Dragos Simandan, PhD (Bristol)

Department of Geography

Dragos Simandan, PhD (Bristol)

Geography Department
Brock University
Fax: 905-688-6369
E-mail: simandan@brocku.ca



Current SSHRC-Funded Research, 2013 - 2017

Principal Investigator, Insight Grant "Is cross-cultural experience conducive to wisdom? A study of Romanian immigrants in Toronto", Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Fully funded places for the MA in Geography Program - Fall 2015 and Fall 2016 Entry: apply to work as research assistant for Professor Simandan on his SSHRC grant.


Research Interests

  • Intelligence and Wisdom in Human Affairs
  • Social Theory & Philosophy of the Social Sciences
  • Geographical Reasoning
  • Economic Geography
  • Resource and Environmental Geographies
  • The Interface between Geography and Psychology




  • Since July 2012: Professor
  • 2006 July - 2012 June: Associate Professor, with tenure
  • 2003 December - 2006 June: Assistant Professor, tenure-track
  • 2003 October-December: Lecturer, tenure-track (at Brock)
  • 2000 October-2004 January: PhD in Geography (University of Bristol, UK; supervisors Nigel Thrift and Ron Johnston).
  • 1996-2000: BSc in Geography at Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania (Head of Cohort).



 Abstract of PhD Dissertation: A Structural Theory of Geography

The sharp distinction between a world ‘out there’ (ontology) and our representations of it (epistemology) is misleading and carries a significant, yet insufficiently acknowledged, political load. One fruitful way for moving beyond this habit of thought is to understand the world and our relation with it as recursive cartographies. This metaphor conceives all things as derivative of prior relations, defines scale as contexts collapsed within a unit of analysis, and approaches reality as the interplay of legacies, rhythms, and events.  It also obliges researchers to put themselves in the map of their object of research, thus subverting the fantasy of an independent world ‘out there’, awaiting one’s inspection. This political ontoepistemology claims that any achievement comes with a loss and demonstrates the benefits of this apparently banal contention in an analysis of the discipline of geography built around three questions: ‘What is geography?’, ‘Is geography worth keeping?’, and ‘What can be done to improve geography as a knowledge producer?’ The answer to the first question is that geography is a generic name for a set of various scientific practices, loosely held together, and thus identifiable by a common and long-standing concern for the big themes of ‘space’ and ‘Earth's complexity’, as well as by the networks generated through its having a distinct position in the academic division of labour. With this definition in mind, I then answer the second question in a positive but cautious manner, by, firstly, explaining the worthiness of traditional scientific disciplines and, secondly, questioning the usually invoked grounds for the existence of geography. The final question receives its answer in a style that unsettles some protocols of enquiry and norms of good research in geography. In the enabling space thus created, I explore a number of alternative disciplinary turns, reflexive practices, and conceptualisations that might rejuvenate geography. 



Peer-Reviewed Publications


Refereed Books

Simandan D 2006 Marginally Modern. Psychoanalysis and the deconstruction of inadequate communities Arad, ‘Vasile Goldis’ University Press, 264 pp.

Simandan D 2005b New Ways in Geography Timisoara, West University Press, 230 pp.

Simandan D 2005a Pragmatic Scepticism and the Possibilities of Knowledge Timisoara, West University Press, 256 pp.

Simandan D *2002 The truth regimes of the past , Arad, 'Aurel Vlaicu' University Press, 370 pp. [*in Romanian]

Solomon C-tin, Coanda Sv 2003 ‘Book review. Dragos Simandan Regimurile de adevãr ale trecutului. O cercetare în istoriografia si istoria geografiei’  Analele stiintifice ale Universitatea de Stat din Moldova, Sectia Stiinþe socioumanistice, vol III, Chisinãu, pp. 479 - 498

  • Professor Solomon and Dr. Coanda appreciated that: ‘We have no hesitation in praising this book: on one hand, it is the most original and erudite enquiry in the history and historiography of geography in the Romanian-speaking world, on the other hand, it constitutes an exceptional reference for all those with interests in historiography, discourse analysis, and the social study of science.’

Bulzan, C 2004 Book Review Revista Universitara de Stiinte Sociale, I, (2), pp. 178-179

  • ‘Romanian geography will much benefit from this volume. It brings the promise of rearticulating our parochial practices with the broader conversation taking place among other geographical traditions. Published only two years after his vastly influential book ‘The cultural fundaments of the American model’, ‘The truth regimes of the past’ confirms and reinforces Simandan’s position as leader of the new generation in Romanian geography. This book is definitely a must-have.’  

