Geography Awareness Week at University of Wyoming, with keynote talk by Bradley Garrett

The Geography Club at the University of Wyoming has organized a week of programming for Geography Awareness Week. The national theme this year is “Inspiring the Spirit of Exploration.” Our work at UW complements that theme. A flier for our week of events can be found below.


Notable this year is a keynote talk by Bradley Garrett, the author of several books including Explore Everything.

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Our co-authored chapter on placemaking and location-based mobile gameplay

Another collaboration that began in the same iteration of my American Landscapes course as an article about which I posted earlier today resulted in a published chapter, earlier this year, as part of The Pokémon Go Phenomenon: Essays on Public Play in Contested Spaces. A then-undergraduate student William Heili wrote the paper with me and my colleague in Geography Chen Xu. The book where our chapter appears can be purchased here.

Our contribution to The Pokémon Go Phenomenon characterizes location-based mobile gameplay as a relay in placemaking. We suggest that gameplay works to transform players’ sense of place, away from a sense of place grounded in traditional assumptions of a digital-physical dichotomy toward one informed by experiences of digital-physical convergence.

More information about our contribution can be found here. I am happy to share a pdf of our chapter with anyone who may be interested.

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My new article with Guillaume Proulx on “settler colonial landscapes”

A collaboration that began in my American Landscapes course recently resulted in an article published in the Journal of Cultural Geography (free access here). In this article and in a presentation at the 2019 meeting of the American Association of Geographers, Guillaume Proulx and I have been working to define a cultural-geographical orientation for making sense of the politics of extraction and settler colonial dispossession. With an eye to the case of the Dakota Access Pipeline, we do this in this published work through the concept of “settler colonial landscapes.” This article will be followed by another piece in the coming month, which will explore the relevance of our framework to making sense of these dynamics elsewhere in the hemisphere. The abstract of the Journal of Cultural Geography article can be found below.

“To see things in an objective light”: the Dakota Access Pipeline and the ongoing construction of settler colonial landscapes

Abstract: This paper examines the discourses used by proponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) as claims of universality to which the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and allied activists mounted a movement of opposition in 2014–2017. We position our analysis within the historical context of Lakota and Dakota resistance to settler colonialism, which has endured since the nineteenth century. From publicly available texts circulated by key actors in the conflict over the construction of this pipeline project, we identify themes that proponents of this project drew upon to articulate their representations of the land as universal. We suggest that claims like these, when naturalized in practice, have historically materialized in settler colonial landscapes. With the concept of settler colonial landscapes, we focus on ways of seeing and representing places that have facilitated the dispossession of Indigenous people from their territory as well as the construction of a settler-dominated community. In this way, we develop a cultural geographical understanding of the ongoing construction of settler colonial landscapes as a process dependent on claims to neutrality and objectivity.


Posted in Critical Human Geography, Cultural Geography, geografía crítica, My publications or presentations, Political Economy, Political Geography, Politics, Teaching, The Americas | 1 Comment

SCREE symposium in Flagstaff, AZ, at Northern Arizona University

A symposium for the Sesquicentennial Colorado River Exploring Expedition (SCREE) will begin today at Northern Arizona University as part of the 15th Biennial Conference of Science & Management on the Colorado Plateau & Southwest Region (more information here).

The symposium within the conference is open to the public and being promoted as The Arid Lands and Legacy of John Wesley Powell 150 Years Ago, 150 Years Ahead. History, Science, Culture and Future.

For this evening’s program, I will facilitate a public-facing discussion between Dr. Paul Hirt (History at Arizona State) and Dr. Dan McCool (Political Science, University of Utah) on the Colorado River Basin, its histories and possible futures.

On Tuesday, with my colleague in the Law School at UW, Jason Robison, I will be working as a co-moderator for panels on the horizons of policy and politics around water, public lands, and Native Americans in the Colorado River Basin.

SCREE is an interdisciplinary, public-facing project that looks backward to John Wesley Powell’s 1869 survey of the Colorado River Basin and looks forward to consider its implications for life in the Arid West. More information can be found on the SCREE website:



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“Re-thinking geoeconomics” in the political geography section of GECO

Geography Compass recently published Sami Moisio (University of Helsinki, Finland) in the political geography section, on a reinterpretation of geoeconomics as political geographies of knowledge‐intensive capitalism. ‘Re-thinking geoeconomics: Towards a political geograpy of economic geographies‘ is notable for putting IR theory into conversation with political geography, critical geopolitics, and critical variants of urban and economic geography. The abstract is below.

Geoeconomics is a contested concept. What seems common to recent attempts to define the concept of geoeconomics is that it is almost invariably discussed with relation to geopolitics. In this paper, I seek to provide a reading of “geoeconomics” from political geography that both evaluates geoeconomic claims on their own terms and, moreover, avoids a political/economy binary that even some of the critical approaches tend to fall into. For this purpose, I provide a selective mapping of some of the ways in which geoeconomics has been scrutinized in IR and in human geography and defined with relation to the concept of geopolitics. I single out two main fields of scholarship. First, I introduce a foreign policy tradition that at least superficially draws from the realist tradition in IR. Second, I discuss various materialist and poststructuralist approaches in political geography that can be at least implicitly connected to the term geoeconomics. Third, I develop a reading of geoeconomics as political geographies of knowledge‐intensive capitalism. This perspective turns attention to the geopolitical space economy of capitalism, draws from work in critical human geography, heterodox political economy, and urban studies, and seeks to overcome the separation between geoeconomics and geopolitics.

