About Ian

Ian is Assistant Professor of Geography and Urban Planning at Nanyang Technological University, SingaporeHis work on culture, politics, and place-making has appeared in The Journal of Asian StudiesAnnals of the American Association of GeographersAnnals of Tourism ResearchAsian AnthropologyInternational Journal of Transitional JusticeThe New York Timesthe BBC ChineseThe Guardian and elsewhere. He has delivered invited talks at institutions including Stanford University, Harvard University, University of California Berkeley, SOAS University of London, and NYU Shanghai. He has been a Visiting Scholar at Fudan University (China) and Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen (Germany) and a postdoctoral fellow at Academia Sinica (Taiwan). His research has been supported with a Fulbright Fellowship and multiple US National Science Foundation grants.

Fluent in Mandarin Chinese and proficient in Bahasa Indonesia, he is the lead translator of “Tibetan Environmentalists in China: The King of Dzi,” a book written by journalist and Peking University and UC Berkeley fellow Liu Jianqiang that explores the interface of religion, ecology, and cultural politics in Tibet (Rowman & Littlefield, 2015). Ian’s previous translations credits include such award-winning films as ‘Splendid Float’ and ‘Spider Lilies’, directed by Zero Chou.

Ian at the Grand Pasta'ay Ceremony, central Taiwan mountains, 2016. Photo: M Geier
Ian at the Grand Pasta’ay Ceremony, central Taiwan mountains, 2016. Photo: M Geier

Much of his research has focused on the cultural and political geography of both travel and protest between the People’s Republic of China and Taiwan. Treating tourism as a political technology, he pays particular attention to performances of state territory and ethno-national membership. This project stems from more than 10 years of life/work experience in the region.

Before earning his PhD in Geography from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2016, Ian worked as a translator, journalist, musician, tour guide, hotelier and entrepreneur. He received a B.A. with honors in a double major of Mathematics and East Asian Studies (Chinese), as well as the JWT Youngs Mathematics Prize from the University of California Santa Cruz in 2001.