Simandan D *2000 The cultural  fundaments of the American model. A transdisciplinary approach in human geography , Cluj-Napoca, Dacia Press, 240 pp.  [*in Romanian]

Pacurariu Gh 2001 ‘A transdisciplinary approach in human geography. Book Review of ‘The cultural fundaments of the American model’’ Scientific and Technical Bulletin: Series: Economic Sciences & Sociology, VII, (3), pp. 89 - 91

  • Professor Pacurariu appreciated that: ‘This is undoubtedly the best book published in human geography after the fall of Ceausescu in 1989’


Refereed Book Chapters

(in press; 2016) “Geography (human and urban)”, in B. Turner, ed., Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Theory, London, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. xxx-xxx.

(forthcoming; 2016) Geography and interindividual differences as key explanatory variables of entrepreneurial success. Single-authored guest chapter in Markovic M, Omolaja M, Modern Entrepreneurship Charlotte, North Carolina: Information Age Publishing, pp. xxx-xxx.   

2011 Analytical sequencing of empirical research through recursive cartographies: a case study of a Romanian village. In Markovic-Radovic M, ed, Organizational Behaviour and Culture, Berlin: VDM Verlag, chapter 5, pp. 85-117.

2010 The causes and consequences of egalitarian sentiments and policies. Outline of a political ecology of place. In Aslau T & Matei S, Eds., Science, Economy, Society. In memoriam Dimitrie Camenita. Arad, ‘Aurel Vlaicu’ University Press, pp. 125-152.

2009b Industrialisation, In R Kitchin & N Thrift, Eds., International Encyclopedia of Human Geography , Oxford: Elsevier, volume 5, pp. 419-425.

2009a Affect and the gendered map of economic growth, chapter 2 In M Markovic & I Kyaruzi, Eds., Female Entrepreneurship and Local Economic Growth: A Case of Countries in Transition Denver, Colorado: Outskirts Press, pp. 20-46.

2006 Freud, Horney, and the neurotic spaces of modernity, In Matei S., Ed., Values, Education, and Multiculturality , Timisoara, Mirton Press, pp. 62-105. 


Refereed Journal Articles

2015 A polymorphic approach to policy analysis: a case study of Ontario's Ethanol in Gasoline Regulation Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography, vol. 97(1), pp. 31-45, (co-authored with Kirby Calvert).

2014 Omitted variables in the geographical treatment of well-being and happiness Geography Journal, open access, vol. 2014, pp. 1-5.

2013b Learning wisdom through geographical dislocations The Professional Geographer 65(3), pp. 390-395.

2013a Introduction: Learning as a geographical process The Professional Geographer 65(3), pp. 363-368.

2012c The logical status of applied geographical reasoning The Geographical Journal [RGS-IBG] 178(1), pp. 9-12.

2012b Options for moving beyond the canonical model of regional path-dependence International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36(1), pp. 172-178.

2012a Rethinking the conceptual foundations of evolutionary economic geography: introduction to a debate International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 36(1), pp. 156-157.

2011f The wise stance in human geography Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 36(2), pp. 188-192.

2011e Is engaged pluralism the best way ahead for economic geography? Commentary on Barnes & Sheppard (2009) Progress in Human Geography 35(4), pp. 568-572.

2011d Kinds of environments: a framework for reflecting on the possible contours of a better world The Canadian Geographer 55(3), pp. 383-386.

2011c Making sense of place through multiple memory systems New Zealand Geographer 67(1), pp. 21-24.

2011b On time, place, and happiness New Zealand Geographer 67(1), pp. 6-15 [featured article, with a commentary from psychologist Stephen Hill].

2011a Error, quality, and applied geography: an editorial on process Applied Geography 31(2), pp. 780-783.

2010e Beware of Contingency Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 28(3), pp. 388–396.

2010d Cognitive microfoundations for the economics of nonrival goods Economic Analysis 43(3-4), pp. 87-96.

2010c Roads to perdition in the knowledge-economy Environment and Planning A 42(7), pp. 1519-1520.

2010b Energy, space, and society: a reassessment of the changing landscape of energy production, distribution, and use Journal of Economics and Business Research XVI(1), pp. 13-37. [co-authored with Kirby Calvert]

2010a On how much one can take: relocating exploitation and exclusion within the broader framework of allostatic load theory Health & Place 16(6), pp. 1291-1293.

