Briefly, in two to three sentences, summarize your current research.
I study processes of city building in interior China. I'm particularly interested in the ideological aspects of China's contemporary frenzy of urban expansion and how it connects with urban political economy and the politics of land use.
Which areas do you feel occupy the borders of your discipline? What lies just beyond those limits? How does considering those divisions impact your research practice?
As a human geographer whose primary attention is to the spatiality of various phenomena, I strive to be as transdisciplinary as possible in my research. For this, I try to integrate insights from architecture and planning, as well as insights from studies of visual and material cultures.
Where do you position your research in relation to others within your discipline? Do you see those lines of demarcation at times becoming blurred?
Urban geography in China has, for a long time, been dominated by imported theories applied to a few key cities, which are then used to explain phenomena in other cities of China. My research adopts case-study approaches of lesser-known cities to attempt to theorize from the margins and break the hold on urban geography that cities like Beijing and Shanghai have consistently had. There is also movement afoot in the discipline to expand cultural analysis in the urban geographical arena. I see my work as contributing in some small part to that.
What research topics are you interested in exploring when you are not doing ‘work-related’ research?
Everyday/vernacular/vulgar architecture. The oil and gas industries.