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Adam Sowards

Professor; Director, Program in Pacific Northwest Studies

Mailing Address

History Department
University of Idaho
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3175
Moscow, Idaho 83844-3175

Adam M. Sowards is an environmental historian who focuses on North America, especially the West, and is affiliate faculty with American Indian Studies, Environmental Science, Water Resources and American Studies.

  • Ph.D., History, Arizona State University, 2001
  • M.A., History, Arizona State University, 1997
  • B.A., History, University of Puget Sound, 1995

Adam M. Sowards is an environmental historian and writer who focuses on North America, especially the West. A prize-winning historian, he has primarily focused on the history of public lands and their relationship with American democracy. He works with U of I students, faculty and other collaborators on regional environmental history projects, including work in the digital humanities. 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. In addition to History, he is an affiliate faculty member in American Indian Studies, Environmental Science, Water Resources, and American Studies. Professor Sowards is committed to reaching audiences beyond universities, so you can find his writing in an array of venues.

  • Environmental History
  • History of the U.S. West



  • An Open Pit Visible from the Moon: The Wilderness Act and the Fight to Protect Miners Ridge and the Public Interest. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2020.
  • Editor. Idaho’s Place: A New History of the Gem State. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2014.
  • The Environmental Justice: William O. Douglas and American Conservation. Corvallis: Oregon State University Press, 2009.
  • United States West Coast: An Environmental History. Nature and Human Societies Series, ed. Mark Stoll. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2007.

Selected Journal Articles

  • Sometimes, It Takes a Table.” Environmental History 23, no. 1 (January 2018): 143-51. DOI:
  • “Claiming Spaces for Science: Scientific Exploration and the Canadian Arctic Expedition of 1913–1918.” Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, 47, no. 2 (2017): 164–199.
  • Sowards, A. M., & Lacabanne, B. M. (2017). Instituting water research: the Water Resources Research Act (1964) and the Idaho Water Resources Research Institute. Water History.
  • “Protecting American Lands with Justice William O. Douglas.” George Wright Forum 32, no. 2 (2015): 165-73.
  • “Mobile Nature, Cooperative Management, and Institutional Adaptation in Pacific Northwest Blister Rust Control in the 20th Century.” Pacific Northwest Quarterly 105, no. 4 (Fall 2014): 159-74. (with Rebecca Stunz) 

Selected Book Chapters

  • “Pleading for Posterity: Idaho Wilderness in Time.” In Idaho Wilderness Considered, edited by Murray Feldman and Jennifer Emery Davison, 33-48. Boise: Idaho Humanities Council, 2016.  
  • “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, 2015. 297-322.
  • 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.

  • Faculty Fellowship, Center for Digital Inquiry and Learning, University of Idaho, Fall 2018
  • Wayne N. Aspinall Visiting Chair in History, Colorado Mesa University, 2017
  • Idaho Book Award (Honorable Mention) — Idaho Library Association (for Idaho's Place: A New History of the Gem State), 2015
  • 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, 2016


Physical Address:
315 Administration Building

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

Phone: 208-885-6253

Fax: 208-885-5221


Web: History Department