Nolin, Dr. Catherine

Catherine Nolin
BA Geography (University of Calgary), MA, PhD (Queen's University at Kingston, 2000) Professor, Geography Department Chair, Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Email: Phone:
Website: Office:
Teaching Lab 8-148
  • Prince George


I am a social geographer with two broad areas of research interest that connect in many ways and often overlap: Guatemala/Violence/Development/Justice and Migration/Transnationalism/Refugee Studies.

I am a Professor of Geography and Chair of the Department of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at UNBC (newly re-named in April 2021). Since July 2020, I have been honoured to Chair the Conference of Latin American Geography (CLAG) organization. CLAG is the premier organization for geographers engaging in research in Latin America and the Caribbean and works to foster research, education, and service related to Latin American geographical studies. I consider myself a long-time insurgent researcher and social justice advocate, including more than 25 years grappling with the afterlives of the Guatemalan genocides.

I have been fortunate to work with Grahame Russell of Rights Action for almost 20 years to organize and facilitate field schools to Guatemala for undergraduate and graduate students. We recently co-edited the book "Testimonio: Canadian Mining in the Aftermath of Genocides in Guatemala" which will be published by Between the Lines Press in October 2021. A contract to publish a previous version of this manuscript was abruptly terminated by international academic publisher Springer Nature in July 2020 - a strange tale that we detail here in an open/public letter.

My book, Transnational Ruptures: Gender and Forced Migration (2006), on issues of Guatemalan political violence and forced migration to Canada, was published by Ashgate.

Finally, a former graduate student, Jennifer Reade, and I published a revised version of her MA thesis as: Empowering Women: Community Development in Rural Guatemala.

Research and Expertise

Critical development studies; field schools, political violence, violence of 'development,' mining injustice, social justice, human rights, transnationalism, forced migration, qualitative research methodologies, Guatemala & northern BC.

Dr. Nolin's current research projects explores the twin concepts of violence and development in the context of the Canadian mining companies operating in Guatemala. Qualitative, community-based, insurgent geographical research explores the social and political dimensions of natural resource extraction on Indigenous lands carried out in the name of 'development.’ Additionally, partnerships with the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation (FAFG) and the Peruvian Forensic Anthropology Team (EPAF) enable research and teaching opportunities that build on geography’s interdisciplinary approaches to issues of social justice, human rights, war crimes, and contemporary experiences of structural violence. Dr. Nolin earned her PhD from Queen's University.

Research Fields:
  • Geography
  • Human Rights
  • Natural Resources
Areas of Expertise:

Guatemala, Central America, Canadian mining abroad, Forced Migration, Structural Violence, State Violence, Indigenous Rights, Human Rights, Social Justice, Experiential Learning, Field Schools, Genocide Studies, Refugees, Qualitative Research, Gender

Currently accepting graduate students
Supervises in:
  • PhD NRES
  • MA NRES Geography
  • MA Interdisciplinary Studies
Available to be contacted by the media as a subject matter expert

Selected Publications