Research Interests

I am among a second generation of American feminist historical geographers. My advisor Jeanne Kay (Guelke) was a pioneer in the field, offering in the 1980s and 1990s some of the most incisive critiques of the masculinism of American historical geography. My doctoral work (PhD University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1996) focused on 19th century British women travelers in the American West caught between 'competing' British and American imperialisms and gender norms.

Since then my research has spanned several historical geography tracks, including the history of geographical thought and literacy in North America; 19th century travel writing; British and American post-colonialisms; the geography of religion; and most recently, critical prison studies. (See the Digital Commons and CV links below.) Inspired by my association with a local nonprofit, the Lewisburg Prison Project, my recent work has become more 'scholarly-activist' in nature. I am presently at work on a number of projects related to historical geographies of mass incarceration in the U.S. and the spatial violence of late modern American prisons and jails.

Recent Interviews/Media


At the broadest scale my teaching interests are in social and cultural geography. My courses focus on historical and sociological ("social theory") approaches to the study of space and place, especially those to do with gender relations and cultural politics.

Courses I have regularly taught include:

  • Gender, Place, and Culture (GEOG 123)
  • Cultural Geography (GEOG 220)
  • Introduction to American Studies (GEOG 229/UNIV 229)
  • Gender and Geography (GEOG 323)
  • Travel Writing and Place (GEOG 375)

Activities and Highlights 2012-2013

  • An Author Meets Critics session at the New York AAG in April featured discussion of my book, Civic Discipline: Geography in America, 1860-1890. The published Review Forum appears in The Geographical Review 102 (4): 539-562, featuring commentary by Jeremy Crampton, Mona Domosh, Susan Schulten, and the late Neil Smith, among others.
  • Historical geographers from Prague, Czech Republic hosted the 15th International Conference of Historical Geographers in August. I presented some new research on spatial violence in the late modern American prison; the published version appears in EPD: Society and Space. (37).
  • The Geography Department at Queen Mary, University of London hosted me as Distinguished Visiting Fellow in March.
  • "Carceral Space and the Usable Past" is the title of my Distinguished Historical Geography Lecture, presented at the 2013 AAG in Los Angeles.
  • Summer highlight: attending the 24th International Congress of History of Science, Technology and Medicine, Manchester, UK, and delivering a keynote address, "Geographical Literacies and Their Publics." A version of this talk appears in Progress in Human Geography, research supported by a McColl Family Fellowship, AGS Library (Milwaukee).
  • In October 2012, the Place Studies Initiative at Bucknell (BUEC) hosted a public panel discussion at Barnes and Noble Bookstore, titled "USP Lewisburg: A Contested Space." at which I was a panelist.

Selected Publications

View my recent works in our Digital Commons.

(2013) "Distinguished Historical Geography Lecture 2013: Carceral Space and the Usable Past,"Historical Geography 41: 1-21.

(2013) "Men's Modesty, Religion, and the State: Spaces of Collision," Men and Masculinities 16 (3): 307-328.

(2013) "'Security Here Is Not Safe': Violence, Punishment, & Space in the Contemporary U.S. Penitentiary," Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 31 (3): 381-399.

(2013) "Geographical Literacies and Their Publics: Reflections on the American Scene," Progress in Human Geography 37 (1): 3-9.

(2012) "Paradigm Dramas in American Geography," author response, Review Essay Forum on my Civic Discipline: Geography in America, 1860-1890, in Geographical Review 102 (4): 556-562.

(2012; anthologized rpt.) with Jeanne Kay Guelke, "Gender, Nature, Empire: Women Naturalists in Nineteenth Century Travel Literature," in Travel Writing: Critical Concepts in Literary and Cultural Studies, eds. C. Forsdick and Tim Youngs (New York: Routledge).

(2011) Civic Discipline: Geography in America, 1860-1890 (Ashgate Publishers, Historical Geography Series), 245 pp.

(2011) with T. Rothenberg, "Our Theories, Ourselves: Hierarchies of Place and Status in U.S. Academia," special issue on Places Postcolonialism Forgot, ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies 10 (1): 58-68.

(2010) "Unpopular Archives," The Professional Geographer 62 (4): 534-543.

(2010) Author Response, Review Essay Forum on my Frontiers of Femininity: A New Historical Geography of the Nineteenth-Century American West, in Gender, Place & Culture 17 (3): 401-415.

(2010) "Edward W. Said," in Key Contemporary Thinkers on Space and Place, 2nd edition, eds. P. Hubbard, R. Kitchin, and G. Valentine (Sage), 337-344.

(2009) "Charles Patrick Daly," Geographers: Biobibliographical Studies, eds. H. Lorimer and C. Withers, Vol. 28 (Continuum), 105-117.

(2009) "Landscape: Representing and Interpreting the World," in Key Concepts in Geography, eds. N. Clifford, S. Holloway, S. Rice, and G. Valentine, 2nd edition (Sage), 286-299.

(2009) "Feminist Groups within Geography," in International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, eds. R. Kitchen and N. Thrift (Elsevier, Ltd.)., Vol 4. 64-70.

(2009) "Landscape Perception," in International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, eds. R. Kitchen and N. Thrift (Elsevier, Ltd.)., Vol. 6, 140-145.

(2008) Frontiers of Femininity: A New Historical Geography of the 19th century American West(Syracuse University Press), 278 pp.

(2008) "Charles P. Daly's Gendered Geography, 1860-1890," Annals of the Association of American Geographers 98: 897-919.

(2007) Women, Religion & Space: Global Perspectives on Gender and Faith, co-edited with Jeanne Kay Guelke (Syracuse University Press), 216 pp.

View my Curriculum Vitae.

Undergraduate Research

Students from my Gender, Place and Culture class participated in the 2012 Social Science Research Poster Session. Mor Gedalia, above, presents her research on the "Life Cycle of Male Soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces."

Contested Space

In October 2012, the Place Studies Initiative at Bucknell (BUEC) hosted at a panel discussion titled "USP Lewisburg: A Contested Space." 

Approximately 100 community members attended this lively discussion about the appalling conditions at the Lewisburg federal penitentiary. One thing we could agree on: the penitentiary is a contested space.

American Studies GEOG 229 and UNIV 229

Field trip to Eastern State Penitentiary

Field trip to Eastern State Penitentiary 


Places I've Been

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