Department of Geography | office tel: 614-292-2573 | office: 1144 Derby


critical human geography, poststructural theory, critical epistemology, governance of neoliberal life, social in/justice, critical data studies, subjectivities

current research

As a critical human geographer I ask: how can critiques of our social, political, economic, and cultural environment offer insights into how to produce change? How are people governed and enrolled in a wide range of societal projects (e.g. neoliberalism, segregation,  digitalization, and many more), and what are the prospects for resistance? What is the relation between subjectivity and change? Underscoring these questions is a concern for the relation between individuals and larger-scale phenomena (firms, institutions, societal projects) and an interconnected view of social, political, economic, and cultural processes.
Recently I have directed the general approach above to  identifying, contextualizing, and explaining a new, digital regime of life and work that entails new modes of exploitation, notably of digital labor via various forms of crowdsourcing and firms’ covert capture of consumers’ personal data as they produce a digital footprint through their daily internet practices. I am interested how firms have capitalized on the digital infrastructure and the resultant capital-labor relation, as well as in the affordances of the digital infrastructure for ordinary people in new modes of digital resistance.

selected publications

2020  Conjunctural Insurrections: Critical research in times of rupture. Antipode Online,
2020 Precarity at the nexus of governmentality and sovereignty: entangled fields of power and political subjectivity. In Precarity and international relations, ed. R. Vij, T. Kazi and E. Wynne-Hughes. Palgrave, forthcoming.
2020, with D. Bose. The ordinariness of struggle and exclusion: a view from across the north-south urban ‘divide’. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy, and Society, forthcoming.
2020 Unbounding ‘states of exception’, reconceptualizing precarity. Space and Polity,
2020 Dispossessed prosumption, crowdsourcing, and the digital regime of work. New Formations, DOI:10.3898/NEWF:99.03.2019.
2018  Algorithmic affordances for productive resistance. Big Data and Society 5: 1-13.
2017  Paradoxes, problems and potentialities of online work platforms. World Organisation, Labour and Globalisation 11: 21-38.
2017 A relational approach to an analytics of resistance: towards a humanity of care for the infirm elderly – a Foucauldian examination of possibilities. Foucault Studies 23: 109-140.
2017 Open innovation and its discontents. Geoforum 80: 61-71.
2016 The governance of crowdsourcing: rationalities of the new exploitation: Environment and Planning A 48: 2182-2180.
2015 Post/neo/liberalism in relational perspective. Political Geography 48: 37-48 (with C. Hartmann).
2014 “The openness paradigm.” New Left Review 89: 89-100.
2014. Delivering on poststructural ontologies: epistemological challenges and strategies. ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies 13: 589-598.
2011 Governmentality as epistemology. Annals, Association of American Geogrpahers, 101: 537-560.
2011 Interpreting racial formation and multiculturalism in a high school: towards a constructive deployment of two approaches to critical race theory. Antipode 43: 1250-1280 (with C. Riley).
 2010 Bringing the everyday in the culture/creativity discourse. Human Geography 3: 49-59.
 2009 Whose capitalism? mean discourse and/or actions of the heart. Emotion, Space and Society 2: 92-07.
 2009 Problematizing the presentation of post-structural case-study research, or working out the crisis of representation in the presentation of empirics,” Environment and Planning A 41: 1017-1019.
2009 Surmounting city silences: knowledge creation and the design of urban democracy. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 33: 217-230.
 2008 Fragile empowerment: the dynamic cultural economy of British drum and bass music. Geoforum 39: 1647-1656 (with Alistair Fraser).
 2008 The predicament of firms in the new and old economies: a critical inquiry into traditional binaries in the study of the space-economy. Progress in Human Geography 32: 45-69.
2007 Precarity unbound. Alternatives: Global, Local, Political 32: 319-240.
 2007 Bringing democracy home: post-Katrina New Orleans. Antipode 39: 8-16.
 2004 Towards a critical theory of untidy geographies: the spatiality of emotions in consumption and production. Feminist Economics 10: 21-54.
2004 Thinking through the spatiality of networks: a critique of the us ‘public’ war on terrorism and its geographic discourse. Antipode 36: 249-271 (with F. Bosco).
2003 Cultural economic geography and a relational and microspace approach to trusts, rationalities, networks, and change in collaborative workplaces. Journal of Economic Geography 3: 145-171.

current teaching

Geography 4191 – Internship in Geography
Geography 5502 – The Neoliberal City
Geography 5601 – Foucault, Power, Governance
Geography 8100 – Geographic Thought


Antipode Online   Conjunctural Insurrections – “Critical Research in Times of Rupture”  3rd August 2020

The confluence of pandemic conditions and protests in cities and towns throughout the US and even in Europe in response to the murder of George Floyd has created a space of rupture in normal governance. Covid-19, a human-made disaster wrought of perverse nature-society relations, exacerbated and exposed the longstanding disaster of racialized capitalism, resulting in an eruption of festering societal wounds long ignored by governing bodies. The unprecedented groundswell of bottom up social action has pushed city governments as well as firms, universities, and other organizations to acknowledge how governance-as-usual embeds racialized injustice to create white privilege. The opening of possibilities creates space for researchers across the country to write to mayors regarding the myriad problems revealed by critical scholarship, and to make concrete recommendations to redress systemic racism in housing, transportation, business development, employment, education, and smart-city planning. Critical research revealing race-based blockages to opportunity signifies, however, that sector-specific recommendations can improve urban life, but alone do not address entrenched racism. Lack of progress regarding reparations at the federal scale suggest that the time may be ripe for reparations to Black Americans at the city scale. Indeed, city governments rose to counter Trump’s irresponsible approach to the pandemic; at this conjuncture, calls from researchers across the country could prompt a bottom up approach to reparations given lack of progress at the federal scale, as well as meaningful sector-specific changes.

Nancy Ettlinger, Department of Geography, Ohio State University:

For more on Antipode’s “Conjunctural Insurrections” series – an experiment to amplify voices often unheard and invisibilised in politics, daily life, and academic discourse – see