I’ve been mainly pursuing various themes in the history of twentieth-century geography. I’ve worked on the role played during the Second World War of several American geographers especially within the Office of Strategic Services (forerunner of the CIA). More recently, along with Elliott Child, UBC, we’ve looked directly at the roles of the CIA and geographers in the larger project of Cold War Area Studies. At the same time, I’ve also been interested in a parallel group of German geographers during the same period who worked for the Nazis, particularly, the Haushofers, father and son, Walter Christaller, and August Lösch. An interest in the mid-twentieth geographer William Warntz led me to research early computerization, and followed by an examination of its contemporary manifestation, Big Data. I’ve also been interested in early forms of Big Data during the Vietnam War, including as GIS. Robert McNamara, the Secretary of Defense under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, was a key promoter. Most recently, I’ve looked at some of geography’s 1960s Vietnam War protestors, as well as those concerned with Civil Rights. The most important was Bill Bunge. I’ve published a series of papers specifically on Bunge’s life and works. I am also involved in a larger project concerned to write about the history of North American radical geography from the mid-1950s to the early 1980s. A jointly edited book with Eric Sheppard, Spatial Histories of North American Radical Geography, is in preparation, due out in 2019. In early 2018 I published an experimental textbook in economic geography with Brett Christophers, Economic Geography: A Critical Introduction. And finally, I continue to work with Tom Hutton, School of Community and Regional Planning, UBC, on the innovation economies of Vancouver and Seattle, recently writing briefing papers for Metrovancouver Planning Department.
Honours: Distinguished University Scholar, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and Fellow of the British Academy.