Alexander C. Diener

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences - Geography and Atmospheric Science
Associate Professor
Primary office:
785-864-3040
Lindley Hall
Room 413A
University of Kansas


Alexander C. Diener is an Associate Professor of Geography at the University of Kansas. After earning his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Alex was a Title VIII Research Fellow at the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center. He then taught at Pepperdine University before being named Senior Scholar in Eurasian Studies at George Washington University (2010-2011) and Regional Research Fulbright Scholar in Central Asia (2011-2012). In 2012 Alex joined the faculty of the Department of Geography and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Kansas, where he is also affiliated faculty with the Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies, Asian Studies, and Environmental Studies.

Throughout his career Alex has worked at the nexus of political, social, and cultural geography, engaging topics such as geopolitics and borders, identity and migration, citizenship, and urban landscape change. He possesses area studies expertise in Central Eurasia (the Central Asian states, Russian Borderlands, Islamic Borderlands) and Northeast Asia (Mongolia and Russian Borderlands). He has authored or co-authored three books, co-edited three books, and published in a variety of disciplinary and area-studies academic journals. Over the course of his career Alex has garnered a number of teaching accolades including the 2006 SSRC Teaching Fellowship. Alex is the founder of the student undergraduate journal Global Tides at Pepperdine University and has served a board member for several international academic organizations and granting agencies. He recently held a Title VIII Short Term Fellowship at the Kennan Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars (2015) and was named Senior Fellow in Eurasian Studies at the Davis Center of Harvard University (2015-2016).

Teaching Interests

  • Political geography
  • Cultural geography
  • Social Geography
  • Urban Geography
  • Geopolitics
  • International Relations
  • Geographies of Islam
  • Social Theory
  • Border Studies
  • Peace Studies
  • Transnationalism and Diaspora Studies
  • Central Asia
  • Mongolia
  • Russian Borderlands
  • Chinese Borderlands

Research

I characterize myself as a broadly trained human geographer with theoretical interests bridging the social sciences and humanities. At its core, my work explores the relationship between identity and place as an essential element of human ontology. I engage with the people/place bond as it manifests within processes of peace, conflict and development. Possessing an area studies specialization in Central Eurasia and Northeast Asia, I have contributed to interdisciplinary scholarly discourses relating to borders/ human mobility and immobility, environment/social justice, cultural hybridity, diaspora/transnationalism, and the impact of urban landscape change on community, self, and personhood. Since receiving my PhD, I have undertaken an ambitious research agenda that engages and critiques a range of social theory. Extensive fieldwork employing a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods in the Central Asian states, Mongolia, and both Russian and Islamic borderlands provides the empirical data for this work.

Research Interests

  • Political Geography
  • Social Geography
  • Cultural Geography
  • International Relations
  • Geographic and Social Theory
  • Urban Geography
  • Economic Geography
  • Geopolitics
  • Historical Geography
  • Peace Studies
  • Development Studies
  • Area Studies Foci
  • Central Eurasia
  • Northeast Asia
  • Central Asian States
  • Mongolia
  • Islamic Borderlands
  • Russian Borderlands
  • Specific Interests
  • Border Studies
  • Geographies of Nationalism & Transnationalism
  • Mobilities and Immobilities
  • Migration
  • Citizenship
  • Geographies of Islam
  • Processes and Consequences of Territorialization
  • Urban Landscape Change
  • Justice, Ethics, and Geographies of Belonging
  • Religion and State Relations
  • Place Attachment

Service

Affiliations with:

Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies

Center for Asian Studies

Environmental Studies Program


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