Dr. Karen Bakker from the Department of Geography has won the SSHRC Connection Award. It recognizes the highest achievements in SSHRC-funded research, knowledge mobilization and scholarship, as well as the highest achievements resulting from a SSHRC fellowship awarded
Karen Bakker wins SSHRC Connection Award and 2017 Trudeau Fellowship
The prize is awarded to an outstanding MA thesis that best advances knowledge of Canada and Canadian Studies.
James Rhatigan’s “Afterlife of a Mine: The Tangled Legacies of the Britannia Mine” was completed under the supervision of Matthew Evenden in the Geography Department at the University of British Columbia.
Visit the Canadian Studies Network – Réseau d’études canadiennes for more information.
Congratulations to Alexandra Briault who was awarded the “Raymond and Donna Jang Prize in Geography”, a one time award given out to the undergraduate student with the highest average in Geography of Natural Hazards.
Dr. McPhee will hold a session as part of Celebrate Learning week addressing the use of technology in field trips for large first year courses. The session will share the background to the creation of a walking tour app, which has now been successfully run for two years. The app allows students to explore Downtown Vancouver at their own pace alone or in small groups of two or three. During the session presenters will also share the students’ experiences and future projects.
“Technology and field trips for large first year courses”
May 4, 2017 | 2:00 pm-3:30 pm | Orchard Commons, Room 4018
Craig E. Jones, a PhD candidate in UBC’s Department of Geography, addresses the topics of densification, displacement, and underused housing in a series of media publications:
- “An Already Densely Populated Metrotown is About to Get Crowded” – CKNW’s The Jill Bennett Show, April 30, 2017
- “Metrotown neighbourhood already a high-density area, according to 2016 census“- Burnaby Now, April 27, 2017
- “Three transit-oriented communities in Metro rival Coal Harbour for empty or underused housing” – Vancouver Sun, March 30, 2017.
- “In the shadow of SkyTrain: will development in Coquitlam neighbourhood lead to displacement?” – CBC News, February 20, 2017
The faculty and graduate students of the Department of Geography at the University of British Columbia join other academic and non-academic communities in condemning the Executive Order on Immigration signed by US President Donald Trump on March 6th, 2017, banning citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen entry to the United States, and suspending refugee entry. That this is the second such order is evidence of the Trump administration’s continued commitment to discrimination and Islamaphobia. Indeed, in the past month we have seen unparalleled acts of violence against communities of color and border crossers in the United States and Canada, as well as in other parts of the world. The ongoing impacts of both executive orders demand that we remain vigilant and committed to unconditionally denouncing all discrimination, hatred, and violence on the basis of nationality, race, and religion. We stand in solidarity with and in some cases as people of colour, Indigenous people, Muslims, Jewish people, immigrants, asylum-seekers, refugees, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQI communities, and allies in favor of equality and social justice.
The Department of Geography therefore reaffirms our commitment to fostering an inclusive and safe environment that provides students, faculty, and staff with the best possible conditions for learning, researching, and working. The Executive Order directly impacts the ability of scholars to move across borders, and restricts academic freedom and exchange. As a Department, we pledge to take concrete and practical steps to address the impacts of the Executive Order on our students and colleagues, and we will work to encourage action from UBC and other scholarly communities to mitigate the impacts of the ban and call for its repeal. We take inspiration from on-going struggles of resistance to white supremacy, settler colonialism, and gender and reproductive violence. Today, we express our commitment to promoting a diverse, inclusive, and just community capable of discussion and disagreement without retreating to places of fear, hate and intolerance.
Jessica Dempsey (Assistant Professor, UBC Geography) has just published her first book, in the Antipode book series with Wiley-Blackwell. Enterprising Nature tracks the rise of a powerful idea in global biodiversity conservation. Many ecologists, bureaucrats, and activists now believe that the only way to slow the decimation of nonhuman life on earth is to translate conservation into an economically rational—even profitable—set of policies and practices. “In order to make live,” goes the ascending mantra, “one must make economic.” Enterprising Nature analyses this mantra’s origins and the international alliances that enable it to spread. Crucially, the book focuses not only the smooth ascent of enterprising nature, but rather on the enormous challenges the project faces: technical, scientific, economic, and political. Enterprising nature seems like an “easy fix” to ecological degradation, tailor-made for our austerity bound, market-governance times, and yet it remains marginal.
Animation: Enterprising Nature
The video explores political struggles over the idea of making nature “economic” and over emerging rankings of nature, of different species and ecosystems. For more information on the video, visit the Bioeconomies Media Project website.
‘Jessica Dempsey’s Enterprising Nature is necessary reading for understating the critical geographies of how market forces, biodiversity, environmentalism, and all kinds of so-called experts try, and often fail, to dictate the terms of conservation politics the world over. The book is fresh, robust, and offers healthy doses of both scepticism and deep insights into the battles that need to be fought.’
Nik Heynen, Professor of Geography, University of Georgia, USA
‘Dempsey’s Enterprising Nature is a must-read for all conservationists. From the vantage of political ecology, Dempsey provides a sympathetic but ringing critique of the ecosystem services paradigm. Nonetheless, her fresh analysis ultimately points towards a new and hopeful pathway – by forging unexpected collaborations among scientists, social movement activists, and scholars of power dynamics, she imagines reclaiming an “abundant biodiversity”, as well as the ecosystem services it supplies.’
