Dr. Sarah Marie Wiebe (she/her)

Dr. Sarah Marie Wiebe (she/her)
Assistant Professor and Academic Undergraduate Advisor
Office: HSD A346

PhD (University of Ottawa)

Area of expertise

Environmental justice, Public engagement, Critical policy studies, Climate emergencies and displacement, States of emergency, Interpretive research and arts-based methods, Community development, Indigenous community engagement and governance

Dr. Sarah Marie Wiebe grew up on Coast Salish territory in British Columbia, BC. She is an Assistant Professor in the School of Public Administration at the University of Victoria and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Hawai'i, Mānoa with a focus on community development and environmental sustainability. She is a Co-Founder of the FERN (Feminist Environmental Research Network) Collaborative and has published in journals including New Political Science, Citizenship Studies and Studies in Social Justice. Her book Everyday Exposure: Indigenous Mobilization and Environmental Justice in Canada's Chemical Valley (2016) with UBC Press won the Charles Taylor Book Award (2017) and examines policy responses to the impact of pollution on the Aamjiwnaang First Nation's environmental health. Alongside Dr. Jennifer Lawrence (Virginia Tech), she is the Co-Editor of Biopolitical Disaster and along with Dr. Leah Levac (Guelph), the Co-Editor of Creating Spaces of Engagement: Policy Justice and the Practical Craft of Deliberative Democracy. At the intersections of environmental justice and citizen engagement, her teaching and research interests emphasize political ecology, policy justice and deliberative dialogue. As a collaborative researcher and filmmaker, she worked with Indigenous communities on sustainability-themed films including To Fish as Formerly. She is currently collaborating with artists from Attawapiskat on a project entitled Reimagining Attawapiskat funded through a SSHRC Insight Development Grant. Sarah is also a Co-Director for the Seascape Indigenous Storytelling Studio, funded through a SSHRC Insight Grant with research partners from the University of Victoria, University of British Columbia and coastal Indigenous communities.

Research Interests/Active Areas of Student Recruitment

  • Environmental justice, sustainability politics and policies, environmental politics and theory, critical ecofeminism, gender and the environment, climate emergencies, climate change
  • Public engagement, deliberative democracy, grounded theory
  • Critical policy studies, governmentality studies, Intersectionality-based policy analysis
  • Biopolitics, health policy and politics, reproductive health and justice
  • Interpretive research and arts-based methods, political ethnography, critical discourse analysis, mixed media storytelling
  • Crisis, disaster and emergency planning, preparedness and response
  • Indigenous community engagement and governance

Informed by the prismatic and layered lenses of interpretive analysis, policy justice and participatory policy-making, my research explores the entanglements between citizens, policies and ecosystems. In general terms, my research interests are oriented around four areas of inquiry.

First, I examine how public policies affect situated communities and citizens, and how these citizens encounter, resist, respond to political forces in their everyday lives. My current work examines how environmental justice public policies - or the lack of such policies - affect Indigenous peoples in Canada. To address apparent gaps in policy-making, I am interested in the politics of citizen engagement and creative deliberative dialogue.

Second, to evaluate these policies, entanglements, engagements and encounters between affected parties and decision-makers, I employ a critical policy studies approach. From a sensing policy framework, I suggest that policy-makers will be better-equipped to explore alternative forms of communication and reflect diverse voices through creative public engagement. As discussed in my book Everyday Exposure: Indigenous Mobilization and Environmental Justice in Canada’s Chemical Valley and in the journal article Sensing Policy: Engaging Affected Communities at the Intersections of Environmental Justice and Decolonial Futures, sensing policy entails recognition that policy-making is a multi-dimensional process, which necessarily involves recognition of: citizen's lived-experiences, situated bodies of knowledge, multi-layered analysis and geopolitical location.

Third, to connect this sensing policy framework to practice, I draw from tools of arts-based participatory action research to document, visualize and give presence to embodied encounters between citizens and politics through a multi-layered analysis, scaled from the global to the intimate. This approach engages with tools of participatory governance and deliberative dialogue.

Fourth, contributing both to the theory and practice of environmental justice scholarship, I am particularly interested in interrogating political encounters at the biopolitical and geopolitical nexus, to explore human/more-than-human relations in order to expand debates in environmental political theory, ecofeminist thought and deliberative democracy.

In all the work that I do, I attempt to challenge extractivism and centre a caring, embodied approach to research, teaching and engagement. I tend to ask political questions such as: what vital and geopolitical forces are at stake in the citizen's everyday experiences living in compromised environments? How do officials represent the experiences of those most directly affected by environment, health and natural resource policies? In what ways might these relationships be thought of and felt otherwise to enable healthy, vibrant and environmentally sustainable futures?


