Southwestern

Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Environmental Studies

Dr. Joshua Long

Interdisciplinary perspectives on sustainability.

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    Dr. Joshua Long

January 01, 2014

Joshua Long’s research reflects his interdisciplinary training as a human geographer and the diversity of his scholarly interests. Long has published on such topics as urban sustainability, sustainable agriculture, rural development, sustainable tourism, place theory, and place-based activism. And while these topics may seem  unrelated, Long says that it is a natural side effect of being an interdisciplinary scholar.

Early on, Long’s work began with explorations of place attachment and place meaning, specifically the ways in which people inscribed and drew meaning from their surrounding landscapes. His work on coffeehouses (Long & Hawley 2006), exurban landscapes (Larsen et al. 2007), Creative City landscapes (Long 2009), and place-based activism (Long 2013) reflects this trajectory, but it was during the writing of his 2010 book, Weird City, that Long’s current approach to research began to take shape. In investigating the causes and reactions to the “Keep Austin Weird” movement, Long found that the resistance to changes in the urban cultural landscape revealed a much more complex set of values and forces at work in the rapidly growing city of Austin. Since then, Long has devoted a great deal of his research to understanding how sustainable urban development in Austin remains elusive amidst the intersecting tensions of environmental activism, demographic changes, economic growth, and social justice.

Long has applied this interdisciplinary perspective to other areas of research as well. His work on the ways competing narratives of sustainability and contrasting visions of agricultural production have influenced the success of farm direct markets (Long 2011) has led to a collaborative publication with Southwestern students who added variables of pricing, community development, and consumer loyalty to this same line of research (Long et al. 2013a). Long has also pursued research on the multidimensionality of sustainable educational travel, particularly the environmental, economic, and social impacts of college study abroad programs. In collaboration with colleagues at his previous institution, Franklin College Switzerland, Long has published two works emphasizing the importance of best practices while travelling abroad (Hale et al. 2013; Long et al. 2013b).

In the near future, Central Texas (and specifically, Austin) will likely remain the primary focus of Long’s research. He is currently working on a scholarly article which critically examines environmental policy and housing affordability amidst Austin’s current economic boom, writing a book chapter on the evolution of Austin bohemianism, and beginning to write and research for a book on Texas environmental politics.

Like many of his colleagues at Southwestern, Long believes strongly that his research should inform both his teaching and activism. Students in classes such as Sustainable Cities, U.S. Environmental Policy, Sustainable Food and Agriculture and Senior Capstone are given a chance to engage critically and productively with his research. Opportunities for student involvement and engagement have included speaking at local city council meetings, writing policy briefs for Austin city officials, co-authoring scholarly publications, presenting at academic conferences, creating a sustainable strategic plan for the Southwestern University campus, and engaging in other activities that encourage scholarship and activism in the pursuit of justice and the common good.

Capstone Presentation with Dr. Long and Environmental Studies Seniors. Capstone Presentation with Dr. Long and Environmental Studies Seniors.

Selected Publications

Long, Joshua, Brack Hale and Alison Vogelaar. (2013). “Toward Sustainable Educational Travel.” Journal of Sustainable Tourism Vol. 22 (3): 421-39. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09669582.2013.819877

Long, Joshua (and the 2014 Env. Studies Capstone Class). (2013). “Toward an applied methodology for price comparison studies of farmers’ markets and competing retailers at the local scale.” Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. http://dx.doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2013.033.010

Long, Joshua. (2013). “Sense of Place and Place-based Activism in the Neoliberal City: The Case of ‘Weird’ Resistance.” City: Analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action 17(1):52-67.

Brack Hale, Alison Vogelaar, Joshua Long. (2013). “A Broad Spectrum: Sustainability in Educational Travel.” Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education Vol. 14 (4).

Long, Joshua. (2011). “Entering the New Conversational Marketplace: Narratives of Sustainability and the Success of Farm Direct Markets.” Food, Culture and Society 14 (1): 49-69.

Long, Joshua. (2009). “Sustaining Creativity in the Creative Archetype: The Case of Austin, Texas.” Cities: The International Journal of Urban Policy and Planning 26 (4): 175-232.

Larsen, Soren, Curt Sorenson, David McDermott, Joshua Long, Christopher Post. (2007). “Rootedness, Sense of Place, and the Politics of Exurban Development in Garden Park, Colorado.”The Professional Geographer 59 (4): 421-23.

Long, Joshua and R. Dawn Hawley. (2006). “From Beatniks to Britney and Beyond: The Socio-cultural Evolution of the American Coffeehouse,” in Wilson, Leslie ed. Americana: Readings in Popular Culture. Hollywood: Press Americana: 242-50.