Human Geography

Jeff Allen
Jeff Allen
,
MA student
Research Interests
:
  • Cartography
  • GIS
  • Transportation
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jeff.allen@mail.utoronto.ca

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Andrew D. Almas
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Native, non-native and invasive species – attitudes and actions, geographical ranges, legislation
  • Urban forest management plans and their effect on residential behaviour
  • Green infrastructure and quantifying sustainability
  • Environmental assessment
  • Environmental remediation
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Email: andrew.almas@mail.utoronto.ca

Phone: (289) 208-7683; (905) 865-8867

Office: Dr. Tenley Conway’s lab – Davis Building 3209 (UTM)

sabrien amrov
Sabrien Amrov
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Militarism, Violence, and Security
  • Affect
  • Non-Western Political Thought
  • Fragmentation
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sabrien.amrov@mail.utoronto.ca

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Zach Anderson
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Political Ecology
  • Cultural Politics of Resource Extraction and Development
  • Neoliberalism and Market-based Conservation
  • The “Green Economy”
  • Indonesia (East Kalimantan)

My research examines the rapid expansion of ‘green economy’ projects in East Kalimantan, Indonesia, specifically carbon forestry projects and oil palm plantation development in the district of Berau. I draw on critical political economy and political ecology to examine the role that institutions of global environmental governance, corporations, and the state play in the process of land dispossession and social restructuring as  new ‘green’ commodities are created for global consumption. I am also interested in how this process is causing identity, labor, and the Indonesian landscape to be reshaped and reimagined in the discourse surrounding investment and land acquisition.

 

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Office: Room 5022, Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George Street, U of T, M5S 3G3
Phone: (647) 918-7760
email: z.anderson@utoronto.ca

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Amanda Baldo
,
MA student
Research Interests
:
  • Settlement services;
  • Non-profit organizations;
  • Canadian immigration;
  • Minority groups;
  • Health and well-being;
  • Housing;
  • Urban-rural migration;
  • Social/political/economic geographies.
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amanda.baldo@mail.utoronto.ca

 

 

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Brock Bersaglio
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Human-environment relations
  • Land and wildlife management
  • Politics of development
  • Eastern/southern Africa

As part of my doctoral research, I pursue ethnographic insights on safari tourism in Laikipia, Kenya – situating safaris in the land politics of Kenya’s former “white highlands”. From a practical angle, I consider the implications of conserving wildlife on private land for Laikipia’s diverse land users. This research is being funded by Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) and International Development Research Centre (IDRC). It also contributes to my larger research programme, which considers why global biodiversity conservation actors and agendas continually fall short of redressing land injustices in post-colonial African societies.

My other research uses qualitative methods to examine the socio-cultural and political-economic factors entwined with changing ecologies in rural parts of eastern and southern Africa. For example, I am currently involved in research on the livelihood implications of Kenya’s emerging oil and gas sector for pastoralist livelihoods in northern, semi-arid regions of the country.

As a “development practitioner”, I also remain actively engaged in work that examines the intended and unintended outcomes of local/global development processes – including the new Sustainable Development Goals. I am particularly interested in how dominant narratives of development translate in reality, as well as who wins and who loses as a result of such processes and why.

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Email: brock.bersaglio@mail.utoronto.ca
Mobile (Canada): +1 226 220 3283
Mobile (Kenya): +254 704 196 119
Skype: brocksaglio

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Patrick Braszak
,
MA student
Research Interests
:
  • Transboundary Protected Areas
  • Endangered Species
  • North America
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patrick.braszak@mail.utoronto.ca

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Benjamin Patrick Butler
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Critical disability studies
  • Political geography
  • Critical security studies
  • Borders
  • Embodiment
  • Feminist theory
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Office 617a
Sid Smith
100 St George

benjamin.butler [at] mail.utoronto.ca

Madelaine Cahuas
Madelaine Cristina Cahuas
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Migration, diaspora, citizenship and activism
  • Environmental health justice
  • Neighbourhood planning for health equity
  • Community participation, urban governance and non-profit sector
  • Race, gender, identity, Latinidad
  • Critical race feminism, anti-colonial studies and Chicana/Latina feminisms
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madelaine.cahuas at mail.utoronto.ca

