Ralph Saunders

Ralph Sanders

College of Natural and Behavioral Sciences

Department of Earth Science

Associate Professor, Geography

(310) 243-3284

Dr Ralph Saunders earned his BA in Anthropology from Northwestern University, an MA in Urban Geography from the University of Illinois in his hometown of Chicago, and a PhD in Geography with a doctoral minor in Anthropology from the University of Arizona. His doctoral research explored the relationship between police and neighborhood-based community groups in Boston where he spent twenty months in the field in the mid-1990s.

Like many Geographers, Dr Saunders's academic interests range widely. He has published articles on topics as diverse as popular culture, community policing, and the urban environment. While much of his work centers on cities, Dr Saunders is also a student of globalization and he has made globalization – both in terms of the processes that are bringing the world's people and places together and in terms of the kind of world those processes are making – a major emphasis of the courses he teaches here at DH. Dr Saunders teaches conventional classroom-based and online sections of Geo100 (Human Geography) and Geo350 (World Geography). He also teaches Geo360 (North America), Geo357 (Urban Environmental Geography) and a section of SBS318 (Cultural Pluralism) that explores different ways that people around the world learn about, value, and "know" the natural world.

 In his teaching, Dr Saunders stresses the importance of good research design and he takes an interdisciplinary approach. That approach, he argues, is fundamental to the academic discipline of Geography with its emphasis on developing and bringing together multiple data sets – demographic, economic, environmental, etc. – and multiple research methodologies in an effort to know just what kind of world it is that we are making and how we might intervene in it in order to make that world better for all of us. Dr Saunders's most recent research centers on the effects of urbanization on animal populations in the urban-wildlands interface. He also continues to participate in teaching-centered educational initiatives at DH such as the GELC program where he is collaborating with the Anthropologist Dr Jan Gasco on a paired set of 100-level General Education social science courses.

Selected publications and conference papers include:

“A Hatalom, A Terület És Transnsznacionalizmus Kritikai Geográfiái” (“Critical Geographies of Power, Territory and Transnationalism”) co-authored with Scott Kirsch in Tények és velemények a kritikai geográfráról. (Volume XVII, Number 2: pp. 103-106) (This journal is published by the Center for Regional Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.)

“One Nation, Indivisible: Transnationalism and National Identity After September 11.” A paper presented at the 2003 Annual Meetings of the Association of American Geographers in New Orleans, LA.

“Transnational Communities and National Identity.” Paper presented at the 3rd International Critical Geography Conference, June 2002, Bekescsaba, Hungary.

“Home and Away: Bridging the Gaps Between Fieldwork and Everyday Life,” in Geographical Review (vol. 91:1&2, 2001), pp. 88-94.

“Teaching Rap: The Politics of Race in the Classroom,” in The Journal of Geography. (vol. 98:4, 1999), pp. 185-188.

“From Language to Action: The Rhetoric, Plans and Practice of Community Policing in Boston,” in Urban Geography (vol. 20: 5, 1999), pp. 461-482.

“The Space Community Policing Makes and the Body that Makes It,” in The Professional Geographer  (vol. 51:1, 1999), pp. 135-146.

“Rap and the Construction of Identity in the African-American Ghetto,” The Arizona Anthropologist  (no. 10, 1993), pp. 23-38.