Welcome Visiting Scholars!

Boris Michel, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg


Hometown: Erlangen / Berlin, Germany
Purpose of visit: I hope to find the time to write a good part of a book and can discuss my research with people at this extremely interesting department.
Research: I am currently working on a project on the history of geography. I am interested in the notion that geography is ‘a visual discipline’, but wonder what that means and how this meant different things in different times. In my project I try to trace geography’s ‘scopic regimes’ through the history of the discipline. The focus is on two contrasting case studies: The 1920s German ‘Landschaftsgeographie’ and the anglophone Quantitative Revolution. Before that I did a Ph.D in urban studies.
What do you think of Vancouver so far? I arrived roughly around the time it started raining and I was told it won’t stop until I leave! I think it is a very interesting place to be and so far I am pretty excited to be here until February. I had studied in a city that was proud of being ranked in one of those global city-rankings as the second most livable city in the world– Vancouver was first, so I made it up the ladder!


Chao Ye, Nanjing Normal University


Hometown: Gansu province, China
Purpose of visit: research
Research: History and methodology of geography;Rural-urban relations and urbanization; Cultural geography
What do you think of Vancouver so far? Really good! I like it all but for the expensive rent.


Leticia Durand, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)


Hometown: Mexico City
Purpose of visit: Sabbatical leave
Research: I work in the Selva Lacandona (Chiapas), the biggest remnant of tropical rainforest in Mexico, inhabited by thousands of indigenous and mestizo peasants, most of them poor. Due to its ecological relevance near 25% of the Lancandona has been transformed into natural protected areas, but the land still belongs to rural inhabitants, who interact with conservation policies in contradictory ways. People try to take advantage of the potential benefits of protected areas but, at the same time, try not to lose control over their resources and life. During my stay in the Geography Department at UBC, and with the kind advice of Juanita Sundberg, I will attempt to understand how local identities are reconfigured by conservation encounters that take place at the Selva Lacandona.
What do you think of Vancouver so far? I came from a city with 20 million inhabitants and a country with huge social and political challenges, so Vancouver seems to me like a pretty and peaceful little town, full of space but lacking people. Everything here seems to go well. What I like the most though is the tree lined streets of the West End and the seagulls’ calls I hear in the morning.


Hanbyul Shim, Seoul National University



Hometown: Seoul, Korea
Purpose of visit: Vancouver is one of the prime cities of my research. While visiting I also anticipate that I will learn more geographical perspectives from scholars and students in this department by working with them.
Research: My research is to explore the changes of industries and management policies of urban cores and their relations. My research includes tracing the role of the spatial form of that relation and to describe its trajectory.
What do you think of Vancouver so far? I think it’s the Vancouverites that really make up VancouverI am experiencing them great.


Benoît Gomis


University: N/A (graduated from Sciences Po Aix-en-Provence, Loyola University Chicago, and the London School of Economics and Political Science – LSE)
Hometown: Salon-de-Provence, France
Purpose of visit: I am currently a Visiting Scholar with the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society (TSAS), based at the Department of Geography at UBC, where I am writing a book for CRC Press (Taylor & Francis) on counter-terrorism policies since 9/11.
Research: My two main areas of research are terrorism & counter-terrorism (in particular the effectiveness, impact and proportionality of counter-terrorism policy), and drugs & organized crime (in particular illicit drug trafficking in Latin America and West Africa, national and international drug policies, and cigarette smuggling in Latin America and the Caribbean)
What do you think of Vancouver? The quality of life is amazing here with the ocean, the mountains, the parks… After spending 6 years in London, Paris, and Brussels, it is a much less stressful environment!