Hawkins, Roberta

Dr. Roberta Hawkins
Associate Professor
PhD, Clark University, 2011
519 824-4120 ext. 58166

Feminist geographies, political ecology, digital technologies, geographies of care.

I am a feminist geographer and critical social scientist. My research interests fall into three overlapping categories. 

1. Feminist Academia

As a feminist scholar, I am interested in the oppressive power dynamics that are inherent in the institutions of higher education, in the way these dynamics exclude certain knowledges and people and in the lived experiences of people who work and learn within academia.
This research focuses on:

  • Power, the everyday and neoliberal academic institutions
  • Feminist ethics of care in universities
  • Practical interventions to transform academic systems

Check out my recently book published book: Higher Expectations: How to survive academia, make it better for others and transform the university. https://btlbooks.com/book/higher-expectations 

2. Digital Technologies

I examine digital technologies through my training in feminist theory and political ecology, including thinking through how best to study online practices and environments in ethical ways and considering the use of technology in framing a cultural politics of sustainability.
This research focuses on: 

  • The role of digital technologies in conservation initiatives 
  • The use of social media for environmental activism
  • Feminist Digital Natures
  • Feminist methodologies for social media research 

3. New Development Responsibilities

I study how people in the Global North are encouraged to ‘make a difference’ globally through everyday practices like ethical consumption, online activism, volunteer tourism and social entrepreneurship. I critically examine the role these practices play in funding and raising awareness about development or environmental projects. 
This research focuses on:

  • Cause-related marketing and ethical consumption
  • Social Entrepreneurship as a means of development intervention
  • Digital technologies used to ‘engage’ audiences to care at a distance
  • The framing and impacts of International Development promotional narratives  

GEOG*2030 Environment and Development
GEOG*2230 Economic Geography
GEOG*3090 Gender and Environment
GEOG*6340 Human Environment Relations
GEOG*6100 Geographic Scholarship and Research
IDEV*6300 Research and Analysis in a Development Context

Hawkins, R. and L. Kern. (2024). Higher Expectations: How to survive in academia, make it better for others and transform the university. Toronto: Between the Lines Books. https://btlbooks.com/book/higher-expectations 

Hawkins, R. (forthcoming) “Building Critical Development Research Skills through Co-learning and Practice” In Eds/ Cohen, E et al., Teaching to Decolonize Development: Pedagogical Innovations in Global Development Studies. 

Manzi, M., D. Ojeda and R. Hawkins (2024). Creating “wiggle room”: Spaces of care and possibility within the neoliberal academy. Geoforum.

Drakopulos, L., Nost, E., Hawkins, R., and Silver, J. (2023). A shark in your pocket, a bird in your hand(held): the spectacular and charismatic visualization of nature in conservation apps. In Travis, C., Dixon, D., Bergmann, L., Legg, R., and Crampsie, A. (eds.) The Routledge Handbook for the Digital Environmental Humanities (pp. 303-316). Routledge. DOI: 10.4324/9781003082798-26

Hawkins R. and J.J. Silver (2023). Following Miss Costa: Examining digital natures through a shark with a Twitter account. Digital Geographies and Society (specially issue on digital nature).

Hill-Tout, K. and R. Hawkins (2023). Accessorizing Development: Fundraising Bracelets for International Development as a New Development Responsibility. The Journal of International Development.

Hawkins, R. and Nelson, I. L., (2022). Where are the rooted networks in digital political ecologies? Frontiers in Human Dynamics: Special Section on Environment, Politics and Society.

Loyd, J.M.; S. Velednitsky, I. Diaz, S. Ibrahim, C. Giddings, K. Caldwell, A. Bonds, R. Hawkins, A. Mountz. (2022). Dear feminist collective: How does one take up slow scholarship (in the midst of crises)? Rosenberg, M. W.; Lovell, S.; Coen, S. E. Handbook of Methodologies in Human Geography. Routeledge

Nelson, I. L., Hawkins, R., & Govia, L*. (2022). Feminist digital natures. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, 25148486221123136.

Kipp, A., & Hawkins, R. (2022). From the nice work to the hard work: “Troubling” community‐based CareMongering during the COVID‐19 pandemic. Gender, Work & Organization, 29(4), 1293-1313.