Claire Kremen, Professor in Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley, USA
‘Through arguments with which liberal environmentalists will struggle to find fault, Dempsey carefully excavates the foundations of the global biodiversity industry, and finds them rotten. This is a compassionate and intelligent book, one that helps us ask far deeper questions about humans relations with the world than the mainstream environmental movement dare broach.’
Raj Patel, Research Professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin, USA
This interview was conducted as part of a student led initiative to identify and foster a sense of geographic identify in our department. Interview of Dr. Juanita Sundberg conducted by Max Ritts and Lucy MacKenzie, transcribed by Lucy MacKenzie.
What is your current research topic?
At the moment I am working on a project that examines the ways in which US Border Patrol operations articulate with the mandates of land management in areas located on the southern border. Over 40% of lands on the US southern border are in protected areas, some are being managed for species protection, some of them are also national monuments and some are defense, but all of them have natural resource management and protection mandates. Since 1994, US border enforcement strategies have tried to focus all border crossers into what they call remote areas, and that means they are pushing them into protected areas. This is because they [the Border Patrol] frame the landscape as a natural barrier to deter migrants. I started out being interested in how these different mandates articulate but I am really interested in what happens on the ground in relation to non-human beings and how they get caught up in this process. Some of the questions that I want to address include: what happens to humans who get pushed into these areas? What does this boundary enforcement strategy tell us about much more abstract ontological imaginaries of the human and non-human? Who counts as human? How do non-humans count or not count as beings?
How do you think your work speaks specifically to geography versus something like anthropology, where your work can also be situated?
Having done my Master’s degree in anthropology, that was an initial interest of mine; but what I realized, after taking a class in cultural ecology in grad school, is that my primary interest was the relationship between humans and non-humans, or humans and nature. And so when I look back at what I liked about the classic ethnographies that we had to read in doing an anthropology masters degree, I was fascinated by, for example, The Nuer [dated 1940], which is a classic ethnography [by E. E. Evans-Pritchard]- it was all about people and their cattle.Or, that’s what drew my attention. Not the people and the people. So I think of anthropology as people’s relationship to people, although they do now more consider species [as in multi-species ethnography]. When I was being trained, species were talked about if they were important to the people, but it was how they were fitting into human relationships; it was not the relationship of the human to the non-human that was talked about. When I took my first cultural ecology class with Barbara Brower, I realized that this is what I’m really interested in, this intersection. And where I went to grad school, that intersection was very important as a site of geographical analysis. My teachers worked in the area of cultural ecology and at that time, political ecology was very politicized and they [the faculty at UT Austin] didn’t like the terminology, but we got a little bit of political ecology in there nonetheless. I think of geography as being about humans and relationships to landscape, however we categorize that landscape, whether it be the category of nature, the category of space, the category of place. We are interested in that relationship. That’s how I differentiate it myself from anthropology, and I realize that now I may have to relearn that, or rephrase it, or rethink it. But that has been my personal way of thinking about it.
Is there a benefit of having physical geography and a human geography be together in the same department?
I can speak from my experience about why I thought it was beneficial. I took classes with Bill (William) Doolittle and Karl Butzer. While they don’t count as “physical” geographers, they wouldn’t really situate themselves in the kind of human geography UBC has traditionally done. Karl Butzer was really part of creating the field of geo-archaeology. He was interested in soil cores and knowing the minute details about the landscape and the animals and their interactions with it. I was trained to think about colonialism in what we call Latin America through the lens of thinking very carefully about soil degradation and erosion, the effects of adding sheep and cattle to the landscape. In taking classes with Bill Doolittle I learned to think about farmers adaptations and ask questions such as: why do people pile up rocks? Why do they make fences? How do they deal with soils? How do they classify soils? You need to know soils in order to talk about how people classify soils. You can’t just come at it out of nowhere. You have to know the species they [farmers] are working with and how they interact. Those were the things that I was taught to think about and that fascinated me. How would I have learned that from taking a more traditional Human Geography class? I needed and wanted to learn those things. That doesn’t mean that when I wrote my dissertation I went into lengthy discussions of how local people in [northern] Guatemala managed soils, but I sure knew a lot about environmental history and their [people’s] relationship to the environment, because I had studied it.
Do you feel that it is important to have access to that (biophysical) knowledge because it prompts questions that would otherwise be non-existent? How can you think about the effects of something like soil erosion when you never thought to acknowledge it in the first place?
I think framing [the question] it in terms of having access is a good way of putting it. Not everybody wants that or has that interest, but for those people who might or could be sparked, all kinds of things can happen. But if no one is attempting to spark anything, then it can’t happen. I was lucky in that Doolittle and Butzer were not classified as physical geographers, but they drew strength from that training and brought it into their work. This is why for me, a PhD program that doesn’t require coursework is wrong. Because if I hadn’t taken those courses, I wouldn’t have encountered those ideas, I wouldn’t have been exposed to those things. Then when I went to teach, I at least knew something about how social and biophysical relationships are entangled in Guatemala [and elsewhere in the region] and I could then incorporate [that interest and knowledge] into my first year of teaching in Latin American studies.