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- University of Kentucky, 2003, Ph.D. Major Field: Geography
- University of Kentucky, 2000, Graduate Certificate in Social Theory
- University of Kentucky, 1999, M.A. Major Field: Geography
- University of Wales, Lampeter, 1996, B.A. Major Field: Geography
- Professor, Simon Fraser University, 2017 - present
- Associate Professor, Simon Fraser University, 2011 - 2017
- Visiting Research Scholar, Indiana University, 2011 - 2012
- Assistant Professor, Simon Fraser University, 2005 - 2011
- Visiting Assistant Professor, Miami University, 2003 - 2005
My current research examines the growth of paranormal investigation cultures through a study of the lived spaces of conferences, organizations, and investigation sites in North America and Europe. Despite the formation of a modern and secular society, in the past decade, there has been a surge in popularity of paranormal investigation organizations and conferences that study anomalous phenomena, especially ghosts, UFOs, and “cryptids” such as Sasquatch. Drawing on scientific methods, discourses, and techniques, these organizations and conferences have resulted in the democratization of paranormal investigation and the greater availability of paranormal experiences for a significant number of people.
In March 2017, I gave a SFU President’s Faculty Lecture Series talk on the preliminary findings. The video recording is here. Since then, I have published a journal article that explores the enlacements of the ordinary and the extraordinary at a Crop Circle Conference in Devizes, England and a co-authored book chapter on the allures of a non-empirical object of inquiry at a Sasquatch Conference in Ocean Shores, Washington State. I have also started to write a book, tentatively entitled Investigating Paranormal Investigations, which will elaborate on the findings from the entire project.
Much of the above project is informed by my work in the subfield of psychoanalytic geographies. This research, which takes inspiration from the spatial and social theories of Jacques Lacan, conceptually and empirically investigates where, why, and how love, desire, enjoyment, anxiety, fetishism, fantasy, and the unconscious are not simply located “inside” our heads, but rather are materially externalized “outside” in lived socio-spatial practices. This research has focused on Jamaican tourism, US nationalism, the FIFA World Cup, anime cosplay, Iranian New Year celebrations, and Sherlock Holmes mysteries.
Another area of my research engages the aesthetic geographies of everyday life, especially in terms of art’s capacity to infuse human experience with constructive meanings and affirmative power. This research draws on Friedrich Nietzsche’s aesthetic theories, especially the spatial and temporal delimitations of two artistic forces: the “Apollonian,” which refers to illusion, the beauty of surfaces, and orderly visible forms, and the “Dionysian,” which refers to sensuality, intoxicating energies, and the blurring of social boundaries. This work has investigated the sublimity of Google Earth, soundscapes of popular music, and a multicultural festival.
I am the Book Series Editor for Cultural Geographies + Rewriting the Earth, the Vice President of the Lacan Salon, and a Board Member of the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies.
FULL CV (Updated September 2021)
Lacan and the Environment (co-edited with Clint Burnham). Palgrave: London, 2021.
A Place More Void (co-edited with Anna Secor). University of Nebraska Press: Lincoln, NE, 2021.
Psychoanalytic Geographies (co-edited with Steve Pile). Routledge: New York, 2014.
Soundscapes of Wellbeing in Popular Music (co-edited with Gavin Andrews and Robin Kearns). Routledge: New York, 2014.
2021: A literary geography of the sinthome: the case of Sherlock Holmes and The Stormy Petrels of British Columbia, Social & Cultural Geography, in press. [PDF].
2021 The most sublime geographer: Žižek with place, distance, and scale, (with Lucas Pohl). In Friederike Landau, Lucas Pohl, Nikolai Roskamm, eds. [Un]Grounding: Post-foundational Geographies, transcript, in press.
2021 Raising sasquatch to the place of the cryptozoological Thing, (with Oliver Keane). In P. Kingsbury and A.J. Secor, eds. A Place More Void, University of Nebraska Press, pp. 213-231.
2019 Go figural: crop circle research and the extraordinary rifts of landscape, Cultural Geographies, 26 (1), 3-22. [PDF].
2017 Uneasiness in culture, or negotiating the sublime distances towards the big Other, Geography Compass, 11 (6): e12316. [PDF].
2016 Rethinking the aesthetic geographies of multicultural festivals: A Nietzschean perspective. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 106 (1): 222-241. [PDF]
2015 Becoming literate in desire with Alan Partridge, cultural geographies, 22 (2): 329-344.[PDF].
2011 The World Cup and the national Thing on Commercial Drive, Vancouver, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 29 (4): 716-737. [PDF]
2011 Sociospatial sublimation: the human resources of love in Sandals Resorts International, Jamaica, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 101 (3): 650-669. [PDF]
2010 Locating the melody of the drives, The Professional Geographer, 62 (4): 519-533. [PDF]
2010 Unearthing Nietzsche’s bomb: nuance, explosiveness, aesthetics, ACME: An International E Journal for Critical Geographies, 9 (1): 47-61.[PDF]
2009 Walter Benjamin’s Dionysian Adventures on Google Earth, with John Paul Jones III, Geoforum, 40 (4) 502-513. [PDF]
2008 Did somebody say jouissance? On Slavoj Žižek, consumption, and nationalism, Emotion, Space and Society, 1 (1): 48-55 [PDF]
2007 The extimacy of space, Social & Cultural Geography, 8 (2): 235-258. [PDF]
Graduate Student Supervision
Hilda Fernandez, Ph.D. (in progress)
Hilda Fernandez is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Geography at Simon Fraser University. She practices Lacanian psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic therapy in Vancouver, Canada. She has an MA in Clinical Psychology (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico), an MA in Spanish Literature (University of British Columbia) and twenty years of training in Lacanian psychoanalysis. Co-founder of the Lacan Salon, she currently serves as its president. She intends to analyze the discursive spaces and practices around trauma in institutions that provide mental health services, with the purpose of determining how assumptions about trauma both at the level of the individual and the collective impact the provision of services.