Drakopulos, L., Silver, J. J., Nost, E., Gray, N., & Hawkins, R. (2022). Making global oceans governance in/visible with Smart Earth: The case of Global Fishing Watch. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, 25148486221111786.

Hamilton, T., Hawkins, R., & Walton-Roberts, M. (2021). Canon, Legacy or Imprint: A Feminist Reframing of Intellectual Contribution. In Reimagining the Academy (pp. 327-347). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Richey, L. A., Hawkins, R., & Goodman, M. K. (2021). Why are humanitarian sentiments profitable and what does this mean for global development?. World Development, 145, 105537

Clark, K., Hawkins, R., & Silver, J. J. (2020). Gender, nature and nation: Resource nationalism on primary sector reality TV. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, 2514848619899785.

Kipp, A., Hawkins, R., & Gray, N. J. (2020). Gendered and racialized experiences and subjectivities in volunteer tourism. Gender, Place & Culture, 1-21.

Hawkins, R., Al-Hindi, K. F., Moss, P., & Kern, L. (2020). Reflections on a collective biography journey. Emotion, Space and Society, 37, 100731.

Hawkins, R., & Horst, N. (2020). Ethical consumption? There's an app for that. Digital technologies and everyday consumption practices. The Canadian Geographer/Le Géographe canadien.

Kipp, A., & Hawkins, R. (2019). The responsibilization of “development consumers” through cause-related marketing campaigns. Consumption Markets & Culture, 22(1), 1-16.

Manzi, M., Ojeda, D., & Hawkins, R. (2019). “Enough Wandering Around!”: Life Trajectories, Mobility, and Place Making in Neoliberal Academia. The Professional Geographer, 71(2), 355-363.

Hawkins, R. (2018). Breaking down barriers of culture and geography? Caring-at-a-distance through web 2.0. New Political Science, 40(4), 727-743.

Moss, P., Kern, L., Hawkins, R., & Falconer-Al Hindi, K. (2018).  Grasping the affirmative: Power and the process of becoming joyful academic subjects.   Emotion, Space and Society, 28, 53-59.

Falconer-Al Hindi, K., Moss, P., Kern, L., & Hawkins, R. (2017). Inhabiting Research, Accessing Intimacy, Becoming Collective. Writing Intimacy Into Feminist Geography. Routledge. 

Hawkins, R., Falconer Al-Hindi, K., Moss, P., & Kern, L. (2016). Practicing Collective Biography. Geography Compass, 10 (4), 165-178. 

Hawkins, R. & Silver, J. J. (2016). From selfie to #sealfie: Nature 2.0 and the digital cultural politics of an internationally contested resource. Geoforum., doi: doi:10.1016/j.geoforum.2016.06.019.

Johnson, R., Fraser, E., & Hawkins, R. (2016). Overcoming barriers to scaling up sustainable alternative food systems: A comparative case study of two Ontario-based wholesale produce auctions. Sustainability, 8 (4), 328.

Parizeau, K., Shillington, L., Hawkins, R., Sultana, F., Mountz, A., Mullings, B; Peake, L. (2016). Breaking the Silence: A feminist call to action. The Canadian Geographer, 60 (2), 192-204.

Hawkins, R. (2015). Shifting conceptualizations of ethical consumption: Cause-related marketing in India and the USA. Geoforum. doi:10.1016/ j.geoforum.2015.05.007

Mountz, A., Bonds, A., Mansfield, B., Loyd, J., Hyndman, J., M. Walton-Roberts, R. Basu, R. Whitson, R. Hawkins, T. Hamilton and W. Curran (in press, 2015). For Slow Scholarship: A feminist politics of resistance through collaborative action in the neoliberal university. ACME.

Valencia‐Fourcans, L., and Hawkins, R. (2015). Representations of Women in Microcredit Promotional Materials: The Case of Espoir Ecuador. Journal of International Development. DOI: 10.1002/jid.3136

Silver, J.J., and R. Hawkins. (2015) “I’m not trying to save fish, I’m trying to save dinner”: Media, celebrity and sustainable seafood as a solution to environmental limits. Geoforum (in press).

