Research

I am interested in critical approaches to and applied research on property. I use the lens of property to explore the intersection of political ecology, legal geography, and geographic information science. I believe that an understanding of the ways in which people struggle to access, define, and distribute the rights and responsibilities surrounding property is crucial for understanding how cultural, political, legal, and economic systems function. Some questions that guide my research are:

  1. How do societies define property? What can and should be owned? What are the rights and responsibilities of ownership? How does property both reflect and change the way that we relate to each other?
  2. In what way do market-oriented approaches to property rights support or undermine sustainable livelihoods?
  3. In what ways can and do communities manage forest resources outside of formal government control? How can communities get governments to politically and legally recognize and protect these practices?
  4. How are natural resources implicated in and impacted by violent conflicts? How can natural resources be managed in postwar scenarios and during conflicts to promote peacebuilding? How are different types of social identity linked to different types of natural resources and different types of conflicts?

Current Research and Supervision

I am willing to supervise students addressing the specific projects below or pursuing research in the broad areas of political ecology, environmental peacebuilding, geographic information science, and legal geography. I am also willing to work with any students that want to create OER for geography and environmental studies

Environmental peacebuilding. I examine postwar land administration systems in complex political situations such as those found in East Timor and Aceh, Indonesia. My work in this area led to me co-founding the Environmental Peacebuilding Academy. I teach professional consultants and graduate students applied approaches to environmental peacebuilding. Having supervised research projects around the world, I am willing to work with students on environmental peacebuilding in wide array of settings.

SSHRC Major Collaborative Research Initiative. I am a collaborator on a SSHRC Major Collaborative Research Initiative (MCRI) called The Indian Ocean World: The making of the first global economy in the context of human-environment interaction. The initiative examines how environmental change has historically influenced trade, migration, and political conflict in the Indian Ocean World region.

Cameroon. I have been involved since 2002 with investigation of current and historical Mbororo natural resource management, migration, and settlement patterns, specifically in the Adamaoua region near Tchabal Mbabo. This work is expanding to examine how Islamic land law is adapted and practiced throughout the region.

Open education practices for Geography and Environmental Studies. I have supervised several undergraduate research projects on open education and open science. I would be interested in working with graduate students that conduct research on the costs, outcomes, usage, and perception of open education resources (OERs) in Canada and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Spatial forensics. I work with forensic anthropologists on developing applied spatial statistics to understand killer behaviour and taphonomy. This work assists in locating mass graves and the missing after genocides. This research and student research assistants have been funded by JPAC-MIL, Okanagan College, ICRC, and ORISE.