Nazanin Naraghi, Ph.D. (2017) Impossible Places: The Aesthetic Unconscious and Post-Migrant Iranian Subjectivity in Los Angeles.
Jesse Proudfoot, Ph.D. (2011) The Anxious Enjoyment of Poverty: Drug Addiction, Panhandling, and the Spaces of Psychoanalysis. Funded by a SSHRC graduate fellowship. Winner, Dean’s Convocation Medal for outstanding dissertation. Current position: Lecturer, Department of Geography, Durham University, England.
Jamison Miller, M.A. (2011) Vancouver’s Auratic Geographies. Current position: Doctoral Graduate Student, School of Education, College of William and Mary, Virginia.
Annamarie Ruelle, M.A. (2011) The Human Gateway: Economic Development Planning, Geographic Knowledge, and British Columbia’s Asian Pacific Initiative. Funded by a SSHRC graduate fellowship. Current position: Doctoral Graduate Student, Department of Cultural Anthropology, the University of Tokyo, Japan.
GEOG 241 Social Geography
This course will investigate the major theoretical concepts and empirical contexts of social geography – one of the most dynamic and eclectic subfields in contemporary human geography. Largely the outcome of 1960s radicalism and the “cultural turn” of the 1980s, social geography explores how spatial forces and structures reproduce social lives of difference and inequality. The course will explore the following interrelated objects and scales of analysis: space and society; the body; the home; community; institutions; the street; the city; the rural; the nation; and the resort.
Syllabus is here
GEOG 325 Geographies of Consumption
Consumption is creatively destructive, conspicuous yet vague, complex but mundane, and as difficult to explain as it is impossible to avoid. Consumption ranges from the repetitive act of eating porridge to the visual joys of watching movies on widescreen plasma televisions. Under the aegis of “consumption studies,” researchers have used numerous theoretical frameworks in order to conceptualize consumption in terms of the interactions between people, objects, and society. These studies have produced lively and enduring interdisciplinary debates that have sought to clarify the interrelations between, for example: taste, need, value, aesthetics, commodification, pleasure, exchange, capitalism, and spectacle. The purpose of this course is not only to explore the diverse contexts of consumption, but also to understand the various theoretical approaches through which consumption can be understood. To consider the geographies of consumption we will explore the following related objects of analysis: commodity chains, the mall, food, pet-love, clothes, taste and class, art, and the paranormal.
Syllabus is here
GEOG 420 Cultural Geography
This course will investigate the major theories and empirical research that comprise cultural geography – one of the oldest and most innovative subfields in human geography. Radically modified since the 1980s by the “spatial and cultural turns” in the social sciences and humanities, cultural geography explores the various cultural forces and structures of people’s lives and their worlds wherein the “cultural” is theorized via often overlapping approaches such as historical materialism, cultural studies, feminism, post-structuralism, psychoanalysis, and post-colonialism. Empirically, cultural geographers study a wide-range of contexts in terms of, for example, landscape, society, politics, the economy, the arts, the environment, identity, and technology. Today, then, it is futile to understand cultural geography as a homogenous field with discrete theoretical, substantive, and methodological trajectories and boundaries. Rather, cultural geography involves unfolding and engaging styles of thinking and doing that attend to the dynamic yet stubborn cultural materials, meanings, and practices that permeate people’s everyday lives. Beginning with the emergence of cultural geography during the 1920s, we will explore, theoretically and empirically, the following interrelated themes and objects of analysis: ‘old’ and ‘new’ cultural geography; capitalism; landscape; cultural differences of race, class, gender, and sexuality; multiculturalism; cybercultures; regional cultures; uneasiness; music and wellbeing.
Syllabus is here
GEOG 605 Geographic Ideas and Methodology
‘Geographic Ideas and Methodology’ introduces students to the range of multi and inter-disciplinary scholarship of a social theoretical nature that has implications for how ideas and methodologies are used in contemporary human geography. The course has three main goals: first, to systematically develop a thorough and relational knowledge of primary social theoretical texts. Second, to understand how social theories are methodologically ‘put to work’ in geography’s various empirical settings and contexts. To do this, we will read entries from the International Encyclopedia of Human Geography (2009) that will help situate thinkers, key concepts, and theoretical traditions in relation to human geography. Third, to foster a creative ethics of reading and discussion whereby students are encouraged to reflect upon, critique, deform, and enact in productive ways the entanglement of social theoretical thinkers and texts. Part of our learning, then, concerns how we translate and understand (as we interrogate) disparate theoretical currents.
Syllabus is here
This instructor is currently not teaching any courses.