Alumni Profile 2011
Chris Lukinbeal, SDSU/UCSB Joint Doctoral Program
I was one of the first 10 students to graduate from the joint program (1995-2000). After graduating, I was an Assistant Professor at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) in New Haven for three years. Eric West an SDSU/UCSB Geography alumnus now works at SCSU. Following this, I went to Arizona State University (ASU) from 2003-2010. In the fall of 2010, I was offered the opportunity to become an Assistant Professor, and the Director of the Masters of Science in Geographic Information Systems Technology program in The School of Geography and Development, at the University of Arizona (UA). The program is unusual in that it is a one year, night program and follows the calendar year. I also served as the Program Director and Assistant Director of a similar program while at ASU.
If you read the above and donít know me, you might suppose I focused on GIScience while at SDSU/UCSB. My dissertation work, and most of my academic research, however, focuses on cinema and media geography (however, I did teach computer cartography while at SDSU). I am one of three founders and co-editors of Aether: The Journal of Media Geography, of which James Craine, another SDSU/UCSB Geography alumnus now at California State University, Northridge, serves as the primary catalyst. In 2008, I was the lead editor of the book The Geography of Cinema – a Cinematic World, which was the first of a new book series entitled, Media Geography at Mainz, for which I serve as one of the book series editors. Iíve published many articles on cinema and media geography and have a forthcoming article in the Annals about “on location” filming in San Diego which was initially based on my dissertation research while at SDSU.
So, have you guessed who my primary advisor was at SDSU yet? If you guessed, Stuart Aitken, youíre right. Back in 1994, Stuart and Leo Zonnís book Place, Power, Situation and Spectacle A Geography of Film, was the first to examine the interface between film studies and geography and having done my Masterís thesis on film and geography, I was very excited to continue this line of research at SDSU/UCSB. I also have always been passionate about landscape studies and was grateful to have the opportunity to have the chance to work with and have Larry Ford serve on my dissertation committee. At UCSB, I was fortunate that Keith Clarke had just joined Geography when I arrived to do my stint in Santa Barbara. Keith was wonderful to work with as he honed my GIS skills, but more importantly to me, he was open to the idea of the integration of social theory with GIS.
The SDSU/UCSB program was a great place to shape my research interests and teaching skills. The ability to pursue two disparate interests (cinema and GIS) in a single program was quite rare at a time when social theorists and science geography seemed to be at war with one another. Rather than becoming a professional geographer with two unrelated interests, the SDSU/UCSB program nurtured my interests allowing me to forge my own path in geography. Today, I no longer see GIS and cinema as disparate areas of study, but rather, are interrelated forms of media and representations.