Dr. Ken Whalen joins the faculty of AUPP as Associate Professor of Arts and Sciences. He has several years of experience as a teacher and researcher at colleges and universities in the United States, Afghanistan, Brunei Darussalam and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. His academic training in environmental and cultural geography — subfields of geography which serve the humanities, social sciences and earth science disciplines — has enabled him to develop and teach undergraduate and graduate courses in environmental science and philosophy, tourism and Southeast Asian studies, and geography. Much of his professional writing is for reference books and encyclopedias suited mostly for undergraduate students, and book reviews for an academic audience. This particular way of reading up and writing on historical, literary and environmental topics gave him opportunities to lead first-year student writing courses.
Dr. Whalen’s scholarship seeks to understand through visual and textual analysis how historical and cultural contexts shape representations of landscapes, places and regions. His analytical eye has focused on difficult-heritage landscapes such as Trail of Tears National Historic Trail and “…the Real Florida”. To understand geographical representations, Dr. Whalen believes it is important to develop a keen “peripatetic sense of place” since walking and hiking offer the most pleasurable and insightful understanding of places and landscapes. He has worked on research projects that helped build public interest in regional hiking trails, recreational tourism and local environmental issues. So, if you see Dr. Whalen wandering about town, or rambling along the fringes of Phnom Penh, give a shoutout, or join him, but never offer a ride.