Joseph F Getzoff
I have been in the UMN Department of Geography, Environment, and Society since 2011. My advisor is Vinay Gidwani. My field work centered on the Negev/Naqab Desert in Israel where I conducted research from July 2015 until January 2017. As a cultural geographer, I critically study the discourses and practices that link nationalism, environment, and development. I work across the interdisciplinary subfields of postcolonial development studies and political ecology. My key terms of analysis for my dissertation—"desert," "frontier," and "wasteland"—are environmental and geographic terms with significant historic, political, economic, and moral value for both global and particular histories. For my dissertation research, I specifically chart the Zionist representations of these terms and the way they are used to justify development plans that favor particular claims on land and valorize specific ideas of the environment. I look closely in my research to the effects of these ideas of development on Bedouin citizens of the state. “Development” becomes the coda for understanding how these three conceptual terms carry their own political and moral economic value. I look at how the ideological production of 'national' deserts, frontiers, and wastelands must be theoretically contextualized in relation to the global currents of capitalism. Large realms of scholarly work and ideas that I wrestle with and have influenced me: postcolonial development studies, postcolonial theory, settler-colonial studies, political ecology, environmental history, science and technology studies, histories of Palestine and Israel, Bedouin studies, arid environments, critical histories of liberalism and neoliberalism. If you have any questions about my work, please feel free to contact me. If you are interested in the UMN Department of Geography, Environment and Society, please feel free to contact me with any questions.