CD501 – Setting the Foundations for Community Change

CD526 – Communication and Engagement



Special Issues

Wiebe, Sarah Marie, Laurence Butet-Roch and Kauwila Mahi, eds (2021). Journal of Environmental Media: Currents of crisis: Emergent life beyond the climate emergency across the Pacific. Vol. 2(1).

Fisher, Josh, Mary Mostafanezhad, Alex Nading and Sarah Marie Wiebe, eds (2021). Environment and Society: Cultivating Ecological Practices for Troubled Times. Special Issue on Pollution and Toxicity. Vol 12(1).

Authored Articles

Wiebe, Sarah Marie (2021). "Sensing Empire at Sea: SONAR, Kanaloa, and Indigenous Marine Sovereignty", Special Issue on "Sounds of the Anthropocene", Sensate.

Wiebe, Sarah Marie (2020). “Crisis Atmospheres: Sensing Life on Alert, A Visceral Response to Tim Luke’s Anthropocene Alerts”, New Political Science. In press.

Rachel Yacaaʔał George and Sarah Marie Wiebe (2020). “Fluid Decolonial Futures: Water as Life, Ocean Citizenship and Seascape Relationality”, New Political Science. In press.

Wiebe, Sarah Marie, Erynne M. Gilpin and Laurence Butet-Roch (2020). “Reimagining Attawapiskat:  Indigenous youth voices, community engagement and mixed media storytelling”, Journal of Environmental Media. Vol 1(2): 145-166.

Wiebe, Sarah Marie and Max Ritts (2020). “The Story of Wānanalua: Stranded whales and contested marine sovereignties in Hawaiʻi”, Environment and Space Planning E: Nature and Space. In press.

Wiebe, Sarah Marie (2019). “Sensing Policy: Engaging Affected Communities at the Intersections of Environmental Justice and Decolonial Futures”, Politics, Groups and Identities. Vol 8(1): 181-193.

Wiebe, Sarah Marie  (2019). “ʻJust’ Stories or “Just Stories?: Mixed Media Storytelling as a Prism for Environmental Justice and Decolonial Futures”, Engaged Scholar Journal. Vol 5(2): 19-35.

Wiebe, Sarah Marie et al. (2017), “Traveling Together? Navigating the Practice of Collaborative Engagement in Coast Salish Communities”, Engaged Scholar Journal. 2(1): 125-144.

Bagelman, J. and S. M. Wiebe (2017). "Intimacies of global toxins: exposure and resistance in Chemical Valley", Political Geography. 60(76-85).

Wiebe, Sarah Marie (2016). “Guardians of the Environment in Canada’s Chemical Valley”, Citizenship Studies. 20(1): 18-33.

Wiebe, Sarah Marie (2015). “Decolonizing Engagement? Creating a Sense of Community through Collaborative Filmmaking”, Studies in Social Justice, special issue on “Scholarship and Activism”. 9(2): 244-257.


Leah Levac and Sarah Marie Wiebe, eds. Creating Spaces of Engagement: Policy Justice and the Practical Craft of Deliberative Democracy. University of Toronto Press, 2020.

Jennifer Lawrence and Sarah Marie Wiebe, eds. Biopolitical Disaster, Routledge, Interventions series, 2017.

Wiebe, Sarah Marie. Everyday Exposure: Indigenous Mobilization and Environmental Justice in Canada's Chemical ValleyVancouver: UBC Press (2016). Recipient of the Charles Taylor Book Award, 2017.

Book Chapters

Wiebe, Sarah Marie, “Vibrant Seascapes, Storied Lives: Environmental Reproductive Justice Across the Pacific”, Turbulent Times, Transformation Possibilities? Gender and Politics Today and Tomorrow, F. MacDonald & A. Dobrowolsky, eds. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Wiebe, Sarah Marie, “Decolonizing research through documentary film? Indigenous environmental justice and community-engagement in Canada - lessons from the field”, chapter in Ethics in participatory research for health and social well-being, Sarah Banks and Mary Brydon-Miller, eds. Routledge.

Wiebe, Sarah Marie, “Hearing or Listening? Pipeline Politics and the Art of Engagement in British Columbia”, Bringing Intersectionality to Policy, Julia Jordan-Zachary and Olena Hankivsky, eds. Palgrave-Macmillan.

Gilpin, Erynne M. & Sarah Marie Wiebe, “Embodied Governance: Community Health, Indigenous Self Determination and Birth Practices”, Bearing the Weight of the World: Exploring Maternal Embodiment, A. Einion & J. Rinaldi, eds. Bradford: Demeter Press, 2018.