Evan Castel
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Urban built form and its relationships with social processes and mental health
  • Healthcare quality
  • History of architecture and urban planning
  • GIS

My academic research is situated at the intersection of urban planning, architecture and public health, where I use a health equity lens with geospatial and epidemiological tools to examine connections between the built environment and human health. My doctoral work focuses on the unique built environment of high-rise habitation, using large Statistics Canada datasets and GIS to examine the health and social consequences of life in the current high-rise boom as well as in the aging, stigmatized high-rises that are central to Canada’s low-income urban housing stock. This work, supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, is providing the first national examination of the social and health implications of high-rise living, bringing insight into the effects of density and the role of disadvantage in Canada’s urban centres.

My undergraduate education was in the life sciences and then architecture (Queen’s University and University of Toronto), followed by ten years of experience in architecture and urban planning policy roles, including working for Ontario’s Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal (now Ministry of Infrastructure) on the preparation of the Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe. After developing my research and policy skills in these roles in the private and public sectors, I began graduate studies with a Master’s degree in health sciences at York University before beginning my present doctoral degree.  I am always interested in community and academic feedback and collaboration, and welcome inquiry via my contact information above.

 

 

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Email: evan.castel AT utoronto.ca
Office: Department of Geography, Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George Street, Room 5001, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON  M5S 3G3, tel (416) 978-3375

 

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Valentina Castellini
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Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Sustainable and Green economies
  • Precarious labour in green organizations
  • Urban Agriculture and DIY Gardening
  • Grassroots Participation
  • Urban Social Movements
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6473032591

v.castellini@mail.utoronto.ca

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Charles Chiu
,
MA student
Research Interests
:
  • Historical Urban Geography
  • History of Public Transportation
  • Urban Planning Theories in Colonial Context
  • East Asia
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ks.chiu@utoronto.ca

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Michael Chrobok
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Food accessibility, food deserts, and food justice
  • Consumer preferences and shopping behaviours in multicultural cities
  • The cultural politics of NASCAR racing
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Office: Sid Smith Hall, 617A

Email: michael.chrobok@mail.utoronto.ca

Twitter: @mwchrobok

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Bryan Dale
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Political economy and ecology
  • Climate change
  • Food sovereignty
  • Agroecology
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Office: Room 5022, Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George Street, Toronto ON M5S 3G3
Email: bryan [dot] dale [at] mail [dot] utoronto [dot] ca

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Martin Danyluk
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Logistics
  • Urban planning and politics
  • Political economy
  • Human-environment relations
  • Social and cultural theory
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Office: Sidney Smith Hall, Room 5017B

E-mail: martin [DOT] danyluk [CHEZ] utoronto [DOT] ca

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Angela Day
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Geographies of Health and Healing
  • Political Ecology and Environmental Justice
  • Feminist Theory
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
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angela.day@mail.utoronto.ca

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Kyla Egan
,
MA student
Research Interests
:
  • migration
  • immigration
  • central america
  • latin america
  • human geography
  • feminist geography
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Kyla.egan@utoronto.ca

(705)-933-4662

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Anna Ek
,
MA student
Research Interests
:
  • labour practices and volunteerism in urban agriculture
  • urban agriculture as a social movement
  • social reproduction
  • political ecology
  • anti-racist frameworks
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ania.ek@mail.utoronto.ca

Beyhan Farhadi
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Geographies of education
  • Knowledge economies
  • Digital ethnography
  • Sociology of technology
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beyhan.farhadi@mail.utoronto.ca

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Lia Frederiksen
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Urban Geography
  • Feminist Geography and Political Economy
  • Public Space, Political Geography, and the Production of Scale
  • Labour, Social Reproduction, and Knowledge
  • Public Libraries
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lia.frederiksen AT utoronto.ca

Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George Street — Room 5047, University of Toronto, Department of Geography, Toronto, ON  M5S 3G3

 

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Emily Hawes
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Urban Geography
  • Economic and Financial Geography
  • Feminist Economic Geography
  • Household Debt and Everyday Life
  • Income and Wealth Inequality
  • Inter-generational Inequalities
  • Housing and mortgage markets
  • Financialization, Financial Subjectivities
  • Financial Geography of Pensions and Retirement
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emily.hawes@mail.utoronto.ca

