Faculty and Graduate Student Research

Internal Page Links
Faculty Research
Graduate Student Research

Faculty Research

Anne Bonds

Anne Bonds' research analyzes geographies of poverty and incarceration, processes of racialization and the production of difference, and neoliberal restructuring and the politics of economic development. She is working on an on-going project that investigates the intersections of poverty and carceral geographies in the American Northwest in order to examine prison expansion and the entrepreneurial recruitment of correctional facilities, as well as the role of race and white privilege in the creation of economic development policy. Currently she is expanding this work to include a comparative examination of speculative prison building agendas in Wisconsin. She also has collaborated with Victoria Lawson and Lucy Jarosz on a research project that investigates the geography of White and Latino rural poverty in the American Northwest. The project analyzes the dynamics of rural poverty in the context of economic restructuring as well as the cultural processes through which the poor and rural poverty are identified and understood. She has current and forthcoming articles in Antipode, Social and Cultural Geography and the Annals of the Association of American Geographers (with Victoria Lawson and Lucy Jarosz).

Woonsup Choi

Woonsup Choi's research activities emphasize understanding of the effects of climate change and urbanization on water-related environmental problems. In this context, he has conducted research on the potential impacts of climate change and land use change on the hydrology and water quality for several regions in the United States and Canada. The approach is mostly combining simulation models with various climatic and land use change scenarios. Currently, his work focuses on the effect of urban areas on future climate scenarios and how it is going to affect the results from hydrological simulations. As preliminary work, he analyzed the spatial and temporal patterns of urban climate in the Midwest with financial support from the UWM Graduate School Research Committee. He also embarked on research fieldwork in Seoul, Korea to examine water quality in small streams that recently underwent restoration projects.

Michael Day

Mick Day's research focuses on human interaction with Caribbean karst landscapes, potential impacts of environmental change and population pressure on Caribbean karst, sustainability of the Caribbean Karst, and the re-interpretation of talus slopes in the Cockpit Country, Jamaica.

Rina Ghose

Rina Ghose's research interests intersect Critical GIS, urban geography, and political economy. Her research questions center around poverty, inequality, and social justice. She has conducted decade-long research on public participation GIS among traditionally marginalized citizen groups, to examine how GIS technologies can be used as modes of resistance to combat structural inequities and inner-city poverty. As part of this research agenda, she has also examined social activism and grassroots community organizing in the inner-city, and explored collaborative planning programs that are used in inner-city redevelopment. Her current research projects examine: (1) the impact of neoliberal public policies in shaping the participation and spatial knowledge production process among grassroots inner-city groups; (2) the role of actors-networks in public participation GIS; and (iii) the impact of collaborative planning programs created by private sector actors in citizen participation and inner-city revitalization. Her other research interests include: (1) examining food inequities and other barriers to healthy living in inner-city neighborhoods through qualitative research and GIS; and (2) examining the social construction of GIS in the non-western world. She has published widely in journals such as Environment and Planning A, Cartography and GIS, Transactions in GIS, Cartographica, and Urban Geography.


Ryan Holifield

Ryan Holifield’s research encompasses environmental governance and environmental justice:

Judith Kenny

Judith Kenny is currently working on the manuscript Affordable Dreams: Home Ownership, Public Policy and Private Enterprise in a Socialist City, Milwaukee 1910-1950, which draws together her years of research on public policy and private initiative as it relates to worker housing in early twentieth century Milwaukee. As a cultural/political geographer, she examines the culture of home ownership and the material and symbolic landscape of the City's residential development. Given Milwaukee's experiments in socialism (i.e. municipal cooperatives and early public housing development), this case study offers remarkable insight into competing perspectives on public responsibilities, private markets and individuals' rights. Dr. Deanna Schmidt (Ph.D. '08) joins her in this project.

Anna Mansson McGinty

Anna Mansson McGinty

Dr. Anna Mansson McGinty's research centers on women and gender in Islam with particular focus on Muslim women in the West. The driving question in her work concerns the formation of gender identity and sense of belonging in the context of religion and women's rights. Mansson McGinty has explored Swedish and American women's journeys to Islam and what they find appealing in the religion. In a current ethnographic study she looks at religiously inspired community activism for integration and social justice of Muslim women in the U.S. She is also involved in a university-community collaboration project, working with Muslim women in the community on issues pertaining to dialogue and discrimination. This image shows Mansson McGinty (far right) in conversation with colleagues at a Combating Islamophobia seminar for educators.