Kern, L., Hawkins, R., Al-Hindi, K. F., and Moss, P. (2014) A collective biography of joy in academic practice. Social & Cultural Geography, 15(7), 834-851.

Hawkins, R., and Emel, J. (2014) Paradoxes of ethically branded bottled water: constituting the solution to the world water crisis. Cultural Geographies, DOI: 1474474014530961.

Hawkins, R., M. Manzi and D. Ojeda. (2014) Lives in the making: Power, academia and the everyday.  ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographers. 13 (2), 328-351

Morrow, O., Hawkins, R., and Kern, L. (2014) Feminist research in online spaces. Gender, Place & Culture, (ahead-of-print), 1-18. DOI: 10.1080/0966369X.2013.879108

Hawkins, R. (2013) Gender, Climate Science and Technology in Climate Change: An Encyclopedia of Science and History.  Editors: Brian Black, David Hassenzahl, Jennie C. Stephens, and Gary Weisel. ABC-Clio Publishers.  Santa Barbara, CA.

Hawkins, R. (2012) A New Frontier in Development? The use of cause-related marketing by international development organisations, Third World Quarterly, 33:10, 1783-1801

Hawkins, R. (2012) Shopping to save lives: Gender and Environment meets Ethical Consumption. Geoforum. 43(4): 750-759.

Hawkins, R. (2011)  One pack = one global motherhood?  A feminist critique of ethical consumption.  Gender, Place and Culture 18(2): 235-253.

Hawkins, R. and D. Ojeda D (eds) (2011)  Gender and environments: Critical traditions and new challenges.  Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 29 (2): April.  Also with contributions by: K. Asher, B. Baptiste, L. Harris, S. Mollett, A. Nightingale, D. Rocheleau, J. Seager and F. Sultana (advanced online copy available).

Feminist Methods for Social Media Research

I am seeking one Masters student for next fall. Seeking applicants with an interest in feminist theory, social media research and digital geographies. Students will receive financial support following the policy in the Department of Geography. Research expenses will also be covered. Student research will be part of a larger project co-managed by Dr. Elisabeth Militz aiming to:

  1. Investigate how differently positioned scholars experience and practice social media research
  2. Develop, collaboratively refine and disseminate a framework for feminist social media research methodologies.

Looking for students to begin Fall 2024. Please contact rhawkins@uoguelph.ca for more information.

Graduate Students Supervised

Name Research
Ph.D. Govia, Leah Research interests: Digital technologies, environmental imaginaries, feminist STS.
Ph.D. SOPR Jolie, Jennifer Fat activism, embodiment and fashion.
Ph.D. SOPR Kipp, Amy Community care and collective artmaking.
M.A. 2014 Fourcans, Lidia Representations of Women in Micro-Financing Promotional Materials: The Case of Espoir Ecuador.
M.A. 2014 Johnson, Rylea Food systems and food security; evaluating the potential food produce auctions to operate as a key alternative food system.
M.A. 2014 Kenny, Robyn Nature, development & consumption: Representations in conservation cause-related marketing campaigns.
M.A. 2015 Horst, Naomi Ethical consumption? There's an app for that: The role of crow-sourced mobile technologies in everyday consumption practices.
M.A. 2017 Clark, Kendal The (re)production of nature on natural resource based reality television.
M.A. 2017 Homer, Elizabeth A community economies approach to consignment clothing in Guelph, Ontario.
M.A. 2017 Kipp, Amy Shaping the 'volunteer tourist bubble': The gendered experiences of volunteer tourists.
M.A. 2018 Fromknecht, Brynn e-Valuating the Internet: Assessing the perceived potential of virtual spaces and social media campaigns.
M.A. 2018 Hirvi, Julianne Understanding how youth conceptualizes themselves as globally engaged citizens.
M.A. + IDS 2020 Hill-Tout, Kimberley Fundraising Bracelet Campaigns: An Analysis of their Role in Current International Development Practice
M.A. 2021 Wlasichuk, Jayden School Strike 4 Climate (Justice): Exploring the experiences of climate strike organizers in Canada.
M.A. 2022 Beninger, Caroline Zero Waste Lifestyles on Instagram: Portrayals and Practices.
M.A. 2023 Smikle, Vanessa Digital Fashion and Sustainable Fashion Futures.