WDCAG Conference 2018

WDCAG Conference 2018

Congratulations to another successful year of presentations by our undergraduate students at the Western Division of the Canadian Association of Geographers (WDCAG) conference held on February 9th and 10th, 2018. This year is the 60th annual meeting for the WDCAG and it was held at the University of Alberta.

Karen Bakker wins SSHRC Connection Award and 2017 Trudeau Fellowship

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

Read more about the awards

James Rhatigan wins best thesis prize

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

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.

Celebrate Learning Week – Dr. Siobhán McPhee

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 on Densification, Displacement, and Underused housing in Metro Vancouver

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:

UBC Geography’s Statement on the 2nd Executive Order on Immigration

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.

UBC Geography in new partnership with University of Central Asia (UCA)

UBC, through its departments Geography and Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences (EOAS), entered into an educational partnership to help the University of Central Asia with the curriculum design of an undergraduate Earth and Environmental Sciences Programme.

Continue reading “UBC Geography in new partnership with University of Central Asia (UCA)”

UBC Geography’s Statement of Solidarity with the Muslim Community

In light of the January 29th massacre at the Centre Culturel Islamique de Québec, as well as the Trump Administration’s executive order banning people from many Muslim-majority nations from travelling to the US, the Department of Geography 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. Continue reading “UBC Geography’s Statement of Solidarity with the Muslim Community”

New Book from Jessica Dempsey: Enterprising Nature


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