John Wagner


Other Titles: Undergraduate Program Advisor
Office: ART 262
Phone: 250.807.9318

Research Summary

Environmental anthropology; political ecology; water governance; food security and food sovereignty, local ecological knowledge, conservation and development, language documentation, Okanagan Valley, Columbia River Basin and the Columbia River Treaty, Papua New Guinea.

Courses & Teaching

ANTH 245 Culture and Environment; ANTH 401 Contemporary Theory in Anthropology; ANTH 345 Living in the Anthropocene; ANTH 445 Political Ecology; IGS 586 Community Engagement, Social Change, and Equity.


PhD, McGill
MA, University of Victoria
BA, University of Victoria

Selected Publications & Presentations

Books and Book Chapters

Wagner, John and Jerry Jacka (eds.). 2018. Island Rivers: Freshwater and Place in Oceania. Canberra: ANU Press.

Wagner, John. 2018. Rivers of Memory and Forgetting. In Island Rivers: Freshwater and Place in Oceania. Canberra: ANU Press.

Wagner, John, Edvard Hviding, Jerry Jacka, Alex Mawyer and Marama Leigh Muru-Lanning. 2018. Rivers as Ethnographic Subject. Introduction to Island Rivers: Freshwater and Place in Oceania. Canberra: ANU Press.

Wagner, John (ed.). 2013. The Social Life of Water. New York: Berghahn Books.

Journal Articles

Wagner, John and Joanne Taylor. 2019. La Nation du Bassin du Columbia. Un Modèle de Gouvernance de L’eau pour le XXIe Siècle. Anthropologie et Sociétés 43(3).

Hossen, Anwar and John Wagner 2015. The Need for Community Inclusion in Water Basin Governance In Bangladesh. Bandung: Journal of the Global South 2015(2):18.

Wagner, John. 2012. Water and the Commons Imaginary. Current Anthropology 53(5):617-641.

Wagner, John and Kasondra White. 2009. Water and Development in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. Journal of Enterprising Communities 3(4):378-392.

Wagner, John. 2008. Landscape Aesthetics, Water and Settler Colonialism in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. Journal of Ecological Anthropology 12:22-38.

Davis, Anthony and John Wagner. 2003. Who Knows? On the Importance of Identifying ‘Experts’ when Researching Local Ecological Knowledge. Human Ecology 31(3):463-489.

Films and Exhibitions

Longenecker, Kenneth, Christine Schreyer, John Wagner and the staff of the Bishop Museum. Kala Biŋatuwã: Bones of the Words: The Kala Language Documentation Project. An exhibition on display in the Bishop Museum, Honolulu, HI, beginning in February, 2021.

Mettler, C., A. Dulic, J. Angel, J. Coble, J. Marshall, J. Wagner, K. Holland and L. Digby. 2016. The Social Life of Water in the Okanagan Valley: Past, Present and Future. This museum exhibition was displayed continuously from Oct, 2016 to April, 2019 at various museums and other venues throughout the Okanagan Valley.

Schreyer, Christine and John Wagner. 2015. The Kala Film Project: Kala Walo Nua. Written and produced by John Wagner and Christine Schreyer. Edited by Randy Grice. Published online Oct 22, 2015.

Selected Grants & Awards

Co-investigator, Watershed Ecosystems Project, 2020-23, supported by a UBC Eminence Grant. This is a collaborative, community-engaged project focused on Peachland Creek in the Okanagan Valley.

Co-investigator, Okanagan Waterways Touring Exhibition and Speaker Series, 2021-22, supported by a SSHRC  Connections grant.

Co-PI, Columbia River Field Trip (organized in collaboration with the Pacific Northwest Canadian Studies Consortium), 2018, supported by a UBC and UW Collaborative Research Mobility Award.

Co-investigator, Documentation of the Kala Language through an Interdisciplinary, Community-Based Study of the Aquatic Environment, 2016-2020, supported by a US National Science Foundation – Documenting Endangered Languages Grant.

Principal Investigator, The Social Life of Water in the Okanagan Valley, 2016-17, supported by a SSHRC Connections Grant.

Principal Investigator, SSHRC Insight Development Grant, 2012-2014, Water Governance and Agriculture in the Columbia River Basin.


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