Dr. John Brohman - Celebration of Life

April 08, 2015

The Department of Geography invites you to join with colleagues, students, friends and family in a celebration of John Brohman’s life, and his career and accomplishments at SFU. It will be suitably irreverent, affectionate and informal. 

  • When: Wednesday, April 8th, 12 noon - 2 pm
  • Where: Diamond Alumni Centre, SFU Burnaby  

Light refreshments will be served. Please come with memories and stories to share.


Here’s an obit written by one of his previous colleagues, Nick Blomley.

John Brohman, Associate Professor of Geography at Simon Fraser University, passed away suddenly on 9th June 2014.

John was a longstanding member of the Department, appointed in 1987. Born in 1951 in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, he was an undergraduate student at the University of Western Ontario and Carleton University. John received a Chancellors Fellowship at Carleton to pursue graduate studies in geography at the University of California, Los Angeles and was awarded a Ph.D. in 1989. John’s doctoral dissertation focused on rural development and agrarian reform in Nicaragua, and he spent two years there during the 1980s working and doing field work. John first developed an interest in Third World development largely through personal experience, and travelled to some seventy countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. At SFU, John was also active in the Latin American Studies Program, for which he served as Director in 2001-2004, the Centre for Community Sustainable Development, the School of International Studies, and the Development and Sustainability Program.

John’s general research interests concerned theories, strategies, and practices of Third World development, including regional development and planning, tourism, rural development and agrarian reform, linkages between industry and agriculture, commercialization networks, institutional and organizational aspects of the Third World state, and neoliberal development strategy and alternative frameworks. He authored numerous articles and two books, notably Popular Development: rethinking the theory and practice of development (1996, Blackwell). He was wrapping up a major CIDA research project that he was involved in concerning community economic development in Bolivia, and was planning to work on a community economic development with First Nations in Seton Lake. A committed and engaged teacher, he supervised many graduate students.

Beyond his academic achievements, he is warmly remembered as a decent, kind and straightforward man, who enjoyed a good story.  An old lefty, he distrusted power and orthodoxy. He cared deeply for the Third World, particularly Latin America. While well versed in the literature, he also advocated for practical, community-based solutions. His friends, colleagues and students will miss him greatly.