A Conversation with Dr. Morgan Robertson

Dr. Morgan Robertson

What led you to geography?

I wanted to understand how environmental policy is shaped by both social forces and ecological changes, and other disciplines were telling me I had to focus on one or the other, not both.

What excites you about Geography?

The freedom to ask questions about the environment that cross traditional academic boundaries in a way that might seem cutting-edge, but actually has a consistent lineage from styles of inquiry predating the modern slicing-and-dicing of academic disciplines.

Why Madison?

There are many Geography departments with great faculty, but no other department has such a robust array of other resources like the Map Library, the Cartography Lab and the linkages with the Nelson Institute. They provide an immense benefit to students and faculty that you just can’t find anywhere else.

Why is it important to have geographers out in the world?

Because we don’t keep well when packed for storage.

KIDDING.  Because the world is full of people who will tell you simple stories that are supposed to be true in all places: “there are too many people”; “there is not enough food”; “we have entered a new geologic era.”  And such global arguments from global data obscure as much as they reveal.  Geographers are suspicious of such pronouncements and want to see how the world is made in different places by different people and natural forces.  Stuff that may not show up on a satellite image or on social media.  That is knowledge of a powerful kind.

Learn more about Dr. Robertson’s work and course offerings here and here.

Author: Geography Staff