Tiffany Grobelski


Visiting Assistant Professor in Environment Geography and Earth

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/energy politics and socio-legal studies. Specifically, I am interested in social movement-led 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/energy 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 2022-23 academic year, I will be teaching:

  • Introduction to Peace Studies (PCS 211)
  • 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 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.

In Minnesota, I have been involved in efforts such as those of MN350 and its coalition partners to transition our energy system into one that's healthy and just.

Recommended links:

[New as of Summer 2022] Energy Geography Library Research Guide

American Association of Geographers

Energy and Environment Specialty Group (EESG) of the American Association of Geographers (AAG)

Energy Geographies Research Group (EnGRG) of the Royal Geographical Society (UK)

Law and Society Association

Legal Geographies Specialty Group


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-238 (Global Migration)

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
GEG-102 World Geography 9 2022/FA, 2022/SP, 2021/FA, 2021/SP, and 2020/FA
GEG-229 Energy Geography 4 2022/FA, 2021/FA, 2020/FA, and 2019/FA
GEG-101 Human Geography 4 2020/SP and 2019/FA
GEG-244 ST:Climate Justice 3 2023/JN, 2022/JN, and 2021/JN
GEG-238 Global Migration 3 2022/SP, 2021/SP, and 2020/SP
PCS-211 Introduction to Peace Studies 1 2022/FA
GEG-228 Environmental Justice 1 2020/JN