Office: CJ 4.327
Phone: 514-848-2424 x2561
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I am on leave from June 2014 to July 2015.


Peter C. van Wyck


BSc, Environmental Science / Social Ecology, Trent University, 1987

MA, Methodologies for the Study of Western History Culture, Trent University, 1992

PhD, Graduate Program in Communication, McGill University, 1997

Postdoc, Methodologies for the Study of Western History and Culture / Environmental Studies – SSHRC, Trent University, 1997-1999

Postdoc, Interdisciplinary Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities, Assistant Professor of Geography, Queen’s University, 1999-2000

My academic background is broadly interdisciplinary, with training in forestry, environmental and ecological sciences, philosophy, environmental and cultural studies, and communication studies. I teach undergraduate and graduate courses (MA & PhD) in semiotics, communication and media theory, visual culture, and special topic seminars such as “Reading Freud,” “North and Nordicity: Theory in a Cold Climate,” “The Arts of Memory,” “Landscapes of the Local: Rethinking Space and Place,” and Landscapes of the Sign: The Place of the Photographic Image.”

My current research and writing interests include the theory and philosophy of communication; semiotics of environment; atomic & nuclear history; landscape, memory, chorography, and critical topographies; discourses of North and nordicity; and the photographic image.

I have a number of speaking engagements lined up over the next few months of 2015, including invited talks the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Regina, and the “Radiation Ecologies” workshop at the Université de Montréal, both in March. Three more talks in Japan – at the Institute of Environmental Radioactivity at Fukushima University, the Hiroshima Peace Institute, and the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan – in April. Invited presentations at the Critical Topography Symposium at Trent University in May, and the “Through Atomic Eyes: Toxic Legacies, Post-nuclear Futures” conference at OCAD University in October. And I’ll also be a discussant at Kregg Hetherington’s “Infrastructure, Environment and Life in the Anthropocene” workshop here at Concordia in September.

At the moment I am working on a SSHRC-funded project with Dr. Myra Hird of Queen’s University that concerns nuclear waste, the media of apology, justice and the future.

My last book, released in November 2010, published by McGill Queen’s University Press, is entitled The Highway of the Atom. It was awarded the 2011 Gertrude J. Robinson book award for the best new book in communication studies by the Canadian Communication Association, and was shortlisted for the 2012 Canada Prize in the Social Sciences – The Harold Adams Innis Award of the Canadian Federation of Social Sciences and Humanities.

The following works are about to appear, or have recently done so:

“Theory in a Cold Climate: Cultural Studies of the North” Special issue of Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies. To be published in February 2015.

“What was the Anthropocene?” Invited chapter – with Myra Hird – for the volume Assembling the Planet: The Post-War Politics of Globality, edited by Rens van Munster and Casper Sylvest, Cambridge University Press. In peer review.

“Nuclear Topographies,” A Review Essay of Hot Spotter’s Report: Military Fables of Toxic Waste (Krupar), Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. Online, May 3, 2014.

“Footbridge at Atwater: A Chorographic Inventory of Effects,” Thinking with Water, edited by Cecilia Chen, Janine MacLeod, and Astrida Neimanis, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013.

“Innis and I,” Harold Innis in the North, edited by William Buxton, McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2013.

“An Archive of Threat,” invited for Special Issue, “Re-Thinking the Monument,” Future Anterior, 9.2 Winter 2012: 53-80.

“Northern War Stories: The Dene, the Archive, and Canada’s Atomic Modernity.” Bearing Witness: Perspectives on War and Peace from the Arts and Humanities, edited by Sherrill Grace, Patrick Imbert, and Tiffany Johnstone. McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2012.

My previous book, Signs of Danger: Waste, Trauma, and Nuclear Threat (2005), published in the Theory out of Bounds series at the University of Minnesota Press, was also awarded the Gertrude J. Robinson Book Prize. Several recent reviews can be found here: Semiotic Review of Books, Organization & Environment, and The Canadian Journal of Sociology Online.

My first book, Primitives in the Wilderness: Deep Ecology and the Missing Human Subject, was published in 1997.

Last update: January 20, 2015 – 11:57