Finding connections among seemingly unrelated or distant people, places, and environments fascinates me. Recently, I have been developing new ways to map the geographies of carbon emissions, land use, and human labor adequate to a globalizing world. For example, consider:
Carbon emissions from the global South have grown rapidly. But if many of our commodity chains are global, which of those emissions are part of processes that end up supporting consumers and capital accumulation in countries like the United States?
We increasingly pay attention to where the fields are that feed us. But are we indirectly connected to distant agricultural landscapes and environments, even when we aren’t importing food, fibers, or fuel from them? Where are the forests and fields in the world that we have impacted when we consume manufactured goods and services? Which fields in the world are more ‘globalized’ than others? Why?
- If the rapid changes in many agricultural landscapes and land uses are seen through the lens of globalization, do we gain new perspectives on the emergence and evolution of diseases, such as avian influenza?
Some of my work is more quantitative, some more historical, some more theoretical. Yet I have also benefited from the chance to observe several different parts of relevant connections: much of my time over the last number of years has been spent in China, whose relentlessly dynamic landscapes influence both my life and my research. I am a member of the China Studies Program here at the UW’s Jackson School of International Studies.
In fact, before attending the University of Minnesota for graduate school in geography, my undergraduate degree was actually in physics at Duke University, where the theoretical humanities also strongly shaped my worldview. Today, I am interested in different ways of knowing: through social theory, through quantitative approaches, as well as through sometimes finding productive synergies between them.
I am delighted to have joined you all in Seattle a year ago. Thus far, I have offered Geog 270 (Development and Environment) and Geog 360/560 (Principles of GIS) twice. My graduate seminars have included Geog 571 (Critical Ecologies of Relational Becoming: Geographies after Nature and Society) in 2012 and Geog 521 (Hybrid Humanities: Critical, Digital, Geographical) in 2013. In the spring of 2013, I will be offering a 400-level undergrad course exploring geovisualization and analysis for life in a digital era, with more to come!
Current CV and email: lrb9 -at- uw -dot- edu