2009b Entrenched patterns of hot cognition may explain stubborn attributes of the economic landscape Journal of Women's Entrepreneurship and Education. 3-4: pp. 1-21.

2009a Intelligence and Environmental Complexity  Philobiblon. Theme Issue: The Environment vol. XIV, pp. 13-44. 

2008  A geographical theory of exceptional human performance: economic and policy implications from the standpoint of consequentialist ethics Romanian Journal of Business Ethics 2(1), pp 19-45.

2007 An evolutionary geography of environmental and social justice Studia Ambientum I (1-2), pp. 90-107. 

2004c Poverty, resource management, and the cultural politics of industrialization in Central Europe: the case of the Romanian Carpathians Romanian Review of Political Science  and International Relations I (2), pp. 45-60.

2004b ‘Neoliberalizing human resources: the case of a marginal trade union’ Akademos I (2), pp. 7-26.

2004a ‘Economy versus culture? Refiguring the domains of the social’ Sc. Techn. Bul: Social and Humanistic Sciences, X, (5), pp. 44-55.

2002e ‘ On what it takes to be a good geographerArea, 34(3), pp. 284 – 293.

2002d ‘Environmental harmony? Questioning reactionary loci in the scriptural economy of wholesome space’ Scientific and Technical Bulletin: Series Social and Humanistic Sciences, VIII, (2), pp. 5 - 24.

2002c ‘The neoliberal turn in Norwegian energy policy’ Annals of ‘Aurel Vlaicu' University. Series Economics pp. 409 – 417.

2002b ‘Social explanation and the praxis of science’ Annals of ‘Aurel Vlaicu' University. Series Economics pp. 418 – 433 [first author; second author Simandan M].

2002a ‘Feminist standpoint theory - a critique’ Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai Seria Geographia, XLVII, (1), pp. 129 - 136.

2001d ‘Political economy, political ecology, and the recursive cartographies of the city. Some ontological and methodological excavations’ Scientific and Technical Bulletin: Series Social and Humanistic Sciences, VII, (1), pp. 61 - 87.

2001c ‘Collapsing contexts into polymorphous chorologies of (more than economic) change. A case study in the performance of scale through the urban environment’ Scientific and Technical Bulletin: Series Economic Sciences & Sociology, VII, (4 ), pp. 55 - 86.

2001b ‘In-depth interviewing. A perspectival realist approach’ Annals of the State University of Moldavia Series ‘Social - Humanistic Sciences’, (2), pp. 43 - 48 [first author; second author Simandan M].

2001a ‘Globalization, socio-economic inequality, and the changing relationship between higher education and the labor market’ Scientific and Technical Bulletin: Series Economic Sciences & Sociology, VII, (3), pp. 48- 60.

*2000c ‘The geopolitical venture and the problem of the viability of the American model’ Romanian Journal of Political Geography, II, (1), pp. 69 - 90 [*in Romanian].

2000b ‘Directions of research in the theory of geography’ Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai Seria Geographia XLV, (2), pp. 199 - 201.

2000a ‘For a structural theory of geography’ Studia Universitatis Babes-Bolyai Seria Geographia XLV, (1), pp. 29 - 36.


Refereed Papers in Conference Proceedings

2010 'Prospects for the economic geographies of renewable energy' In Matei S. (ed.) Theoretical and Practical Approaches in Economics Arad: "Aurel Vlaicu" University Press, pp. 35-49 [co-authored with Kirby Calvert]

2008 'Theoretical note on the explanatory failure of Paul Romer's (1990) "Endogenous Technological Change"'Theoretical Developments in Contemporary Economics Timisoara: Mirton Publishing House, pp. 243-259.

2006 ‘The g factor and the geographical law of place-induced cognitive emergence' In Economic Science in a Knowledge Society, Proceedings of the International Conference ‘Research and Education in the Innovation Era' , Timisoara: Mirton Publishing House, pp. 80-90.

2002e ‘The governmentalization of nature: a political ecology of hydropower in Norway and Romania’ Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium of the Multidisciplinary Research Association from Western Romania, pp. 949-956, Timisoara.

2002d ‘Economic and environmental perspectives on the deregulation of the Norwegian energy market’, 1991 - 2002 Proceedings of the 4th International Symposium of the Multidisciplinary Research Association from Western Romania, pp. 957-965, Timisoara.