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Anastasia Hervas
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Climate change policy (Kyoto, CDM, REDD+)
  • Biofuels – socio-economic and environmental impacts of feedstock production and trade
  • Rural livelihoods and development
  • Latin America
  • Political Ecology
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Office: 45 St. George st. Room 110 (Physical Geography Building)

Email: anastasia.gousseva@mail.utoronto.ca

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Andrew Kaufman
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Financialization
  • Sovereign Debt
  • Socio-Spatial Inequality
  • Homelessness
  • Mobility
  • Precarious Housing (Rooming Houses)
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andrew.kaufman@mail.utoronto.ca

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Yasmin Khan
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Gender and Access to Agricultural Resources
  • Feminist Political Economy/Ecology
  • Gender, Aquaculture and Fisheries
  • Gender and Livelihoods
  • Global South
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Hyun-Chul Kim
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Queer geopolitics in East Asia
  • Evangelical-secular urban formation process
  • Queer diaspora
  • disabilities and bordered spaces
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hchul.kim@mail.utoronto.ca

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Lazar Konforti
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • agrarian political economy
  • rural livelihoods
  • land access, land grabbing, land reform, land rights, etc.
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100 Saint George St. | University of Toronto | Sidney Smith Hall 617A

 

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Robert Kopack
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Cold War
  • Science and technology
  • Kazakhstan and Central Asia

My doctoral work at the University of Toronto focuses on the Cold War and specifically from the Soviet side. I am interested in the sites used for weapons testing and the development of strategic science and technology in Kazakhstan. For a dissertation project, my perspective is to contextualize Kazakhstan, both during the Soviet period and since 1991, as a ‘laboratory space’ for the realization of key military goals like nuclear weapons, space travel, and a range of ballistic missiles and other tactical armaments. The research sites that I have chosen for this study include Kurchatov (Semipalatinsk), the Baikonur Cosmodrome, and the Sary Shagan test field. My contention is that due to specific geographic planning and resource allocation, Kazakhstan was broadly used as a research space. The legacy of this and the forms of science and technology that were realized in Kazakhstan continue to play a crucial role in its post-Soviet political-economy.

Since 2009 I have been researching, working, and traveling in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. My master’s work at Michigan State University looked at the negotiation of Soviet memorial, commemorative, and symbolic landscapes and the degree to which these are maintained, relocated, or effaced. This research brought me into the sites that I have chosen for my doctoral work.

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robert.kopack@mail.utoronto.ca

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Janina Kowalski
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • urban ecology
  • political ecology
  • urban vegetation
  • urban green space
  • ethnobotany
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janina.kowalski@utoronto.ca

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Philip Kuligowski Chan
,
MA student
Research Interests
:
  • Citizenship
  • Immigration
  • Identity politics
  • Canadian politics
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Office: Sidney Smith Hall SS570
Email: p.kuligowsichan@mail.utoronto.ca

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Jennifer Langill
,
MA student
Research Interests
:
  • Rural livelihoods
  • Livelihood vulnerability
  • Coping mechanisms for environmental, health and economic shocks
  • Financial inclusion and sustainability
  • Peruvian Amazon
  • Laos
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E-mail: jennifer.langill@mail.utoronto.ca

Office: Sidney Smith Hall SS570

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Nicole Latulippe
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Indigenous geographies
  • critical colonial geographies
  • cultural politics of nature
  • environmental knowledge and governance
  • political ecology of inland fisheries
  • community based research and Indigenous research methodology
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nicole.latulippe@mail.utoronto.ca

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Cindy Ka Man Lee
,
MA student
Research Interests
:
  • Labour and spaces of work
  • Student Geographies
  • Class, racial, and national formation
  • Asian diasporas and transnationalism
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Phone: 647 939 7836

Email: cindykm.lee@mail.utoronto.ca

 

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Elsie Lewison
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • critical development studies
  • feminist political economy
  • agrarian transitions
  • agricultural science and technology
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elsie.lewison@mail.utoronto.ca

Nick Lombardo
Nick Lombardo
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:

My research interests fall broadly under the heading of urban and economic geography. In particular I am interested in the interplay between capital, technology, and the state, specifically in relation to large-scale infrastructure planning and land-use law. Empirically, I focus on New York City after the American Civil War, from 1865 until the Great Depression began, in 1929.

