Carolyn Prouse Menu

Carolyn Prouse, PhD

Office: Mackintosh-Corry Hall, Room D304
Tel: 613-533-6000 ext. 78592
Email: carolyn.prouse [at] queensu.ca

Office Hours: By appointment.

I grew up in Toronto and have always had a love for the dynamics and diversity of urban places. As a researcher I'm fascinated by the complexity (and beauty!) of cities as living and liveable spaces, always in flux, always being remade. As a lecturer and instructor, I try to bring together a wide range of views and experiences that constitute the urban, and to encourage students to see and imagine their own everyday spaces from different perspectives.

I completed my PhD (2017) in Geography at the University of British Columbia with a dissertation about slum-upgrading and pacification projects in Rio de Janeiro's favela communities. I received both my BA/BPHE (2008) and MA (2011) at Queen's from the Department of Kinesiology and Health Studies, where I focused on critical sport and health sociology. Before returning to Queen's as an Assistant Professor I held a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Toronto (Geography and Planning).

I currently live in Kingston with my partner, Mark, and our dog, Lucy. Outside of work I can often be found fumbling around on the fiddle, reading novels, or looking for local pick-up soccer games.

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↓ Research Interests

Research Interests

I am a decolonial and global urbanist. My research is focused on how diverse urban communities are marginalized by economic development and social reproductive initiatives, and how people and markets are transformed through grass-roots space-making practices. I draw together work in feminist geographies, critical race theory, political economy, urban political ecology, and postcolonial/decolonial theory to help understand these processes.

My current focus is on the social and economic dynamics of urban infrastructural development. I ask questions such as: How do low-income, racialized communities grapple with state-led upgrading efforts in Brazilian favelas? How does FIFA negotiate with local authorities over the locations of World Cup stadiums? How do communities build their own "public" infrastructure (such as park areas) in the shadow of state-led projects? And how does non-valued work - such as breastfeeding - become distributed through urban infrastructures of infant feeding? I pursue questions such as these in North America, South America, and Africa.


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↓ Current Projects

Current Projects

Infrastructures of Experimentation

This research examines how development initiatives rely on diverse forms of experimentation, from climate resilience projects in cities to randomized control trials at the World Bank. Our focus is on how these forms of experimentation re-work the subjects and objects of development with an eye to ongoing histories of colonial violence.

→ Co-Investigator:
Dr. Sophie Webber
(University of Sydney)

Infrastructural Development in the Global South

This work focuses on how low-income communities in the Global South are being "integrated" through infrastructural projects meant to securitize the city for urban capital accumulation strategies. I focus on colonial and racialized violence that shape these projects, as well as how residents contest these projects and re-produce their communities. As climate change brings infrastructural breakdown to the fore, I have begun drawing on the growing body of urban political ecology literature to understand the nature-culture hybridities of upgrading efforts.

Social Reproductive Infrastructures of Human Milk Circulation

My new SSHRC-funded project asks how new economies and infrastructures of human milk exchange are taking shape throughout the globe. Drawing on feminist and decolonial geographies I theorize how countries in both the Global North and Global South have developed donor milk banking networks as a form of "anti-colonial" social reproduction; and how diverse non-profit and for-profit markets are being contested in online and urban settings.

Co-constitutive Geographies of Animal and Human Reproduction

This project investigates geographical connections between reproductive policy and milk demand in China, Canada's dairy industry, local Kingston labour markets, and, potentially, prison farms. Other collaborations with this project are at the early stages of planning.

→ Co-Investigators:
Dr. Roza Tchoukaleyska
(Memorial University)
Claudia Hirtenfelder
(PhD Student, Queen's)

Select Publications

Prouse, C. (2019) Subversive formalization: Efforts to (re)form land, labor, and behavior in a carioca favela. Urban Geography. DOI: 10.1080/02723638.2019.1631108

Prouse, C. (2018) Autoconstruction 2.0: Social media contestations of racialized violence in Complexo do Alemão. Antipode: A Journal of Radical Geography. 50(3): 621-640.

