 1 (Winter 2011): 9-12.

    “‘We’re All Kinda Crazy’: Smokejumpers and Western Forests.” In “Talking Green: Oral History and Environmental History,” edited by Alan MacEachern and Ryan O’Connor. Special issue, Oral History Forum d’histoire orale 30 (2010): 

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

    Selected Book Chapters        

    “Rexford Daubenmire and the Ecology of Place: Applied Ecology in the Mid-Twentieth-Century American West.” In New Perspectives on the History of Life Sciences and Agriculture, edited by Denise Phillips and Sharon Kingsland, 313-40. New York: Springer. [Forthcoming 2015]

    With Paul Hirt. “The Past and Future of the Columbia River.” In The Columbia River Treaty Revisited: Transboundary River Governance in the Face of Uncertainty, edited by Barbara Cosens, 115-36. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 2012.

  • Outreach Projects

    • Associate Editor, History for a Sustainable Future Book Series, MIT Press
    • Book Review Editor, Idaho Yesterdays
    • 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)