About Jacob Miller
Post-Doctoral Research Associate &
Interim Assistant Director of the Master's in Development Practice
Areas of Study
Urban, Cultural and Economic Geography
Critical theories of consumption
My research draws on recent theories of affect, emotion and assemblage geographies to consider the politics of the everyday built and natural environments. The study of geographies of consumption in particular, I think, gains valuable resources from these theoretical approaches, especially when thinking about how everyday space functions as a political technology of biopolitical governance. My research in Argentina and Chile has utilized ethnographic methodologies in an attempt to try and understand how these spaces affect life in the city and how visitors also form dense emotional connections there. Understanding how contemporary power operates in the city today, I think, requires us to consider these domains of the built, natural and embodied environments.
My current resaerch focuses on an urban planning controversy: the construction of shopping mall in the "historic" center of Castro, the urban center of the Chiloé archipelago in southern Chile. In recent years, a lively debate has erupted there and beyond around the meaning of development, architecture, heritage, consumption, identity, nature and more. My ethnographic study of the city and the debate itself is aimed at better understanding how both are mediated by dense geographies of feeling and spatial experience. This research (and other work at a shopping mall in Buenos Aires, Argentina) works to understand the affective, emotive and "more-than-human" circumstances of the neoliberal transition in the Southern Cone.
I am currently working with Dr. Vincent Del Casino as a Post-Doctoral Researh Associate. Together, we are investigating the embodied geopolitics of tourism and spectacle. Our project so far has aimed at investigating the role of embodied experience in tourism by analyzing the Titan II MIssile Musem outside of Tucson, the location of a intercontiental missile silo that was active throughout much of the Cold War. We explore how the Museum's ideological argument is made more potent through affective and emotive strategies that are deployed through the spaces of the Museum itself, especially the guided tours of the facility. In short, we elaborate on the Museum as affective and emotive spectacle of geopolitics, one working through its status as a tourist location.
My teaching philosophy is that students should be encouraged to reflect critically on their everyday surroundings and how they shape, and are shaped by, various geographies. Geography can become a potentially powerful resource for positive social and environmental change by helping students understand the connections that exist between everyday life and broader distributions of power, knowledge, resources, waste and conflict. To remain relevant in a world in desperate need of geographic literacy, Human Geography must remain committed to the humanistic resources of the Liberal Arts.
Affect, emotion and non-representational theory
Urban landscape, modernity and development
Post-colonial theory in Latin America
Environment and Society
On Embodied Geographies of Consumption
Jacob C Miller (2018) No fish, no mall. Industrial fish produce new subjectivities in southern Chile. Geoforum (92) 125-133
Jacob C Miller and Vincent Del Casino Jr. (2018) Negative Simulation, Spectacle and the Embodied Geopolitics of Tourism. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers (early view)
Jacob C Miller and Casey Golden (2015) The object-oriented political subjectivities of McUniversity. Area 48.1 70-76
Jacob C Miller (2015) The Critical Intimacies of Walking in the Abasto Shopping Malls, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Social and Cultural Geography 16 (8): 869-887
Jacob C Miller (2014) Malls without Stores (MwS): the affectual spaces of a Buenos Aires shopping mall. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 39 (1): 14-25.
Jacob C Miller (2014) Affect, consumption and identity at a Buenos Aires shopping mall. Environment and Planning A 46 (1): 46-61.
Jacob C Miller (2014) Approximating new spaces of consumption at the Abasto Shopping Mall, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Journal of Cultural Geography 31 (2): 206-217
Jacob C Miller (2013) The Spatial Dialectics of Modernity and Retail Affect at Abasto Shopping, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Urban Geography 34 (6): 843-863
Jessica de la Ossa and Jacob C Miller (2018) The Face of the State on the U.S-Mexico Border. Emotion, Space and Society (early view)
Jacob C Miller (2017) Book review of The Sociology of Consumption: A Global Approach by Joel Stillerman (2015) American Association of Geographers Review of Book 5 (3)/Summer
Jacob C Miller (2016) Book reivew of Early Modern Things: Objects and their Histories, 1500-1800 (ed) Paula Findlen (2013) Journal of Consumer Culture
Ph.D. Geography, University of Arizona 2016
Ph.D. minor in Gender and Women's Studies
Advisor: JP Jones III. Committee members: Sallie Marston, Miranda Joseph, Carl Bauer
M.A. Geography, University of Arizona 2011
Advisor: JP Jones III. Committee members: Sallie Marston and Sarah Moore
B.A. Global Studies, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities 2007
Minors in Geography and Spanish Studies
2014 GEOG 210 Cultural and Political Geography of Globalization (Instructor)
2012 - 2014 GEOG 205 Places in the Media (Instructor and co-instructor)
2012 GEOG 305 Economic Geography (Instructor)
2010-2011 GEOG 251 World Regional Geography (Co-lecturuer)
2009-2010 and 2014 GEOG 102 Introduction to Human Geography (Teaching Assistant)