Noah Silber-Coats

Ph.D. Candidate

I am a human-environment geographer who draws on the tools of political ecology and agrarian studies to study the political-economic, cultural, and environmental dynamics of commodity booms and busts.

My dissertation project examines the dynamics of cannabis agriculture in the context of the shift from prohibition to legalization, focusing on Southern Oregon. I am interested in how legalization regimes are being constructed by the diverse set of actors - policy-makers, law enforcement, growers and grower organizations, investors, private goverance initiatives -  seeking to shape the future of this booming commodity. At the same time, I am exploring how the shift to legalization affects agricultural practice at the farm level as both the institutional and market context for growers is rapidly transformed.

My master's work examined the political economy of "small" hydropower in Mexico, connecting a case study of a river basin in Veracruz and Puebla with broader shifts in water and energy governance in Mexico. You can read about that project here and here. Along with a group of SGD colleagues, we synthesized insights on small hydropower from multiple contexts into a paper in Energy Policy, which you can read here. 

I also write work inspired by critical geography for non-academic audiences. You can read my pieces about urban development in Nogales, Sonora and Tucson, Arizona in NACLA, and you are here: the journal of creative geography.