Sarah Kelly-Richards

About Sarah Kelly-Richards

Doctoral Research:

I am a human-environment geographer and a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Geography and Development.  My doctoral research examines small hydropower conflicts in southern Chile, and their implications for indigenous rights and water security. I bring together ethnographic research with legal institutional analysis through participatory research with local collaborators. My advisor is Dr. Carl Bauer. I am currently an InterAmerican Foundation Fellow in Chile. 

Key words: political ecology, participatory research, water governance, indigenous rights, territory, renewable energy, environmental policy

Masters Research:

In 2013, I completed a masters degree in Geography at the University of Arizona, which was titled: "The Codependence of Land Tenure and Sanitation Access in Nogales, Sonora." For this research project, I conducted semi-structured interviews and participatory research building a composting toilet with technical students and residents of an informally established colonia (neighborhood), looking at the politics and challenges of binational sanitation and water provision on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Courses taught:

GEOG 497F/597F - UA Community and School Garden Workshop


Kelly-Richards, S. H., & Banister, J. M. (2015). A state of suspended animation: Urban sanitation and water access in Nogales, Sonora. Political Geography.

Moore, S. A., Wilson, J., Kelly-Richards, S., & Marston, S. A. (2015). School Gardens as Sites for Forging Progressive Socioecological Futures. Annals of the Association of American Geographers105(2), 407-415.

Radonic, L., & Kelly-Richards, S. (2015). Pipes and praxis: An applied methodological contribution to the urban political ecology of water. Journal of Political Ecology 22, 389-409.

Scott, C., Crootof, A., & Kelly-Richards, S. (2016). The urban water-energy nexus: Drivers and responses to global change in the ‘Urban Century.’ (Ed). Hiroshan, H. Advancing a nexus approach to the sustainable management of water, soil, and waste. 


2016-17        P.E.O. Scholar, P.E.O. International 

2016-17        Grassroots Development Field Research Fellowship, Inter-American Foundation 

2016              U.S. Fulbright Scholar, Chile, J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board 

2016              Climate and Society Fellow, Climate Assessment of the Southwest, UA 

Public Scholarship:

Click this link to watch a Carson Scholar video of my research interests

House-Peters, L., and Kelly-Richards, S. Political Ecology of Bordered Spaces (introduction to co-organized conference sessions and cureated blog special issue. Public Political Ecology Lab. 

Kelly-Richards, S. Batallamos para agua: The less visible security concerns of water and wastewater infrastructure on the U.S.-Mexico Border. Public Political Ecology Lab.

 House-Peters, L., Kelly-Richards, S., Radonic, L., Minor, J., & Quinn, J. PPEL Report: Political Ecology Critical Theory and Mixed Methods. Public Political Ecology Lab. 


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Contact Information

Sarah Kelly-Richards
Ph.D. Candidate
Office: ENR2 S570-DD
Office Hours: By appointment only