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CFP, ‘Anxieties of Empire: New Contexts, Shifting Perspectives,’ conference at Middlebury College

The Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs, at Middlebury College, has circulated a Call for Papers for their Eighth Annual International and Interdisciplinary Conference, ‘Anxieties of Empire: New Contexts, Shifting Perspectives.’ Political geographers would certainly find a welcoming audience at this meeting, as I found in the Center’s 2018 meeting about 1968 (relevant post here). I cut-and-paste the text of the CFP below.


Eighth Annual International and Interdisciplinary Conference

Call for Papers

Anxieties of Empire: New Contexts, Shifting Perspectives

March 5-7, 2020

The “anxiety of Empire” has been a recurrent idea in studies of colonial discourse, as critics observed how fears about the (in)stability of imperial power were masked by confident assertions of its rightful authority, and by an obsessive drive to reproduce it. Even though the sun may have set on the colonial powers of previous centuries, the power dynamics constructed by Empire and the tangled rhetoric that perpetuated it persist. Hegemonic powers continue to signify and fear people of other races and religions as a debased other who threatens their own cultural integrity, and to systematically attempt to marginalize that other. During the height of European colonialism this marginalization took place largely in the colonies and through concrete policy. Now, however, it is enacted across geographic divisions of center and periphery and in more indirect ways, with dispersed actors and global flows of capital, information, and bodies.

Today, we may think of Empire beyond specific national imperial projects and more as a global system of power dominated largely, but not exclusively, by Western states and economies and global elites exercising political, economic, or physical domination over spaces and bodies. This brand of power is accompanied and sustained by discourses inaugurated by past imperial projects and reformulated for Empire’s more recent incarnations. “Imperial anxiety” may thus serve as a trope and critical framework for examining policy decisions, economic imperatives, subject-formation, and cultural production under globalization.

This conference seeks to bring together scholars from an array of disciplines and fields of inquiry to interrogate understudied modi operandi of Empire and to foreground new critical tools for understanding them. How and where can we locate Empire’s anxiety today? What newly formulated mechanisms of Empire’s reproduction can we identify and theorize in imperial systems of the past as well as in new articulations of Western imperialism, current non-Western imperial projects, late global capital flows, and the ascendance of white nationalism around the world?

Presenters may want to address Anxieties of Empire in the context of the following themes, though others are possible:

  • Contemporary contradictions of signifying, marginalizing, and integrating otherness.
  • Borders, detention centers, and the reformulations of Empire in light of current migration crises world-wide.
  • New approaches to U.S Empire that tie together any of the following: U.S. continental expansion, overseas interventions, slavery, indigenous genocide and disenfranchisement, and mass incarceration.
  • Contemporary relationships between evangelical institutions and local or global hegemonies; religious doctrine that has normalized racial, gender, and sexual orderings of power.
  • Empire, white supremacy, and post-racial discourses.
  • History, discourses, and legacies of Russian and Soviet imperialism from the eighteenth century to the present.
  • Contemporary coloniality in Latin America and the Caribbean across institutions and in cultural production, considering relationships between local and global articulations of Empire.
  • The re-ascendance of China as Empire, with impacts at home and abroad: anti-Muslim re-education centers and the incarceration of Uyghurs in Xinjiang, the Tibetan question, economic policies in the Global South.
  • Empire and the body: fitness, bodybuilding, and practices of consumption.
  • Imperial mappings around language (i.e. Francophonie, Commonwealth, etc.), cultural production, and sports.

Those interested in presenting at the conference should send an abstract (no more than 250 words) and a CV by October 7, 2019 to

  • The selection process is competitive.
  • All presentations must be in English.
  • Funds are available to support travel and lodging of all presenters.
  • The conference will take place on the campus of Middlebury College, in Middlebury, VT, USA.
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“Politicizing disappearance after Mexico’s ‘historic’ election” in Political Geography

The corrected proof of Politicizing disappearance after Mexico’s “historic” election, an essay with Oliver Gabriel Hernández Lara at the Universidad Autónoma del Estado de México, is available in Political Geography (find it here and here). This is our first of a series of publications currently in preparation about the intersection of urban development in central Mexico and governance of/through various forms of violence. Here’s the first paragraph:

Andrés Manuel López Obrador and MORENA achieved a significant electoral victory in Mexico on 1 July 2018. López Obrador (hereafter AMLO) became President with the most votes ever by a candidate in that race, and the MORENA coalition won an absolute legislative majority, leaning heavily on the most educated, best salaried segments of the electorate (Parametría, 2018). This can be explained as much by the strength of MORENA as by the incapacity of the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) and its allies to reduce violence in recent years. The PRI, which dominated post-revolutionary politics and returned to power in 2012 in the figure of Enrique Peña Nieto, was defeated even in longtime strongholds. Analysts accordingly characterize this as a “historic” election, echoing AMLO, who described it as Mexico’s “fourth great transformation,” with promises to stand with the poor against a “mafia of power.” For political geographers, however, the first months of AMLO’s government demand analysis less of a break than of the endurance of violence, and the ongoing “disappearance” of vulnerabilized populations, by which MORENA’s electoral victory was made possible.

Posted in Aesthetics, Cities, geografía crítica, Mexico, Political Geography, Posts (uncategorized) | Leave a comment