About Me

I am a Professor in the Department of Geography and Planning, cross-appointed to the School of the Environment at the University of Toronto. I am also the past-President (2012-2016) of the University of Toronto Faculty Association (UTFA).


This is my personal web site but it features access to some professionally relevant information as well as some other things of interest to me and, hopefully, to you. I have included here copies of most of the papers I have authored or co-authored for educational and research uses. Let me know if you are looking for something that you are unable to find.


My research interests lie at the intersection of a critical, pluralist political economy on the one hand, and the dynamics of environmental change on the other.  I am particularly interested in the capitalism-nature nexus, and thus in questions concerning how the distinct political and economic character of capitalism shapes and is shaped by environmental change and the politics of environmental justice.  I think of this interest in succinct terms as a political ecology of capitalism, but of course that leads to the immediate questions “what is political ecology?” and “what is capitalism?”.  These are indeed questions of interest to me, and to the graduate students I tend to work with.  They are also questions that are explored in my graduate seminar offered through the School of the Environment (ENV 1444) entitled “Capitalist Nature”.


These general interests take more specific forms and my work tends to have an empirical dimension to it.  I am particularly interested in the ways in which discrete (or ostensibly discrete) elements of biophysical nature (including human and non-human life) are produced, circulated, exchanged, and come to be understood or take on meaning as commodities. How is it that nature is commodified and with what attendant political and ecological consequences?  In what ways are such tendencies ever truly complete (i.e., is commodification an outcome or a process?) and how and why is commodificication advanced? Can commodification processes be reversed and, if so, how?  What are the limits and contradictions of the commodification of nature?  How do these questions and the processes to which they refer intersect with the politics and experiences of everyday life? Necessarily, these interests for me find both theoretical and empirical expression.