Matthew Liesch
Associate Professor
Department of Geography & Environmental Studies
Institute for Great Lakes Research

Cultural & Historical Geography, Land Use and Development, Landscape Studies, Parks & Protected Areas, Environmental History, United States & Canada
Dow Science Complex 277

Dr. Liesch is a Professor of Geography at Central Michigan University.


  • Ph.D., Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2011

Professional Affiliations

  • American Geographical Society
  • Association of American Geographers
  • Michigan Association of Planning, American Planning Association


  • 2009-10: Whitbeck Graduate Dissertator Fellowship, UW Geography Department
  • 2008: Trewartha Graduate Research Award, UW Geography Department
  • 2006: Association of American Geographers, Historical Geography Specialty Group Student Research Award, Master’s Level
  • 2006: Michigan Technological University Copper Country Archives Travel Award

Teaching Areas

  • Cultural Geography
  • Economic Geography
  • Historical Geography
  • Human - Environmental Interactions

Research Fields

  • Cultural Geography
  • Vernacular Landscapes
  • Rural Economic Development
  • Geographic Methods
  • Environmental History
  • Great Lakes Issues


  • Forthcoming in Dec 2019, Eva Lema, Matthew Liesch, and Marcello Graziano. "Pathways for Resilience in Legacy Cities" in Routledge Handbook of Urban Resilience.
  • Marcello Graziano, Karen Alexander, Matthew Liesch, Eva Lema, and Jose Torres. "Understanding an Emerging Economic Discourse Through Regional Analysis: Blue Economy Clusters in the U.S. Great Lakes Basin." Applied Geography, 105(1): 111-123.
  • Robert J. Legg, Robert R. Regis, John M. Lambert, Matthew Liesch, and Charles B. Travis, 2017. “Geoarchaeological modeling of late Paleoindian site locations in the northwestern Great Lakes.” PaleoAmerica, 3 (2):150-160.
  • Hoehun Ha, Benjamin W. Heumann, Matthew Liesch, and Xiao Guang Wang, 2016, Modeling Potential Conservation Easement Locations using Physical and Socio-economic Factors: A case-study from Southeast Michigan. Applied Geography, 75: 104-115.
  • Matthew Liesch, 2016, "Creating Keweenaw: Parkmaking as Response to Post-Mining Economic Decline." Extractive Industries and Society.​ 3 (2): 527-538.
  • Matthew Liesch, Linda M. Dunklee, Robert J. Legg, Anthony D. Feig, and Austin Jena Krause, 2015. "Use of Business Naming Practices to Delineate Vernacular Regions: A Michigan Example." Journal of Geography, 114 (5): 188-196. ​
  • Matthew ​ Liesch, 2015. "Contesting Keweenaw: Competing Visions of Landscape Aesthetics at Keweenaw National Historical Park." Journal of Cultural Geography, 32 (3).
  • Matthew Liesch, 2014. "Spatial Boundaries and Industrial Landscapes at Keweenaw National Historical Park." Extractive Industries and Society, 1 (2): 303-311.
  • Matthew Liesch, 2011. "People, Partnerships, Parks: Community Conceptions of Keweenaw National Historical Park." Geographical Review, 101 (4): 497-517.
  • Robert F. Sasso, Matthew Liesch, and Derek Rivers, 2011. "GIS Analysis of Potawatomi Site Characteristics." Wisconsin Archaeologist, 92 (1): 45-61.
  • Matthew Liesch, 2010. Entries on "Mapping and Surveying," "United States Midwest" and "Built Environment" for the Encyclopedia of American Environmental History, in Volumes 1, 3, 4.
  • Matthew Liesch, 2008. "A Region of Hope, A Region of Despair: Print Media, Geographical Imagination, and the Gogebic Mining Boom." Historical Geography. 36(1): 182-207.
  • Matthew Liesch, 2007. "Civic Boosterism, Community and Cultural Landscape: Representing the Gogebic Iron Range, 1886." Wisconsin Geographer. 22(1): 27-39.
  • Matt Liesch and Joy Wolf. 2002. "A Comparison of Pine Structure Between Northern and Southern Sites in Wisconsin." Proceedings of the National Conference on Undergraduate Research. 16(1). ​
Dr. Liesch has also authored book reviews in Professional Geographer, Historical Geography, Journal of Cultural Geography, Cultural Geographies, Social and Cultural Geography, IA: The Journal for the Society of Industrial Archaeology, and other journals.