2002c ‘Framing capitalist dynamics: overdetermination or complexity theory?’ Proceedings of the 10th Scientific Conference with International Participation, 'Constantin Brancusi' University, Faculty of Economics, Targu - Jiu, Section 5, pp. 251 - 256.

2002b ‘Rosia Montana: the economic and environmental dilemmas of gold mining’, Proceedings of the 10th Scientific Conference with International Participation, 'Constantin Brancusi' University, Faculty of Economics, Targu - Jiu, Section 5, pp. 229 - 234.

2002a ‘Some unwelcome interruptions: on structural adjustment policies, trade unionism, and the working of the state’, Proceedings of the 10th Scientific Conference with International Participation, 'Constantin Brancusi' University, Faculty of Economics, Targu - Jiu, Section 5, pp. 211 - 216.

2001d ‘Global environmental change and its local and regional geographies in Romania’ Proceedings of the 3rd International Symposium of the Multidisciplinary Research Association from Western Romania, Timisoara, pp. 565 - 572.

2001c ‘‘Transformed nature’ and the geography of food consumption in Romania’ Proceedings of the 3rd International Symposium of the Multidisciplinary Research Association from Western Romania, Timisoara, pp. 573 - 582.

2001b ‘Governmentality, neoliberal constraints and everyday anxieties: a political ecology of tuberculosis in Orastie and the adjacent rural areas, 1989 – 2001’ Proceedings of Section 7 ‘Social Sciences and the Humanities’ of The National Session of Scientific Papers,Targu-Jiu, 24 -25 November, pp. 259 - 264.

2001a ‘Embedding flexible modes: two case studies in the geography of non-standard forms of employment’ Proceedings of Section 2 ‘Management, marketing, commerce’ of The National Session of Scientific Papers,Targu-Jiu, 24 -25 November, pp. 169 - 174.



Courses Taught 2003-2016

***GEOG 5P01 Theoretical Approaches to the Critical Examination of Geographical Issues (MA in Geography) (2015-2016, Fall Term)

GEOG 5V10 Advanced Topics in Labour Geographies

GEOG 4P95 Directed Readings I

GEOG 4P75 Resources and Social Movements (research seminar) 

***GEOG 4P77 Advanced Topics in Labour Geographies (research seminar) (2015-2016, Winter Term)

GEOG 3P57 Human Geography Field Trip

***GEOG 3P50 Resource Management: Discourses, Policies, and Ethics (2015-2016, Fall Term)

GEOG 3P76 Geographies of Energy

GEOG 3P79/INTL 3P79 Nature, Development, and the Politics of Knowledge

***GEOG 2P13 Resource and Environmental Geographies (2015-2016, Winter Term)

GEOG 2Q96 Environmental Problems and Development



Graduate Students

SARAH MANN, 2014-ongoing. MA Thesis "A non-representational conceptualization of troubling student disclosures to online and/or contingent university instructors". Funded by SSHRC (supervisor: Simandan)

MERT COSKAN, 2010-2013. MA Thesis "Illegal Aliens and The Inconspicuous Geographies of US Immigration and Border Policing within 100 miles of the US-Canada Border" (supervisor: Simandan). Mert began his PhD in Geography at Carleton University in the Fall of 2014.

HEATHER WHIPPLE, 2010 - 2013. (part-time). Major Research Paper "Extraterestrial human geographies" (supervisor: Simandan). Heather now works as Librarian at Brock University.

PIUS SIAKWAH, 2010 – 2012. Major Research Paper "Defying the Resource Curse Thesis: A Test Case for the Emerging Oil and Gas Industry in Ghana" (supervisor: Simandan). Pius is now doing his PhD at University College, Dublin, Ireland.

LISA COMBE, 2008 – 2011 (part-time). Major Research Paper "A gendered economic geography of real estate entrepreneurship in Niagara, Ontario" (supervisor: Simandan). Lisa is the recipient of Brock’s Distinguished Graduate Student Award.

KIRBY CALVERT, 2007 – 2009. MA Thesis "Scale, net-workings and uncertainty: an examination of environmental policy making in Ontario" (supervisor: Simandan). Kirby went on and did his PhD at Queen’s University (2009-2013), then worked as tenure-track assistant professor of energy policy in the Geography Department of Pennsyslvania State University (2013-2015), and, most recently, moved back to Canada, as tenure-track assistant professor in the Geography Department of Guelph University (July 2015-ongoing).