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Ellis A. Adams

Assistant Professor    

PhD Geography, Environmental Sci. & Policy), Michigan State University
M.S Environmental Policy, Michigan Technological University
B. S Natural Resources Mgt, University of Science and Technology, Ghana


Global water security, Water policy and governance, Water resources, Water-sanitation-health, Cities and informal settlements, Africa, Urban political ecology, global health, Gender, Human-environment interactions, Community-Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM)


Ellis Adjei Adams is an Assistant Professor of Global Studies and Geosciences at Georgia State University. His research lies at the intersection of human-environment interactions in cities, poor urban and peri-urban, and informal settlements of Sub-Saharan Africa. His primary research for the past few years has explored institutional, governance, and socio-political dimensions of water resources and potable water access in the Sub-Saharan African context, including the role of neoliberal, market-based privatization of urban water supply. His most recent project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant examined the impact of decentralization reforms (via community-public partnerships) on access to potable water in Malawi’s urban and peri-urban informal settlements.

Dr. Adams continues to be interested in scholarship on urban livelihoods, urban and political geography, and sustainable development, and particularly passionate about how institutions, socio-economics, politics, and culture influence access to water, sanitation, and other resources in cities and informal settlements of Sub-Saharan Africa, all in the context of population growth and unprecedented, rapid urbanization in the region. He is currently involved in two projects. The first builds on his dissertation and explores the role of social learning and co-production in the sustainability of community-public partnerships models for water delivery in urban and peri-urban informal settlements. The second project draws insights from actor-oriented political ecology to examine the complex interplay of water resources and land-tenure systems in recent large-scale land acquisitions for agricultural production in Ghana, focusing on the motivations, information asymmetries, power relations and conflicts between and among such actors as agricultural investors, traditional leaders, smallholder farmers, and communities whose livelihoods depend on water and land.


Dr. Adams’ passion for the vulnerable, marginalized, and poor in the most impoverished spaces in society drives his interdisciplinary and mixed methods approach to inquiry, one that necessarily brings relevant social theories (for eg urban and feminist political ecologies, environmental justice, social justice, common pool resource theory etc) into dialogue with applied qualitative and quantitative methods, ultimately to generate insights that can influence policy.  Dr. Adams’ research has been published in Social Indicators Research, Resources and Environment, Geoforum, and Human Geographies and funded through the National Science Foundation and numerous fellowships. He currently serves as an ad hoc reviewer for Environmental Management, Habitat International, Environmental Planning and Management, Applied Geography, Social Indicators Research, Water Resources Management, British Journal of Environment and Climate Change, Geoforum, and African Geographical Review.  


Dr. Adams holds a PhD in Geography from Michigan State University with a specialization in Environmental Science and Policy; a Masters in Environmental Policy from the Michigan Technological University; a Certificate in Sustainable Water Resources Planning from The Ohio State University; and a Bachelors in Natural Resources Management (with First Class Honors) from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana. He has an extensive teaching experience that span over a decade, and has more recently taught Introduction to Human Geography, People and Environment, World Regional Geography, Geography of US and Canada, and Physical Geography.


Adams E.A, Zulu L.C (2015). Participants or Customers in Water Governance? Community-Public Partnerships for Peri-Urban Water Supply. Geoforum 65 (112-124).

Adams E.A, Boateng O. J, Amoyaw O. J (2015). Socioeconomic and Demographic Predictors of Potable Water and Sanitation Access in Ghana. Social Indicators Research (1-15).

Adams, E. A., Halvorsen, K. (2014). Nongovernmental Organization Staff Views of Global Water Privatization. Human Geographies 8 (2):1-15


Adams E. A (2014). Behavioral Attitudes towards Water Conservation and Re-use among the United States Public. Resources and Environment 4 (3):162-167.


Otoo R, Adams EA, Boateng D, Baffour PA. (2014). Waste Management Services in the Kumasi Metropolis, Ghana. International Journal of Community Development 2(2):23-29



Tia-Adjei M., Boateng D, Adams E. A (2013). Determinants of Household Water Quality in the Tamale Metropolis, Ghana. Journal of Environment and Health Sciences 3(7):70-77