Research Interests:

Urban Geography

Legal Geographies and Jurisdiction

Historical Geography

Planning and Land-Use Governance

Ports, Shipping, and Transportation

Infrastructure

Urban Governance and Institutions

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Office 617A, Sidney Smith Hall

P: 647 745 1785

E: nick.lombardo@utoronto.ca

Twitter: @NLombardoGeo

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Elizabeth Lord
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Environmental policies in China
  • Rural/Urban inequalities
  • Political Ecology
  • Environmental knowledge production
  • Science and Technology Studies

Based on fieldwork conducted in Northwest China, my research asks how rural people and landscapes are integrated into China’s national environmental project. I draw on political ecology to understand environmental transformations and inequality, or more specifically the intersection between the greening project and rural/urban relationships. I also draw on Science and Technology Studies to evaluate how limits and pressures on contemporary environmental research affect what is known, emphasized or made invisible to those bringing the environmental project to life.

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elizabeth.lord@utoronto.ca

Office: Room 5025C, Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George Street, U of T, M5S 3G3

Hamdi Mahmoud
Hamdi Mahmoud
,
MA student
Research Interests
:
  • Migration Theory
  • Transnationalism
  • Diaspora
  • Development
  • Policy
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Hamdi.mahmoud@utoronto.ca

Cell: 647-964-6394

Leah Marajh
Leah Marajh
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Water Sustainability
  • Climate Change
  • Urban Resilience
  • Tropical Environments
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leah.marajh@utoronto.ca

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Zannah Mae Matson
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Post-conflict Reconstruction
  • Landscape Infrastructure
  • Conflict Urbanism
  • Gender and Urbanism
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zannah.matson@mail.utoronto.ca

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Katie Mazer
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Cultural politics of work
  • Resource economies
  • Labour migration
  • Political economy
  • Critical geographies of Canada

Through a historical and ethnographic examination of labour migration between Canada’s east coast and extractive resource industries ‘out west’, my work analyses the confluence of regional decline, state regulation of (un)employment and the unemployed, and the political economy of resource extraction. In undertaking this research, I’m interested in challenging normative understandings of productivity and the ideological dominance of oil and gas as the solution to poverty and unemployment in rural Canada.

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Office: Sidney Smith Hall, Room 5027A, 100 Saint George Street, Toronto, ON, M5S 3G3

Email: k.mazer*at*utoronto.ca

Killian McCormack
Killian McCormack
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Militarism and geopolitics
  • Critical security studies
  • Globalization and postcolonialism
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Email: k.mccormack@mail.utoronto.ca

Office: Room 5012, Sidney Smith Hall

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Rebecca (Becky) McMillan
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Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Political ecology
  • Water and sanitation
  • Critical development studies
  • Commons and citizenship
  • Environmental governance
  • Gender
  • Latin American studies
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E-mail: Rebecca.mcmillan@mail.utoronto.ca

Office: Sidney Smith, 5012

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Leah Montange
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • migration
  • detention centers
  • unfree labor
  • citizenship and non-citizenship

I am broadly interested in the confluence of precarious and unfree migrant labor; the securitization of migration and especially the deployment of migrant detention; and discourses of nationalism and racialization.  I am particularly interested in three major tensions within this field:

1) between autonomous migration and state sovereignty and territoriality.

2) between the production/protection of state sovereignty and the production of a pool of cheap migrant labor

3) between liberal socio-legal frameworks and discourses of exclusion, belonging, and deservingness

My scholarly work explores how these tensions manifest in, shape, and are re-produced in systems of migration detention and incarceration.  This research is under-girded by an interest in how systems of migration enforcement and management are actively contested and re-shaped by an array of non-state actors including migrants and detainees.