Webber, S. & Prouse, C. (2018) The new 'gold standard': The rise of randomized control trials and experimental development. Economic Geography. 94(2): 166-187.

Prouse, C. (2019). Of mosquitoes and mega events: Urban political ecologies of the more-than-human city. In S Darnell & R Millington (Eds.) Sport, Development and Environmental Sustainability. Routledge.

Melgaço, L. & Prouse, C. (Eds.) (2017). Milton Santos: A Pioneer in Critical Geography from the Global South. London: Springer.

Curriculum Vitae available here: Word | PDF

Graduate Supervision

I work with MA and a PhD students in the areas of global/decolonial urbanism, social reproduction, and critical race feminist geographies. Candidates may have a general research project in mind or may work more directly in the area of my current SSHRC-funded projects. Students with research interests in urban political ecology, infrastructure, sport mega events, and slum-upgrading are also encouraged to contact me.

Teaching

I dedicate tremendous time, energy, and care to teaching. I approach the world as a pedagogue, reflecting on how current issues, events, and even the fiction I'm reading can help students better understand the processes that shape our geographies.

My pedagogy is shaped by feminist and decolonial commitments. I pay close attention to how knowledge is created and who is recognized for creating it. My syllabi centre scholars, activists, and media that are often marginalized in disciplinary thought. I also invite guests to communicate material that I cannot teach with an authoritative voice - such as Indigenous or black experiences and epistemologies.

I received the Department of Geography and Planning's Julian Szeicz Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2018/2019.

GEELs Lab

I am co-founder and co-principal investigator of the Global Economies and Everyday Lives (GEELs) Lab with Prof. Beverley Mullings and Asst. Prof. Grace Adeniyi-Ogunyankin. We and our students are a creative and critical community of scholars in Geography and Planning at Queen’s University interested in issues related to social reproduction, racial capitalism, cities, diaspora, and social transformation in spaces of the Global South. Our respective work centres diasporic caring relationships; creative cultural productions and popular culture; community-centred food and infant-feeding practices; youth employment and precarity; political ecological disaster and renewable energy; and new forms of work and labour. Please visit the GEELs website for more about what we do.

Courses

GPHY 101: Introduction to Human Geography is the main introductory human geography survey course in the Department of Geography and Planning. Coupled with GPHY 102 (Introduction to Physical Geography) it provides the foundation for the degree program in the department. GPHY 101 engages themes of colonialism, migration, urbanism, nature, and the new international division of labour. The lectures are dynamic and participatory, and tutorial activities are oriented towards experiential and practice-based learning.

Contact hours: 2L, 1.5Tut per week

GPHY 874: Seminar in Cultural Geography (Postcolonial and Decolonial Urbanism):: This special topics graduate seminar is inspired by the recent ‘southern' turn in urban theory, seeking to de-centre models of the city derived from very particular - and privileged - experiences in the Euro-Atlantic world. The syllabus includes readings in contemporary postcolonial, decolonial, feminist, queer, and critical race theory. We examine and discuss these with an eye to understanding what each contributes to urban processes across the North and South.

Contact hours: 3 seminar hours

GPHY 370: Special Topics in Human Geography (Urban Natures):: In this course we use tools of urban political ecology to look at how interlocking systems of power produce urban environments. Our guiding approaches will include feminist, political economic, Indigenous, and decolonial systems of thought - we will ask how racialization, imperialism, capitalism, patriarchy, and other axes of power shape urban ecological worlds but also, crucially, learn from the work of Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities across the world who are transforming harmful environments.

Contact hours: 3 lecture hours

GPHY 401: Special Topics (Pandemic Urbanism):: This course is inspired by the COVID-19 global pandemic and its intimate relationship with urbanization processes. In this class we take an urban political ecology perspective to understand how urbanization has transformed human-animal relations, contributing to disease outbreaks; and how the city has been a key site of disease proliferation, negotiation, and containment. Our political ecological approach stresses the power regimes within which bacteria and viruses proliferate and take shape, from processes of capitalism, colonialism, and imperialism, to new forms of social reproduction and care.

Contact hours: 3 seminar hours