Photo: Catherine & Emilie Smith in Rabinal, Guatemala, May 2012 by James Rodriguez of

Catherine Nolin, PhD
Associate Professor & Chair

BA (University of Calgary), MA, PhD (Queen's University at Kingston, 2000)

T: 250-960-5875
O: New Lab 8-148

Twitter: @cnolin and @unbcgeography
Instagram: unbcgeography
Facebook: UNBC-Geography


Grahame Russell of Rights Action & I co-instructed our 8th field school to Guatemala in May 2018. PHOTOS & UPDATES from the road and COURSE DETAILS are available here.

MAY 2017: Grahame Russell (Adjunct Professor of Geography and Director of Rights Action) and I led a field research delegation to Guatemala (May 13-22, 2017) to re-examine and update documentation on four major mining struggles throughout the country, all related to Canadian (and partially American) owned mining operations. We are co-editing the forthcoming book "Mining in a Time of Impunity in the Aftermath of Genocide in Guatemala."

  • Grahame Russell and I facilitated an emergency delegation to Guatemala (May 13-24, 2016) to re-examine and update documentation on four major mining struggles throughout the country, all related to Canadian (and partially American) owned mining operations.Follow the emergency delegation updates on the Emergency Delegation page
  • Updates also available on Facebook and Twitter

Teaching Awards: I have received the following awards: 2013 Award for Teaching Excellence in Geography from the Canadian Association of Geographers (CAG); the 2009 J. Alistair McVey Award for Teaching Excellence from the Western Division of the Canadian Association of Geographers (WDCAG); and the 2007 UNBC Excellence in Teaching Award Recipient.

Graduate Studies: I am a member of the following Graduate Programs: Natural Resources and Environmental Studies (MA NRES - Geography stream & PhD program) & Interdisciplinary Studies (MA)

Recent Field Schools: I have organized and facilitated eight Geography Field Schools/Delegations to Guatemala and co-organized one to Peru.

June 2012 UNBC + EPAF Field School to Peru

May 2012 UNBC Geography + Rights Action Field School to Guatemala

I am a social geographer with two broad areas of research interest that connect in many ways & often overlap:

Migration/Transnationalism/Refugee Studies
I am interested in exploring the gendered, cultural, and social aspects of population dynamics resulting from immigration and forced migration. I have explored this in the Guatemala-Canada transnational context, in the permanent & temporary migrations in northern BC communities, and most recently with foreign/internet/so-called 'mail-order' brides in northern BC.

My research interests also focus on the social, cultural & legal geographies of Guatemalan political violence with particular emphasis on gendered experiences of state-sponsored & contemporary violence. Additionally, I am interested in transnational migration to Canada from Central America, migrant insecurity at the Guatemala-Mexico border, social justice, indigenous rights, and transnational solidarity.Most recently, I am working with several graduate students on the issues of femicide/feminicide, the violent development of Canadian mining in Central America & critical development studies.

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.