Mark Schwartz

Mark D. Schwartz is a synoptic climatologist and phenoclimatologist. His main research interests are plant-climate interactions during the onset of spring and autumn. He has received seven National Science Foundation grants, authored over sixty publications, and recently edited a book entitled "Phenology: An Integrative Environmental Science." Phenology is the study of periodic biological events in the animal and plant world as influenced by the environment, especially temperature changes driven by weather and climate. Wide ranges of phenomena are included, from first openings of leaf and flower buds, to insect hatchings and return of birds. Each one gives a ready measure of the environment as viewed by the associated organism. Thus, timings of phenological events are ideal indicators of the impact of local and global changes in weather and climate on the earth's biosphere. Schwartz is also co-founder and Chair of the Board of Directors for the USA National Phenology Network (USA-NPN).


Kristin Sziarto

Kristin Sziarto is an urban political geographer with interests in the relationships between social movements, collective identities, the state, and the spaces of the city. Her research has focused on urban social movement organizations, including labor-community coalitions and immigrants’ rights organizing. Labor-community coalitions aim to revive the labor movement by uniting disparate groups in alliances to shape urban politics. Her work is particularly concerned with religion-labor alliances’ appearance as a counterweight to the rise of the religious right in the U.S., and the potential for these alliances to address issues of both economic and racial justice. Drawing on hegemony theory (from Gramsci through Laclau and Mouffe), as well as feminist scholarship on alliance politics, subjectivity, and emotion work, her research traces how religion-labor alliances construct collective identities and notions of 'worker justice.' How is this geographic? Cities are crucial places for the emergence of social movements. Cities are also 'difference machines,' in which collective identities emerge from encounters in urban spaces and places. A related area of research addresses the regulation, racialization, and resistance of immigrants in cities in Wisconsin.

Graduate Student Research

Jonathan Burkham

Jonathan Burkham works at the intersection of cultural, political and economic geography to understand how specific development geographies play out in Latin America. His dissertation research involves a transnational ethnographic investigation into the remittance economy that links Milwaukee to a rural village in Jalisco, Mexico. Participant observation and in-depth interviews are being carried out in both Milwaukee and Mexico to gain a better understanding of existing transnational development discourses and their relationship to remittance investment decisions. This analysis is situated in the context of Mexico's neoliberal economic reforms and recent political reforms, dysfunctional US immigration policy and the economic recession, and the new ruralism that is taking shape in the Mexican countryside. Burkham is also interested in the national imaginary: the reimagining of the Mexican emigrant as a hero and participant in the development of the Mexican nation, and the process of Latino immigrant assimilation and exclusion in the U.S.

I-Hui Lin

I-Hui Lin's research uses GIS and location models to examine urban park system design. By applying such techniques, exiting urban park systems will be assessed and new parks will be suggested. In this research, she is especially interested in what attributes of parks influence the property values in the surrounding neighborhoods, and how different neighborhoods appreciate parks differently. By understanding the economic impact of parks on its adjacent property values, the final goal of the research is to use location models to suggest an accessible and efficient urban park system.

Nick Padilla

Nick Padilla's research focuses broadly on coca eradication efforts in Latin America. Centered primarily on Andean indigenous groups, his research seeks to make Western discourses strange and privilege indigenous knowledge through ethnography and critical social theory. This research is situated within the United States' War on Drugs and examines the concepts of capitalism(s), knowledge production regimes, and power relations within Latin American coca networks. He also is examining the discourses that unite coca and cocaine as illicit products.

Rong Yu

Rong Yu's doctoral research focuses on tree phenology and its relation to climate change in a temperate urban woodlot. Specifically, her research will explore the patterns, processes, and key drivers of spring and autumn phenology. Bridging the gap between ground phenological information and remote sensing data is another important topic of her research. Lastly, differing phenological responses and meteorological variations between an urban woodlot and a natural forest will be examined.