Department of Geography
Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University
I am a political geographer and political ecologist broadly focused on spatial politics of natural resources and the environment. My research investigates the reciprocal relationships between resource geographies and territoriality, nationalism, citizenship, and critical geopolitics, specifically within hybrid political regimes emerging in the former Soviet Union. My dissertation research addresses these topics through the case of an industrial gold and copper mining complex in southern Georgia, where foreign capital investment alters the landscape to profound ecological, political, and social effect. Titled Malleable Territories: The Politics and Effects of Mining Governance in Post-Soviet Georgia, my dissertation adopts a mix of methodological and analytical practices to examine how this expanding pattern of resource extraction shapes lives, livelihoods, and ecosystems in the region.
My scholarship also extends in several related directions through research, methodology, and teaching, drawing together cultural geography, engaged pedagogy, and digital public humanities. This work includes: five years professional experience in award-winning documentary film production for the National Geographic Society; helping initiate the Public Political Ecology Lab (PPEL) at the University of Arizona; editing you are here: the journal of creative geography; and a year-long Public Humanities Fellowship through the New York Council for the Humanities (now Humanities New York) developing a future project collecting stories, media, and histories of resources in the Adirondack Park.
I currently live in Syracuse, NY, with my wife Martha, a photographer, and our two dogs, who help us stay outside whenever we aren’t working.
Photo credit: Martha Swann-Quinn