Jacob Miller

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.




Research Interests

Affect, emotion and non-representational theory 

Urban landscape, modernity and development    

Post-colonial theory in Latin America

Environment and Society

Tourism geographies





Selected Publications

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

Georgia Davis Conover and Jacob C Miller (2014) Teaching Human Geography through Places in the Media: an exploration of critical geographic pedagogy online. Journal of Geography 113 (2): 85-96
Jacob C Miller (2014) Book review of Cruel Optimism by Lauren Berlant in Human Geography: a new radical journal 7 (1): 124-127
Paul Robbins and Jacob C Miller (2013) The Mosquito State: how technology, capital and spatial knowledge mediate the ecologies of public health. In Ecologies and Politics of Health, ed. Brian King and Kelley Crewes, pp 196-216.
Anne-Marie Hanson, Jacob Miller and Rafael Routson (2011) Book Review of two books: (1) Coloniality at Large: Latin America and the Postcolonial Debate (2008) ed. Mabel Moraña, Enrique Dussel and Carlos A. Jáuregui, and (2) Twenty Theses on Politics (2008) by Enrique Dussel in Antipode 43 (5): 1939-1942
Jacob Miller's picture

Contact Information


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 


Dissertation Title

Consumption, dispersed. Techno-malls and embodied assemblages at Chiloé Island, Chile

Courses Taught

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)