Professor, Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University

My research interests lie in three interrelated areas. First, the psychoanalytic geographies of people’s lives in terms of the entanglements of the psyche and social, that is, collective modes of embodied doing, feeling, and thinking. This work, which takes inspiration from the spatial and social theories of Jacques Lacan, investigates why, how, and where desire, enjoyment, anxiety, and unconscious fantasies are not simply located “inside” our heads, but rather are materially externalized in lived socio-spatial practices associated with soccer, tourism, and literature.

Second, the aesthetic geographies of everyday life that investigates art’s capacity to infuse human experience with constructive meanings and affirmative power. This research draws on Friedrich Nietzsche’s aesthetic theories, especially the spatial and temporal delimitations of two artistic forces: the “Apollonian,” which refers to illusion, the beauty of surfaces, and orderly visible forms, and the “Dionysian,” which refers to sensuality, intoxicating energies, and the blurring of social boundaries. This work has investigated the allures of Google Earth, soundscapes of popular music, and the political aesthetics of multicultural festivals.

Finally, I have begun a project that examines the growth of paranormal investigation cultures through a study of the lived spaces of organizations in British Columbia and conferences across the USA and Canada. Despite the formation of a modern and secular society, throughout the world, there has been a surge in beliefs, practices, and experiences associated with the paranormal. Central to these new paranormal cultures is the increase in popularity of paranormal investigation organizations and conferences that study anomalous phenomena, in particular ghosts, UFOs, and “monsters” such as Sasquatch. Using scientific models, rhetoric, and techniques, these organizations and conferences have resulted in the democratization of paranormal investigation and greater availability of paranormal experiences for a significant number of people. This project is funded by a SSHRC Insight Grant and supports one MA and two PhD studentships.

In March 2017 (almost halfway through the four year project), I gave a SFU President’s Faculty Lecture Series talk on the preliminary findings. The video recording is here.

I am Book Review Editor for The Canadian Geographer and the Vice President of the Lacan Salon.

Experience

  • –present
    Professor, Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University, Simon Fraser University