Joaquin Villanueva

Faculty

Assistant Professor in Geography and Peace Studies

I conducted my B.A. at the University of Puerto Rico. I majored in Modern Languages (French and Italian) and minored in Geography. Having spent a semester abroad in France I developed an interest in France's immigration and assimilation policies. I decided to study the lives, experiences, and relationships of various immigrant groups in France through the discipline of geography. In 2003 I began my M.A. degree in the Geography Department at Syracuse University. There I studied the politics of public space in Paris with a special focus on the inclusion/exclusion of minority groups in the new Les Halles, a centrally located public park in Paris. I continued in the Geography Department at Syracuse University for my Ph.D.

For my dissertation, I explored contemporary crime-control policies implemented in disadvantaged neighborhoods in the outskirts of Paris. Social housing estates located at the outskirts of Paris have tended to concentrate high rates of poverty, unemployment, and crime among a population, the majority of immigrant extraction, that has not been able to fully integrate to France.  In my research I explored the ways in which populations in social housing estates in Seine-Saint-Denis, northeastern suburb of Paris, cope with high levels of socio-spatial exclusion. I explored, among many other factors, the eruption of occasional 'riots' in Seine-Saint-Denis.

One of the most interesting observations I made was the increasing mobility of the courts as they attempt to prevent future 'riots' in the French urban landscape. Generally speaking, we seldom see the courts moving across the urban landscape to impart justice. We often see the police moving around, but the courts tend to be 'fixed' in a specific location. In France, the criminal justice system has begun to mobilize judicial personnel in disadvantaged neighborhoods in an attempt to prosecute wrong-doers and bring the law of the state closer to 'problem-areas'. 

I am politically motivated by a concern with social justice. As such, in my work I am continually trying to answer the question 'who has the right to the city'? My persistence to answer this question has expanded my research interests to the fields of urban, political, economic, cultural, and legal geographies. I view the prevalence of 'riots' and the mobility of the courts in the urban landscape as a struggle over the 'right to the city'. Are 'riots' an attempt by the poor to articulate their right to urban services and resources (jobs)? Is the mobility of the courts an attempt by the state to enlarge the access to rights by the urban poor?

I am now beginning a new project that explores the origins of the debt crisis in Puerto Rico. Drawing on urban political economy, race theories, and postcolonial theories, the project is a historical geographical analysis of the Puerto Rico Planning Board in the 1940s. It hypothesizes that the economic model adopted by the Planning Board (relying on debt and foreign investments) directly informed contemporary decisions that exacerbated the Island's crisis. 

I teach courses in human geography, including: world regional geography; introduction to human geography; urban geography; political geography; geographies of peace, crime, and violence; and sports geography.

Education

Ph.D Syracuse University



Courses Taught

GEG-101 (Introduction to Human Geography), GEG-242 (Research Methods), and PCS-211 (Introduction to Peace Studies)

Past
Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
GEG-101 Introduction to Human Geography 8 2017/FA, 2017/SP, 2016/FA, 2015/FA, 2015/SP, 2014/FA, 2014/SP, and 2013/FA
GEG-236 Urban Geography 4 2017/FA, 2015/FA, 2014/FA, and 2013/FA
GEG-242 Research Methods 3 2017/FA, 2016/SP, and 2015/SP
GEG-215 Political Geography 3 2016/FA, 2016/SP, and 2015/SP
GEG-344 ST:Geog of Peace/Crime 2 2015/FA and 2014/SP
GEG-115 Sports Geography 2 2015/JN and 2014/JN
GEG-102 World Regional Geography 2 2014/SP and 2013/FA
GEG-244 ST:Race/Space in USA 1 2017/SP
GEG-309 Geographies of Peace 1 2017/SP
PCS-211 Introduction to Peace Studies 1 2016/FA
GEG-336 Urban and Regional Analysis 1 2014/FA