My research interests center on questions of space and power. Our everyday spaces are human constructions, subject to the decisions made by people who occupied powerful positions in the past. In much of my teaching, research, and publication, I work to understand how those in marginalized social positions are forced to navigate spaces constructed by people who sought to exclude them.
Since 2017, I have conducted archival research with several institutions in the US Pacific Northwest, including the US National Archives, Washington State University, The University of Washington, and the Yakima Valley Museum. I look at the role played by reclamation infrastructure in the ongoing process of settler colonialism in the US West, particularly in the arid lands of the inland Pacific Northwest. Through this work, I show how the dispossession of Columbia Basin Native American tribes from their lands and access to water is directly tied to US federal government strategies aiming to increase white settlement of the inland Pacific Northwest and ensure that whites held power and access to wealth accumulation. Federal reclamation projects played a significant part in that process. See an example of this research in my 2022 article, “Theft: Grave robbery, territorial conquest, and irrigation”.
Since coming to UofL in 2018, I’ve carried out considerable archival research with UofL’s Archives and Special Collections Library. This work is focused on the racial history of Louisville, with a particular emphasis on the history of African Americans in the city, as well as other topics. My research with UofL Archives and Special Collections plays a part in the classes I teach (especially GEOG 324: Race and Place and GEOG 305: Historical Geography) as well as through scholarship, such as in Uncovering Racial Logics, an educational website I co-designed with UofL colleagues, and my 2020 publication with Dan Cockayne (University of Waterloo), “Understanding How Hatred Persists”.
I remain very interested in questions of citation, authority, and knowledge production in Geography. Ordinary academic practices such as citation, research methodology, and publication constitute a politics in themselves which often serves to elevate the voices of some while marginalizing others. For an example of this work, see “Citation Matters”, an article I co-authored with Dan Cockayne in 2017.
Race in the United States
The US West
GEOG 200 Human Geography in a Changing World
GEOG 300 Globalization and Diversity
GEOG 324 Race and Place
GEOG 305 Historical Geography
GEOG 340 Environmental Conflicts in the United States