I am a broadly trained human geographer who specializes in cultural, urban, and social geography. Since 2008 I have served as the Coordinator of the Geography Program within the Department of Geography and Geology. I also currently serve as the faculty sponsor for two departmental organizations: GOSH (Geographers of Sam Houston), the campus-wide student organization comprised of students interested in the field of geography; and the Sam Houston chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon, the nation-wide geography honorary society.
As a professor at Sam Houston State, I have primarily been responsible for teaching human geography courses. I regularly teach the following courses: People, Place and Environment (GEO 161), Cultural Geography (GEO 330), Urban Geography (GEO 436), and Race, Blues and Rock ‘N’ Roll: Advanced Cultural Geography (GEO 438). I am occasionally responsible for teaching Weather & Climate (GEO 131); World Regional Geography: Latin America, Africa & South Asia (GEO 266); and/or Geography of Texas (GEO 471).
My main research and teaching interests are oriented around two different streams of geographical inquiry that inform one another. One research stream lies at the intersections of racial and ethnic identity, urban labor market dynamics, and the spatial realization of socioeconomic disadvantage. A second research stream focuses on the geographies of music, religion, food and migration, and the ways that these cultural phenomena are expressed via representations of “place” and “space.” I primarily direct my investigations of these topics towards understanding their dynamics within the context of three distinct geographical regions: the U.S. South, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Hawaiian islands.
At present I am working on four distinct projects that address the above interests. These include (1) studying the impacts of neighborhood-level poverty on health disparities among racial and ethnic groups within the urban United States; (2) investigating neighborhood-level diversity and residential segregation among racial and ethnic groups, including comparative studies of the varied spatial experiences among multi-racial populations in Brazil, Hawaii and the conterminous United States; (3) examining the evolving nature “blues culture” across the Mississippi Delta and investigating the different ways in which this cultural milieu has impacted the wider world, and (4) a focus on the geographical evolution and diffusion of Rap music as a means to increase our understanding of regional, urban, and racial identities.
Over the last few years I have increasingly focused my time and energy on endeavors that merge my teaching, research and travel interests through the incorporation of the “pedagogy of place.” This intellectual philosophy is based on the notion that traditional learning is greatly enhanced when supplemented with field-experiences that utilize specific localities or “places” as primary resources. In short, scholars or students are more apt to appreciate important historical, sociological and/or geographical events and processes when learning about such phenomena at the exact places and spaces where they unfolded. My interest in this educational approach has led me to develop an undergraduate course (GEO 438) that incorporates a field-experience across the Mississippi Delta. This course and the associated field experience utilize the lens of blues culture to address and tie together a host of geographical topics. I have also been involved in directing or participating in workshops designed for teachers, college faculty or other scholars that integrate placed-based methodologies. These inter-disciplinary workshops focus on a range of topics that fall within the realm of cultural geography, focusing particular attention on racial and ethnic identity, music, religion and migration. When applicable I have also incorporated field-trips and field-experiences within introductory geography courses.
My non-academic interests include travelling, reading, music, sports - especially fishing and football - and coaching youth athletics. My biggest interest of all is spending time with ohana (family and friends), particularly my wife and geography colleague Ava, 8-yeard old son Prezley, 4-year old daughter Memphis and our 10-year old dog Booker T.