Tiffany Grobelski


Visiting Assistant Professor in Geography

I am originally from the Chicago area.  Before coming to Gustavus, I worked for two years on the front lines of humanitarian legal rights’ implementation, as an asylum officer for the United States Department of Homeland Security.  I was based in the vibrant city of New Orleans.  I interviewed migrants from 49 different countries and adjudicated hundreds of cases.

My research and teaching interests are in environmental politics and socio-legal studies. Specifically, I am interested in environmental legal mobilization, and in the nexus between environmental and human rights.  My work adjudicating migrants' asylum claims has expanded the scope of my interests from a focus on environmental governance to a growing interest in migration governance. Both policy areas fall within the realm of administrative law, which I see as an extremely important area of study for geographers and social scientists.


For the 2021-22 academic year, I will be teaching:

  • World Geography (GEG 102)
  • Energy Geography (GEG 229)
  • Global Migration (GEG 238)
  • Climate Justice & its Discontents (J-Term)


I am a legal geographer, which means I scrutinize the relationship between law, society, and space.  Some of the "big" questions I ask include:

  • What role does law play in creating social and environmental change?
  • What political opportunities do legal systems, at various scales, create for non-state actors?
  • How does contact with the government impact how people think about the legal system and their role in it?
  • How do individuals and societal groups conceive of, interact with, and try to change, the operations of state power?

My research to date has examined how environmental advocates in Poland have mobilized administrative law (sometimes called procedural rights) to further their goals, and why it matters.  Some examples I analyze in my research include:

  • efforts by public interest environmental lawyers to block development of coal-fired power plants
  • the campaign by residents of Krakow to improve air quality in their city through a ban on domestic solid fuel combustion  
  • controversies around the environmental impacts of shale gas exploration in Poland

Community Involvement

I seek to support community radio as well as local environmental restoration and environmental justice efforts.

In Seattle, I developed curriculum for the environmental justice organization Community Coalition for Environmental Justice (the precursor to Got Green), as well as the radio station KEXP

In New Orleans, I volunteered with an organization called SOUL (Sustaining Our Urban Landscape) which is involved in efforts to reforest New Orleans.

Although new to Minnesota, I am becoming involved in the efforts of MN350 to transition our energy system into one that's healthy and just.

Recommended links:

American Association of Geographers

Law and Society Association

Legal Geographies Specialty Group

HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Alliance and Collaboratory)


KEXP (Seattle, WA)

KBCS (Bellevue, WA)

KRCL (North Utah)

WMOT (Middle Tennessee)

WWOZ (New Orleans)

KMSU (Mankato, MN)

KCMP (St. Paul, MN)

KFAI (Minneapolis, MN)


Ph.D., Geography, University of Washington; M.A., Geography, University of Washington; B.A. Environmental Sciences, Northwestern University

Courses Taught

GEG-102 (World Geography) and GEG-229 (Energy Geography)

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
GEG-102 World Geography 4 2021/SP and 2020/FA
GEG-101 Human Geography 4 2020/SP and 2019/FA
GEG-238 Global Migration 2 2021/SP and 2020/SP
GEG-229 Energy Geography 2 2020/FA and 2019/FA
GEG-244 ST:Climate Justice 1 2021/JN
GEG-228 Environmental Justice 1 2020/JN