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Award success at the Association of American Geographers for QMUL Geography PhD graduate

Monday 20 April 2015

PhD graduate from the School of Geography Dr Aidan Wong has been awarded the Association of American Geographers’ (AAG) Economic Geography Specialty Group's Best Dissertation award for 2014.

This competitive award of $500 is in recognition of his "outstanding dissertation" entitled: "'Waste’, Value and Informal Labour: The Regional E-Waste Recycling Production Network in Malaysia and Singapore."

Supervised by Professor Adrian Smith from the School of Geography and Dr Liam Campling from the School of Business Management, Aidan’s PhD study examined the role of workers in the informal economy in the circulation and recycling of e-waste in the global electronics industry.

Professor Adrian Smith said he was delighted to hear about Aidan’s award. “His was an excellent thesis, pushing at the boundaries of research about how we understand the relationships between the informal economy and global e-waste value chains,” he said. “The thesis was empirically grounded in qualitative research with informal sector workers in Singapore and Malaysia – one of the key sites for the recycling of electronic waste.”

Dr Wong, who holds a post-doctoral position at the National University of Singapore, will receive the award at the AAG’s Annual Meeting this week (April 21-25) – an international gathering of geographers, GIS specialists, environmental scientists and other leaders in research featuring more than 5,000 presentations – which takes place in Chicago, Illinois.

Academic staff from Queen Mary University of London’s School of Geography will be presenting work at the conference as well.

Professor Adrian Smith is presenting a paper in a series of sessions on power in global production networks. His paper looks at the impacts of the externalisation of economic governance from the EU to North Africa and the impact of the economic crisis and the “Arab Revolt” on economic (in)security in Tunisia. Adrian is also appearing on a panel discussion about Professor Andy Pike’s (Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies, University of Newcastle) new book on branding called “Origination”.

Meanwhile, Dr Kathryn Yusoff will be presenting with Mary Thomas of Ohio State University on her fieldwork in the coal fields of West Virginia and the fracking fields of North Dakota. Their paper, entitled "Shaft: the geophilosophies of extraction" is part of a day long session of Feminist Geophilosophy (co-organised by Yusoff and Angela Last, Glasgow University). Kathryn is also on a panel on the minor and micropolitical thought, and hosting with the Society & Space Editorial Board, their annual lecture delivered by Lauren Berlant.

Dr Richard Baxter is presenting in a session on urban regeneration and displacement. Based on his Leverhulme Trust-funded research on the Aylesbury Estate in South London, he will be exploring how home and place are systematically dismantled before estate demolition and arguing that this is an important part of state-led gentrification. In a panel session on curation, Richard is also discussing curation and identity in academic, museum and artist collaboration.

Finally, Dr Simon Reid-Henry is presenting some recent work on humanitarian interventions and the historical development of human rights as both an idea and an instrument of state. Part of a wider project of work on humanitarianism from a historical and geographical perspective, his presentations look at the forms of power that can be enabled by human rights rhetoric when states decide to enact their ‘Responsibility to Protect.’

Read more about studying a PhD at QMUL Geography.

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