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leah.montange@mail.utoronto.ca

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Cynthia Morinville
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Political ecology
  • Resource access and inequalities
  • Feminist epistemologies
  • Critical development studies
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cynthia.morinville*at*mail.utoronto.ca

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James Nugent
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Social movements; labour-environment coalitions
  • political ecology; urban metabolism
  • politics of conservation; poverty & the environment
  • climate change
  • pedagogy (environment and the economy)
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james.nugent **at** utoronto.ca

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Neil Nunn
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:

•geographies of waste
•posthuman and relational ontologies
•anticolonial thought
•feminist geographies
•emotional geographies

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Email: neil.nunn@mail.utoronto.ca

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Rachel Phillips
,
MA student
Research Interests
:
  • Urban economic geography
  • Declining cities
  • Urban policy
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Email: rachel.phillips@mail.utoronto.ca

Office: SS570

Eleanor
Eleanor Rae
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • cultural and symbolic landscapes
  • condominium development in Toronto
  • urban neoliberalism
  • gentrification, place-making, and neighbourhood transformation
  • creative city strategies
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eleanor.rae@utoronto.ca

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Emily Reid-Musson
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • labour geography
  • migration
  • mobility
  • precarious work
  • political economy
  • agriculture & construction

Through ethnographic and archival methods, my research documents how physical, everyday mobility among multiple groups of migrant agricultural workers in rural southwestern Ontario are constituted in relation to their temporary status in Canada as ‘mobile-but-not-free’ populations. The research unpacks the lived dimensions of labour force and agricultural restructuring, and the ongoing re/production of a seasonal migrant workforce within and across national borders. I was motivated to conduct the project in order to explain the factors that have led to 23 migrant farm workers’ deaths in transportation-related collisions in southwestern Ontario since 2005. The disproportionate physical vulnerability workers bear ‘on the move’ at local scales is evidence, I argue, of the pressures borne in negotiating extreme forms of socio-spatial confinement and isolation institutionalized in employment and labour migration regulation.

More broadly, I am interested in documenting patterns of geographical mobility as they have intensified at multiple scales in the Canadian context, affecting families, communities, workers and individuals differently. As a research assistant for Dr. Michelle Buckley I am conducting research on rising international migration into the construction trades in Toronto and London (UK) with a focus on the urban character of construction-related migration (see www.urbanizationfrombelow.net).

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Email: reidmussone at geog.utoronto.ca

Office: Room 5027A, Sidney Smith Hall, St George campus

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Naomi Schwartz
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Disability
  • Food access
  • Transportation
  • Urban design
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Office: Sidney Smith Hall, SS615

Email: naomir.schwartz@mail.utoronto.ca

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Alyssa Scott
,
MA student
Research Interests
:
  • Political ecology
  • Indigenous rights
  • Mining and Indigenous consultation/consent
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Office: Sidney Smith Hall Room 587

alyssa.scott@mail.utoronto.ca

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Dylan Simone
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Political Economy of Housing and Mortgage Markets
  • Geographies of Immigration, Migration, Refugees
  • Finance, Financialization and Financial Crises
  • ‘Big’ Data and the Politics of Inclusion
  • Urban Inequality and Neighbourhood Change
  • Urban/Economic/Social/Political/Critical Theory
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dylan.simone@mail.utoronto.ca

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Kimberley Slater
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:

I am studying large scale participatory processes, social mobilization and sustainability.

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Phone: 604-698-7697

Email: slaterkr2003@yahoo.ca

 

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Stephanie Stanov
,
MA student
Research Interests
:
  • social and environmental justice issues
  • neighbourhood scale greening initiatives
  • urban historical geography
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Email: stephanie.stanov@mail.utoronto.ca

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Laura Tozer
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • climate change
  • governance
  • cities
  • urban sustainability
  • environmental geography
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laura.tozer@mail.utoronto.ca

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Isabel Urrutia
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Food, bodies, and identity
  • Feminist geography and visceral geographies
  • Women in science
  • Political Ecology
  • Food waste
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isabel DOT urrutiaschroeder AT mail DOT utoronto DOT ca

Twitter: @turnipsapiens

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Katie Valentine
,
MA student
Research Interests
:
  • Conservation policy
  • Endangered species
  • Political ecology
  • Fracking/Fossil fuels
  • Food policy
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Email: katie.valentine@mail.utoronto.ca

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Nicole Van Lier
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Political ecology
  • Feminist political economy
  • Settler colonialism
  • Nationalism and state-formation
  • Access to land and resources
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nickie.vanlier@mail.utoronto.ca

Sam Walker
Samuel Walker
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Political ecology
  • Critical GIS
  • The alternative food movement
  • Urban agriculture in North America
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Office: Room 615, Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George Street, U of T, M5S 3G3
Email: click here

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Yi Wang
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Political economy of food and agriculture
  • Labor geographies
  • Social reproduction

I am interested broadly in the contradictory socio-spatial relations and processes through which diverse subalterns come to experience, (re)produce, understand, and transform the world through their various labors. My current project focuses on how contemporary workers’ movements in the food service and retail sectors in the United States are rupturing ‘labor’ and ‘food’ as terrains of struggle over social reproduction.

