About my work

About me

I am a geography PhD candidate in the School of Geography, Development, and Environment at the University of Arizona. I am a human/human-environment geographer with wide-ranging interests. I am currently pursuing a number of research projects including:

  • my original dissertation on organic agriculture and governance in north India (on hold!)

  • my new dissertation on food culture, development, and place-making in Tucson, Arizona

  • a collaborative project on COVID-19's impacts on southern Arizona's food system

  • a collaborative project on geography graduate curriculum and geography's exclusions

In addition to these projects, I also pursue research and writing around a number of themes, including socio-spatial theory and the ontological turn, queer geographies, and creative methods. These thematic clusters are also described below.

My scholarly engagement extends to my role as an editor for you are here: the journal of creative geography and the Graduate Journal of Food Studies.

If you take an interest in any of this work, please don't hesitate to reach out. You can follow me on Twitter (@queergeog) or send me a message (ekinkaid at email dot arizona dot edu), if you want to chat, share your work, or just say hello!

Beyond just food: Food justice, development, and place-making in a UNESCO City of Gastronomy

My dissertation project examines narratives and practices of food culture, development, and place in Tucson, Arizona. In broad strokes, I am interested in how food and food culture (and the related idea of food heritage) become leveraged in projects of place-making and development by a diversity of social and institutional actors. My project examines how a diversity of local actors imagine, narrate, and practice the relations between food culture, place, and development.

As part of my dissertation work, I will be coauthoring the University of Arizona Center for Regional Food Studies annual report, The State of the Tucson Food System Report. The report will focus on the topic of food justice, which will allow me to explore these themes of place, heritage, and development through a food justice lens.

Supported by the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences Summer Dissertation Fellowship.

Building food system resilience: COVID-19's impacts on southern Arizona's food system

This collaborative project examines the impacts of COVID-19 on the local food system of southern Arizona. The study consists of a survey with food producers; interviews with food producers, distributors, and food system organizations; and focus groups with food system actors. The aim of the project is to document the impacts of the pandemic on southern Arizona's food system, derive lessons from these disruptions, and support the development of a more resilient local food system.

View our public report on the impacts of COVID-19 on southern Arizona's food system.

Read our op-ed on COVID-19's impacts on farming and the need for agricultural workforce development.

Supported by The American Geographical Society, The Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy, and The Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Institute at the University of Arizona.

Teaching the history of geography: Reflections on graduate curriculum

This collaborative project (with Lauren Fritzsche, University of Arizona) examines how the history of geography is taught to graduate students in the US. We are currently analyzing syllabi from "introduction to geography" courses to understand how these courses represent and narrate geography's past, present, and future. After the syllabus analysis, we will conduct surveys and interviews with geography graduate students about their experiences encountering these histories and making sense of their place within them. We will also interview instructors of these courses to understand their approaches to teaching the history of geography. Through these various aspects of the project, we are particularly concerned with how issues of gender, race, colonialism, and militarism appear, or do not appear, in dominant histories of our discipline and graduate training.

Supported by The School of Geography, Development, and Environment at the University of Arizona.

Becoming an organic state: Shifting landscapes of agricultural governance in north India

My original field-based dissertation research (postponed due to COVID-19) examines the growth of organic certification in Uttarakhand, India and its impacts on smallholder farmers in the region. Uttarakhand is one among several Indian states that aspires to become an "organic state" in the next decade through a complete conversion to organic agriculture. My dissertation examines the strategies and impacts of three institutions involved in certification and the promotion of organic agriculture: a transnationally-connected NGO, a domestic company, and a state-led public-private partnership. I examine these actors' various strategies for promoting organic farming through institutional ethnographic methods, discourse and policy analysis, and interviews. In parallel, I employ participant-observation, interviews, and survey methods in villages to assess the impacts of these governance strategies on smallholder farmers, particularly in relation to their agricultural knowledge/practice, labor, and environmental subjectivities.

See my recent publication based on this work: Embodied political ecology: Sensing agrarian change in north India.

Supported by The National Science Foundation and Fulbright Program.

In addition to these research projects, I pursue research and writing around the following themes.

Socio-spatial theory

I have strong theoretical interests in a number of contemporary strands of post-structuralist and ontological turn thinking in geography, namely assemblage thinking and post-phenomenology. I seek to bring these emerging geographical perspectives into deeper engagement with their philosophical roots while making them accountable to feminist and queer perspectives.

See my publications for more details.

Queer geographies

Drawing on queer and feminist theory, I examine the social and spatial dimensions of (queer) gender and sexuality, alongside other forms of embodied difference. This work issues largely from a phenomenological perspective and explores how categories of social difference are embodied and lived.

See my publications for more details.

Creative methods

My engagements with methodology in the discipline seek to incorporate unconventional and creative approaches to the production of geographic knowledge and scholarship.

I am currently a co-editor of You Are Here: A Journal of Creative Geography (@youarehereUA). I have also been involved in other creative geography projects, which you can learn about on my Creative works page and my publications page.