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Establishing an Expertise in Critical GIS at Rutgers

Kevin St. Martin
Associate Professor
Department of Geography

Kevin St. Martin is an Associate Professor of Geography. His work is at the intersection of economic geography, political ecology, and critical applications of GIScience. Dr. St. Martin has worked on several research projects that have in common the regulation and transformation of the marine environment. His research uses the paradigmatic case of fisheries to better understand the power of discourse to shape economic and environmental practices. Within this context Dr. St. Martin examines the potential for community participation in resource management, the relationship between local ecological knowledge and formal science, and the representation of resource dependent communities.

Project Sponsor
Robin Leichenko
Professor and Chair of the Department of Geography
Department of Geography

The Department of Geography currently teaches several “techniques” courses that include Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Cartography, and related courses. These courses fulfill core requirements and, occasionally, attract students to the Geography program. The most popular are the GIS courses which enroll up to 75 students per year in lecture and laboratory settings. The GIS courses, however, teach content that is duplicated to varying degrees in other programs across the university. This project seeks to establish an approach to teaching GIS that foregrounds contemporary critical issues in the discipline of Geography as modular case studies, thereby generating interest in geographic modes of critical investigation as well as distinguishing Geography’s GIS curriculum from other programs at Rutgers. The revised curriculum will draw upon current Geography faculty expertise and research interests that focus on the spatial dynamics of racial inequity, environmental (in)justice, pandemic politics, and climate change. The goal of the project is to better demonstrate to Rutgers students the immediate relevance of GIS techniques (and the discipline of Geography) to contemporary critical issues.