I am a Professor of
Kutztown University of
Pennsylvania, where I teach courses in cultural geography,
globalization, the geography of the US and Canada, the geography of
Sub-Saharan Africa, and Geography Senior Seminar. I obtained all my
degrees from the University of Kansas.
My current research interests focus on the creation of local economies
in an age of globalization, with an emphasis on sustainable, local
agriculture. I am also undertaking a new study of the role and depiction of place and place identity in graphic novels and comics.
My research may at first glance appear eclectic – my
publications include papers about Swedes, Kiowas, microbreweries,
flooded Midwestern towns, and sustainable agriculture, among others.
However, there is a common thread that runs through most of my work –
understanding how people become psychologically rooted in place, the
ways that they derive their identity from place, and how people
intentionally maintain or establish their place’s distinctiveness. In the
face of increasingly homogenized popular, global, and corporate culture, many
people want to move away from what geographer Ed Relph has called “placelessness”
– where places become more and more alike – and are willing to take action to
make it happen. The term for this
return to the local is “neolocalism.”
I have long been interested in the ways that people attempt to make their
places distinctive, and how their identities become intertwined with the places
they live. My current research
examines the strategies used by communities to create more viable local
economies in the face of increasing globalization. I am also editor of
The Geographical Bulletin,
the peer-reviewed journal of student research in geography published by
Gamma Theta Upsilon, the
international geography honor society.