The Radical Convergence: SFU’s Geography Department in the Mid-seventies

October 11, 2016

Nick Blomley, Eugene McCann, Nathan Edelson, & Robert Galois

Tuesday, October 11, 7:00PM–9:00PM, Room 7000, SFU Harbour Centre

Co-sponsored by SFU's Institute for the Humanities & Department of Geography

SFU Geography became a hotbed of radical education, exploration and practice in the mid 1970s, as a creative cluster of faculty and students, drawn from Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, the US, and the UK gathered at this newly built campus. SFU Geography played a seminal role in the development of the Union of Socialist Geographers, as well as running a community-based research project, modelled on similar experiments in the US and Canada, entitled the Vancouver ‘Expedition'. Students and young faculty explored the beginnings of what would become feminist geography. Marxism, anarchism, Maoism and feminism circulated and were explored, as did innovative forms of pedagogy. We tell this forgotten but important story, exploring what happened at SFU, how it was distinctive, and in what ways it connected to other centres of radical geography, suggesting that SFU's Geography Department played a crucial and under-documented role in the history of North American radical geography.


Nick Blomley is a Professor at SFU Geography. He is interested in uncovering the subaltern stories of the institution he thought he knew well, having been employed at SFU since 1989.

Eugene McCann is a Professor of geography at SFU.  While aware of the adage that not knowing one’s history dooms one to repeat it, he also believes that learning one’s history, preferably from the lips of those who made it, offers the opportunity to repeat and improve on its progressive elements.


Nathan Edelson
Robert Galois