Chatham University

Environmental Studies Faculty and Staff

Michael H. Finewood Ph.D.

Michael H. Finewood
Assistant Professor of Geography and Sustainability, Falk School of Sustainability
Hometown : Charlotte, NC
Joined Chatham : 2011

Academic Areas of Interest

Political ecology, economic geography, critical theory, sustainability, water, climate change, environmental governance, and spatial analysis.


Michael Finewood is a human geographer and political ecologist with research and teaching interests in environmental governance, water, and sustainability in the Global North, with explicit attention to critical geographies and justice. As a social scientist who focuses on human/environment issues, Dr. Finewood uses qualitative methods to research environmental perception and decision-making in a range of contexts. He has conducted research on the social and ecological impacts of coastal development in South Carolina, sea level rise in Virginia, and the water-energy nexus in Pennsylvania. His current work centers on urban stormwater governance in Pittsburgh and perceptions of climate change in western PA.


  • Ph.D., Geography, University of South Carolina (Columbia, SC), 2010
  • M.A., Anthropology, University of South Carolina (Columbia, SC), 2005
  • B.A., Anthropology, North Carolina State University (Raleigh, NC), 2003


  • Michael H. Finewood and Ryan Holifield. (Expected Spring 2014). Urban Water Governance. WIRES-Water.
  • Kinne, Beth, Michael H. Finewood, and David Yoxtheimer. (Expected December 2013). Interdisciplinary analysis and important questions: A case study of natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale. Journal of the Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences.
  • Finewood, Michael H. and Louis Martin. (Expected January 2014). If that would have happened: the moral imperative of environmental history. In A Political Ecology of Exurbia. Laura Taylor and Patrick T. Hurley, eds. Springer Press.
  • Finewood, Michael H. and Laura J. Stroup. 2012. Fracking and the neoliberalization of the hydro-social cycle in Pennsylvania's Marcellus Shale. Journal of Contemporary Water Research and Education, 147:72-79.
  • Finewood, Michael H. 2012. Feeling the Squeeze: a political ecology of race and amenity-based development in coastal Bluffton, South Carolina. Local Environment, 17(9):991-1011.
  • Stroup, Laura J. and Michael H. Finewood. 2011. The Hybrid AMPE Approach: Towards more effective environmental management. Society and Natural Resources, 24(1): 85-94.
  • Finewood, Michael H. and Dwayne E. Porter. 2010. Theorizing an alternative understanding of ‘disconnects’ between science and management. Southeastern Geographer, 50(1): 130–146.



  • Finewood, Michael H. and Eric Autenreith. 2013. “The Urban Political Ecology of Flooding in Pittsburgh: a Qualitative Perspective.” AESS Annual Meeting. Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Finewood, Michael H. 2013. “Who's going to help us when our basement floods again? The political ecology of urban water governance in Pittsburgh, PA.” Part of the organized session, “Governing Land and Water” at the AAG Annual Meeting. Los Angeles, California.
  • Finewood, Michael H. 2012. “Remembering BASF: Memory, race, and the environment along the South Carolina Coast.” Part of the organized session, “Land Use Conflicts” at the AAG Annual Meeting. New York, NY.
  • Laura Stroup and Michael H. Finewood. 2011. “The political ecology of hydraulic fracking in Northeastern Pennsylvania.” Part of the organized session, “The Water-Energy Nexus” at the AAG Annual Meeting. Seattle, Washington.
  • Finewood, Michael H. 2010. “Redeveloping development: Considerations of justice in discourses of sustainable development, planning, and environmental health science.” Part of the organized session "On Demanding a Politics and Practice of Socially Just Sustainability” at the AAG Annual Meeting. Washington, D.C.
  • Finewood, Michael H. 2010. The political ecology of promulgation: Spectre v. DHEC and the neoliberalization of SC land use. The 17th Annual Critical Conference. Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
  • Finewood, Michael H. 2009. “‘Feeling the Squeeze’: Normalizing Inequalities on the South Carolina Coastal Landscape.” Part of the organized session, “Emerging Political Ecologies” at The 16th Annual Critical Geography Mini-Conference. Athens, Georgia.
  • Finewood, Michael H. 2008. “‘Getting a handle on development’: Progress and modernity in Bluffton, South Carolina.” Part of the organized session, “Subdividing nature: The political ecology of governing rural land-use change in the U.S.” at the AAG Annual Meeting. Boston, Massachusetts.