Please link to my publications page.
PhD Research (2007-2015)
In 2015, I successfully defended my dissertation, entitled After Collective Memory: Postnational Europe and Socially Engaged Art. My external examiner was Dr. Erica Lehrer (Canada Research Chair, Heritage and Memory Studies, Concordia). Drawing from the interdisciplinary humanities, this work situates digital, cinematic, literary, and sculptural interventions aimed at challenging specific imaginaries of European “home” amid the global financial crisis in 2008. By bridging the history and theory of memorialization together with approaches from critical race and ethnic studies, I argued that interventions into European collective memory during that period were largely initiated among second-generation migrants pursuing a “translocal” (El-Tayeb, 2011) identity politics.
I mount a strong challenge to the cosmopolitan turn within European public culture, focusing in particular on the cosmopolitan ethos that emerged from the so-called European-Jewish tradition in the 19th century. I then delve into myriad strategies created by Holocaust memory practitioners from the immediate post-war years to the present, highlighting their recent attempt at accounting for “multidirectional” (Rothberg, 2009), and explicitly non-Jewish, experiences of genocidal violence. I supplement this record with a critical examination of the geopolitical conditions that led West German counter-monuments to become a design standard on the global stage, focusing on post-Soviet memorial strategies, post-unification government policies, and official narratives. Toward the end of my dissertation, I assess the haunting resurgence of a cosmopolitan populism as depicted in a video trilogy by artist Yael Bartana. Entitled And Europe Will Be Stunned (2009-11), the trilogy is based on a fictitious activist group that attempts to overcome the demand to congregate under nationalism. I then compare Bartana’s work with perspectives from critical ethnic studies that aim to disassemble the populism of the movement that she herself identifies as a problem.
During the course of writing my dissertation, I published in Descant Magazine, Drain: A Journal of Contemporary Art and Culture, Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, Reviews in Cultural Theory, and in two edited volumes. In 2017 I published an article on Yael Bartana’s artisitic works in PhiN: Philologie im Netz (Philology in the Network), in which I situate Bartana’s artistic works within specific historical and theoretical debates. I also explored the urban geography of memory, and other issues that were adjacent to my work during this period (M/C: Journal of Media and Culture, 2016).
In 2018, I edited a special issue of Media Theory, which focused on particular aesthetic, cultural, historical and archival objects to develop polyvocal expressions on the reshaping of our navigational and sensed reality by geospatial media. A total of 17 contributors found ways to infuse collective memory practices together with the experiences, discourses and technologies of a wide array of geospatial media, writing from diverse fields such as film and archival studies, psychogeography and urban studies, and media archaeology.
Selected Peer-Reviewed Articles / Book Chapters
In “Geospatial Detritus: Mapping Urban Abandonment” (Routledge, 2016), I examine how digital mapping visualization has helped to transform abandoned cities into motors of sensory experience, sociality and public initiative. By drawing from Fran Tonkiss’ (2013) concept of “austerity urbanism,” I position demands to mobilize an international tourism industry in relation to equally provocative initiatives to develop and refurbish abandoned cities, highlighting the important role that digital media plays in this refurbishment.
In “The Geospatial Rhetoric of Asylum: Mapping Migration in Fortress Europe” (Networking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA, 2016), I isolate a cluster of connections that exist between geospatial imaging technology and relations between users, interfaces and publics, focusing on a German neo-fascist group’s publication of a Google Map containing locational information of the country’s asylum houses. I examine how the group’s information gathering tactics reflect long contested relationships between maps, power and the construction of identity, and I question the viability of addressing anti-migrant sentiment by appealing to spatial demands that are historically aligned with social justice initiatives. I further address methodological, historical and theoretical issues. These include: the epistemic assumptions behind rejecting politically motivated maps as propaganda, the logistical or strategic novelties associated with crowdsourcing information, and the narrative power of maps.
In “Geolocating Popular Memory: Recorded Images of Hashima Island after Skyfall” (Popular Communication: The International Journal of Media and Culture, 2018), I significantly enhance one of the examples briefly mentioned in “Geospatial Detritus” by grappling with efforts to document Japan’s Hashima Island following its appearance in the popular film Skyfall (2012). In this expanded version, I describe how the film’s commercial success led to subsequent efforts by Google to produce images of the island’s built environment using digital navigation technologies, and describe how this effort led the Japanese government to include Hashima Island in a bid to gain UNESCO heritage status for sites of industrialization during the Meiji period. I further analyze how the circulation of images depicting Hashima Island in popular culture has affected continuing efforts to hold Japan accountable for its past injustices. By focusing on the period“after” Skyfall, I connect this geopolitical maneuvering by extension to the Google Street View initiative, exploring the latter’s impact on navigation, spatial presence, and heritage.
Ecology, Infrastructure and Mobility in Communications Research
My 2020-21 SSHRC Explore Grant has focused on the policing and safety app culture that has emerged alongside the unique socio-spatial conditions of the global pandemic. Its broader, initial aim was to critically re-examine the urban renewal projects lead by tech industry leaders such as Alphabet Inc., by facilitating collaborations among experts from diverse fields on the conjuncture between three distinct research areas: ecology, infrastructure and mobility. My hope was to generate alternatives to some of the prevailing issues surrounding big data, privacy, data ownership, and the ecological imprint of digital technologies, and to explore doubts regarding the industry’s ability to judiciously deliver services that are normally covered by municipalities and regional governments.