Wiebe, Sarah Marie, “Toxic Matters: Vital and Material Struggles for Environmental Reproductive Justice”, 313-333, Abortion: History, Politics, and Reproductive Justice after Morgentaler edited by S. Stettner, K. Burnett & T. Hay, eds. Vancouver: UBC Press.

Wiebe, Sarah Marie (2014). “Beyond Biopolitics? Ecologies of Indigenous Citizenship”, pp. 535- 544, The Routledge Handbook of Global Citizenship Studies, P. Nyers & E. Isin, eds. New York: Routledge.

Wiebe, Sarah Marie and Erin Marie Konsmo (2014). “Indigenous Body as Contaminated Site? Examining Reproductive Justice in Aamjiwnaang”, pp. 325-358, Fertile Ground: Reproduction in Canada, F. Scala & S. Paterson, eds. McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Orsini, Michael and Sarah Wiebe (2014). “Between Hope and Fear: Comparing the Emotional Landscapes of Autism and Autistic Activism in Canada and the U.S”, pp. 147-167, Comparing Canada: Citizens, Government  and Policy, L. Turgeon, M. Papillon, S. White & J. Wallner, eds. Vancouver: UBC Press.

Wiebe, Sarah Marie (2012), “Affective Terrain: Approaching the Field in Aamjiwnaang”, pp. 158 161, Research

Methods in Critical Security Studies: An Introduction, M. Salter & C. Mutlu, eds. New York: Routledge.

Wiebe, Sarah Marie (2012). “Bodies on the Line: (In)Security and Everyday Life in Aamjiwnaang”, pp. 215-236, Natural Resources and Social Conflict: Towards Critical Environmental Security, M. Schnurr & L. Swatuk, eds. Palgrave MacMillan.

Wiebe, Sarah Marie (2012). “Shit Ecology: Confronting the Body Boundary”, Les Cahiers de l’idiotie, D. Giroux & S. Mussi, eds. No. 5: 251-269.

Media, Blog Posts and Public Engagement

Maile, Uahikea and Sarah Marie Wiebe, "When a State of Emergency is Declared, We should All be Alarmed" AbolitionSeptember 27th, 2019.

Wiebe, Sarah Marie and Crystal Tremblay “Our Bodies are Made of Water: Stories and Community Vignettes” HEIW7 Humanities and Higher Education: Generating Synergies Between Science, Technology and Humanities Report, 2019. Global University Network for Innovation (GUNI).

Wiebe, Sarah Marie, Jennifer Bagelman and Laurence Butet-Roch (2019). “Bodies Exposed: Reframing the Geopolitics of Dilution in Canada’s Chemical Valley”, Article & Photo Essay, Toxic News.

Wiebe, Sarah Marie, “Reimagining Attawapiskat: More than a Community in Crisis”, Article & Photo Essay, Policy Options, July 2016

Wiebe, Sarah Marie, “Strive for balance when covering Attawapiskat”, Hill Times. Opinion. April 12, 2016

Wiebe, Sarah Marie, “Honouring Makayla”, Impact Ethics. Blog Post. February 2015

Wiebe, Sarah Marie and Martin Taylor, “Pursuing Excellence in Collaborative Community-Campus Research”, Community-Based Research Canada National Summit. Background paper. November 2014

Bagelman, Jennifer and Sarah Marie Wiebe, “Preventing a Pipeline from Bisecting Canada”, New York Times. Opinion Pages. Room for Debate. July 3 2014       

Wiebe, Sarah and Dayna Scott, “Canada: Beyond Petroleum? From Atakapa-Iskah to Aamjiwnaang”, published as: “Oil Spills not ‘Out There’: Feds Should Act Now to Prevent Future Crisis”, Hill Times, August 9, 2010

Wiebe, Sarah, “The Stark Reality of Canada’s ‘Phantom Veils’ for Women in Canadian Politics”. Opinion Piece. Hill Times. August 3, 2009

Wiebe, Sarah, “Re-Thinking Citizenship: (Un)Healthy Bodies and the Canadian Border”, Surveillance and Society. Vol. 5(3/4). Opinion Piece

Wiebe, Sarah, “Anxious About the Gates: (Un)Healthy Migrants and the Canadian Border”, Juxtaposition.

Global Health Magazine. Fall 2007. Vol. 2(1): 26-28

Interviews and Podcasts

Interview with Nick Cheesman, New Books Network, November 29th, 2019. Podcast.

Interview with Trevor Phillips, At the Edge of Canada: Indigenous Research, May 8th 2017. Podcast.