Andrew Merrill, Human Geography PhD Candidate


Home Campus:
U of T St. George

My current doctoral research examines "Start-Up War", a term I coin to describe recent entanglements and collaborations between Silicon Valley/Tech/Start-Ups and the US national security apparatus, looking at both how the US military and security apparatus is reconfiguring itself in the conceptual rhetoric of Silicon Valley and how Silicon Valley/Tech/Start-Ups have begun to pursue defense contracting. I use a multi-method approach to examine the political economic, material culture, and spatial elements of this phenomenon. Beyond this, I maintain research streams on technology, surveillance and urban space, the politics of sound in war & policing, and the mediation of landscape (particularly through photography and photography as a research creation practice).

Other Degrees:
MSc (with Distinction), Digital Anthropology, University College London, University of London, London, UK
B.A. (Magna Cum Laude), Anthropology (Minor: Women's and Gender Studies), American University, Washingtion, D.C., USA

Honours & Awards:
2019 - 2017 Early Career Researcher Award, Surveillance Studies Network
2018 - Graduate Research Grant, Centre for the Study of the United States, Munk School for Global Affairs, University of Toronto

Emily Gilbert, PhD

Committee Members:
Matthew Farish, PhD
Sue Ruddick, PhD

Contact Information:


Personal Website:

Research Interests:

  • Critical military studies
  • Science & technology studies (particularly: platforms, network technologies, cybernetics, military technologies, human-machine interaction)
  • Surveillant technologies and military/police violence
  • Material culture
  • Critical geopolitics
  • Decolonization/anti-imperialism
  • Military urbanisms & the militarized production of space
  • Arms fairs & the political economy of war and militaries
  • Haunting/hauntology
  • Marxism and historical materialism
  • Commodity fetishism
  • New materialism/nonhuman geographies
  • Visual culture studies
  • Sound studies
  • Photography and the photographic image

Teaching This Academic Year:

WGS434 – The Politics/Cultures of Surveillance

Selected Publications:

Merrill, A. (2017). The Life of a Gunshot: Space, Sound and the Political Contours of Acoustic Gunshot Detection. Surveillance & Society, 15(1), 42–55.

Research Clusters:
Political Spaces