I am currently a faculty member in the Department of Geography at New Mexico State University (NMSU). We have a Master of Applied Geography program at NMSU and a new PhD program (started in Fall 2020) that we run jointly with the University of New Mexico. If you’re interested in studying with me as a graduate student (either Master’s or PhD), please be in touch. I’m particularly interested in potential graduate students whose research interests intersect with my work in the geohumanities. This emerging field within geography has seen an influx of artists, writers, and humanists who are developing critical-creative geographic practices that engage with geography’s core concerns including place, space, landscape, power, and environment. If you want to develop a thesis or dissertation project in the areas of cultural geography and creativity, environmental and climate narratives, art-science, art & environment, geopoetics, and/or applied geohumanities and community-engaged research, let’s discuss the possibilities.
My teaching practice, much like my research, often revolves around staging encounters. I aim to offer a variety of opportunities for students that open up spaces for ‘aha’ moments and help guide them through tools they can use to approach these moments. In a sense, I think of teaching as facilitating these encounters—between students and content, but also between students and the cognitive tools that help them approach that content. The idea of cognitive dissonance—in which individuals are faced with new information that may expand or stretch an existing worldview—is also important in thinking through and fostering the learning space. These moments can be precisely the points at which students become deeply engaged in their own education.
For my current semester’s NMSU courses, search for GEOG courses at Las Cruces main campus here.
Some Recent Courses
GEOG 491-598: Special Topics Geohumanities (fall 2020, New Mexico State University)
In recent years, artists, writers, and humanities scholars have increasingly engaged with geographic concerns, and geographers have incorporated humanities-based approaches to their work. Broadly known as the geohumanities, these interdisciplinary endeavors offer exciting ways to engage with key geographic concepts such as place, landscape, and nature. This graduate/upper-level undergraduate seminar will examine both critical and creative approaches to the geohumanities.
GEOG 363V: Cultural Geography (fall 2020, fall 2019, fall 2018, fall 2017, New Mexico State University)
In this course, we will consider the intersections between geography and culture, and explore key cultural geographic concepts such as landscape, place, nature, and environment. We will consider multiple ways of doing cultural geography, focusing on cultural geography as both a critical and creative practice. Key topics and themes that we will focus on include the cultural geography tradition, critical cultural geographies, and cultural geography and creativity.
GEOG 483/583 Field Explorations in Geography (spring 2018, New Mexico State University)
Over NMSU’s spring break, I will teach a field course in the form of a road trip. After meeting in the classroom to ground ourselves and make preparations, we’ll hit the road for a week-long trip, camping along the way. We’ll explore physical, human, and environmental geography, and the interactions between environment, nature, culture, and place. Among the many places/sites that we’ll visit on the trip are the Sonoran Desert, the Grand Canyon, and the Glen Canyon Dam. See a flier for the Field Explorations course here.
GEOG 325V: New Mexico and the American West (spring 2020, spring 2019, spring 2018, New Mexico State University)
In this course, we will examine the human and cultural geography of New Mexico and the American West. We will explore cultural and historical patterns, economic activities, and environmental and physical characteristics of the region, as well as current challenges in the region.
GEOG 112G: World Regional Geography (spring 2020, spring 2019, fall 2018, spring 2018, fall 2017, New Mexico State University)
The goal of this course is to familiarize students with the world’s geographic diversity. Simply put, we want to understand how and why the world is organized the way it is. We will examine physical geographic processes and the human adaptations to those processes. We will study the diverse conditions of the everyday lives of people as well as comprehend the larger political, economic, social, and physical conditions that mediate their existence. Moreover, we want to understand the relationships between the social and spatial organization of society, and how the social world is organized in and through particular places, such as cities, states, and nations.
GEOG 302: Introduction to Sustainable Development (fall 2016, University of Arizona)
The 1987 Brundtland Commission defined sustainable development as that which “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Sustainability is often talked about in relation to the “three E’s”: environment, equity, and economy. However, what really is sustainable development? Has the word “sustainability” been used so much that it has lost much of its meaning? In this course, we will examine the idea of sustainable development from multiple viewpoints, and gain a better understanding of the policies, strategies, and interventions that seek to balance the environment, economy, and equity. We will explore how different ideas of sustainability may be mobilized to help imagine and enact new socio-ecological futures.
EVS 260: Environmental Studies: Ideas and Institutions (spring 2016, University of Arizona)
EVS 260 explores key ideas, individuals, and institutions that have shaped environmental studies and policies in the US and globally. EVS 260 is a required core course for the BA in Environmental Studies at the University of Arizona and is also taken as part of the Sustainable Built Environments undergraduate degree. As such it is intended as an intermediate level course in environment and society that provides students with an understanding of some of the key thinkers and issues that have shaped our understanding of the environment, and serves as an introduction to the most important policies and organizations that have shaped management of the environment. We will do this through a focus on iconic problems that have been at the core of environmental debates ranging from attempts to halt the loss of biodiversity and protect public land to climate change and different approaches to managing pollution.
GEOG 407/507: The American Landscape Field Course (summer 2015, University of Arizona)
I taught GEOG 407/507 as an experiential field course in which we traveled through the greater Southwest visiting iconic land art/earth art sites like Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty and Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels, as well as iconic Western locations such as the Grand Canyon and Glen Canyon Dam. In the course, we approached the sites we visited along the way as texts through which to explore the environmental, political, artistic, and cultural aspects of landscape.
Climate Change & Poetry
Community class at the University of Arizona Poetry Center (fall 2015)
Climate scientist Mike Hulme has written that “we need to reveal the creative, psychological, ethical and spiritual work that climate change is doing for us.” This is precisely what we’ll consider in this class, among the first of its kind offered anywhere. By blending readings of poetry with social and scientific readings of climate change, we’ll learn more about environmental poetry and about climate change, and we’ll think about how poetry and creativity may have a role in adapting to a warming world. We’ll read poetry that both directly and indirectly addresses climate change, including work by Patricia Smith, Brenda Hillman, Stephen Collis, Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, and many others.
Narratives of climate change place it alternately as an environmental justice issue, a national and global security issue, an apocalyptic threat to life on earth, an opportunity for social change, and more. In this course, we’ll explore how poets are increasingly taking up the issue of climate change in their work, and consider how poems reflect or complicate some of these climate narratives. We will primarily be reading and discussing poetry in conjunction with climate reports and texts, but we will also incorporate some writing exercises throughout, generating our own work. The course is open to students of all skill and experience levels.
Sixty percent of course fees were donated to Watershed Management Group, a local environmental nonprofit. Eric Magrane designed and taught this course as a Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) Climate & Society Fellow.
I contributed to a number of teaching-related sessions at the American Association of Geographers (AAG) conference in April 2018 in New Orleans. I presented a paper (“Southwestern Road Trip as Experiential Field Course”) in the “Experiential Learning in Geography Education” session on Tuesday, 10 April. I was also part of a panel on “Building the Geo-Humanities” on Friday, 13 April. On Saturday, 14 April, I was the discussant for a session on “Place-Based Pedagogy and Learning.”