Ian is Assistant Professor of Geography at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. A Fulbright Scholar (2013-2014), his work on culture, politics, and place-making has appeared in The Journal of Asian Studies, Annals of the American Association of Geographers, Annals of Tourism Research, Asian Anthropology, International Journal of Transitional Justice, The New York Times, the BBC Chinese, The Guardian and elsewhere. A participant-observer in Hong Kong and Taiwan’s recent democracy movements, he has delivered invited talks at institutions including Stanford University, SOAS University of London, and NYU Shanghai.
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
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 10 years of life/work experience in the region, and has been supported with several National Science Foundation grants, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a Dissertation Fellowship from the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy, among others.
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) from UC Santa Cruz in 2001.