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yiwang.wang@mail.utoronto.ca

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Christopher Webb
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Youth, education and class mobility in South Africa
  • Student struggles and the politics of indebtedness
  • Unemployment, debt and new forms of social welfare in the Global South
  • Political economy, particularly finance
  • Critical development studies
  • African cities and southern urbanism
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chris.webb@mail.utoronto.ca

Wilczak
Jessica Wilczak
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Critical disaster studies
  • Development studies
  • Agrarian transition
  • Political ecology
  • Chinese urbanism

 

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Sidney Smith Hall, Room 5027A

100 Saint George Street, Toronto, ON, Canada, M5S 3G3

jess.wilczak@mail.utoronto.ca

 

ruilin
Ruilin Yang
,
MA student
Research Interests
:
  • Geography of FDI
  • Financial Constraints of SMEs
  • Rural-urban Migration and Urbanization
  • Political Economy and Development
  • China
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Office: Room 570, Sidney Smith Hall

Email: ruilin.yang@mail.utoronto.ca

 

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Wei Si Nicole Yiu
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Story Telling
  • Queer Desires and Intimacy
  • Diaspora and Migration
  • Global Care Chain and Transnational Female Workers
  • Spatial Appropriation and Feminist Geography
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Email: Nicole.yiu@utoronto.ca

Office: Room 307A (Physical Geography Building)

Leqian Yu
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Geographies of marketization and finance
  • Agrarian transition and urbanization
  • Political economy
  • Ethnographic methods
  • China
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Office: Sidney Smith Hall SSH5004

Email: leqian.yu@utoronto.ca

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Adam Zendel
,
Human Geography PhD Student
Research Interests
:
  • Cultural Economy
  • Live Music Industry
  • Touring Music Industry
  • Urban Economic Geography
  • Cultural Industries
  • Precarious Labour

My research investigates the growing trend of precarious labour in cultural industries, particularly in the live music industry. The live music industry is resilient to the challenges faced by the recording industry vis a vis digital technologies, prosumerization, online distribution and music piracy. While recording studios around the world are shuttering, live music is booming: tours are grossing unprecedented revenues; ticket prices are higher and selling out faster; festivals such as Coachella are growing seemingly without limit; and more artists derive their livelihood through concerts than record sales. This resilience is related to a temporal and spatial flexibility in the production and consumption of live music. Unlike making a record in a studio, concerts occur in different places made possible through significant amounts of local and touring labour. One of the less explored elements of this growth is the reliance on labour inputs when compared to the recorded music industry. Concert touring requires an army of highly mobile and flexible workers to travel from city to city. While a tour is in motion, the destinations in its path are less significant than how the production moves through space. Similar to circuses, tourism, shipping, and emergency aid delivery, music tours generate value through work performed in motion. My research seeks to understand the lived experience of life on the road, work in the music industry, and work in motion.

My research draws on a qualitative data drawn from participant observation performed while working as a sound technician at concerts, as well as interviews with various concert technicians. With live music ascending to be the primary arm of the music industry, it is essential to critically examine both the winners and losers of this growth. Cities and states are quickly adopting live music policies to develop local music scenes. Prominent urban theorists, such as Richard Florida, laud cities like Austin and Nashville for their vibrant music scenes attributing the growth of other creative industries to their local music scenes. However, the spillover benefits of a vibrant music scene are undermined by precarious labour conditions. The goal of this project is shine a spotlight on the often hidden and immaterial labour that supports the live music industry.

 

 

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Office: Cultural Economy Lab, Room 5029, Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George Street, U of T, M5S 3G3

Phone: (647) 607-0224

Email: adam.zendel@mail.utoronto.ca