Hawkins, Roberta

Dr. Roberta Hawkins
Associate Professor
PhD, Clark University, 2011
519 824-4120 ext. 58166
Hutt 345

Consumption geographies, development studies, political ecology, feminist geography.

My research interests fall into three overlapping categories.

1. New Development Responsibilities

I am interested in the ways in which people and places in the Global North and the Global South are connected (or not) through understandings and practices of development. In this research I examine the roles that new actors play in International Development networks, for example the role that consumers and corporations play in funding and raising awareness about development projects. 

This research focuses on:

  • Cause-related marketing and ethical consumption as used by NGOs
  • Social Entrepreneurship (e.g. TOMS Shoes) as a means of development intervention
  • The use of online technologies to encourage audiences in the Global North to care about issues and people in the Global South (caring at a distance)
  • The framing and impacts of International Development promotional narratives  

2. The Cultural Politics of Sustainability

I am interested in the ways in which sustainability and potential solutions to environmental issues are communicated to audience members in particular ways using a variety of media. This research analyzes the use of media to encourage audiences to engage with an issue or change their everyday behaviours (e.g. through consuming ethically).

This research focuses on:

  • Nature 2.0 and the use of social media in activism and conservation efforts
  • The ability of mobile applications (apps) to encourage behaviour change among consumers
  • The role the celebrity, reality television and online platforms play in spreading information about sustainability

3. Feminist Geographies

Feminist theory continues to influence my research questions and approaches.  I am interested in feminist geographies and their contribution to methodologies, everyday experiences in place and analyses of power dynamics within neoliberal institutions.

This research focuses on:

  • Collective Biography (a feminist method)
  • Feminist research methodologies for online spaces
  • Power, the everyday and neoliberal academic institutions
  • Gender and the Environment.

GEOG*2030 Environment and Development
GEOG*2230 Economic Geography
GEOG*3090 Gender and Environment
GEOG*6340 Human Environment Relations
IDEV*2500 International Development Studies

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).

Ethical Consumption, International Development, Feminist Perspectives

I am actively seeking Masters students for next fall. Applicants with an interest in: ethical consumption, feminist theory, critical development studies, and/or the politics of philanthropy are encouraged to apply. Students will receive financial support following the policy in the Department of Geography. Research expenses will also be covered. Funded student research projects may include:

  1. Investigating how ethical consumption campaigns (e.g. Product RED, Toms Shoes) play out on the ground through international development projects
  2. Analyzing the use of social media by corporations and NGOs to share stories of 'development' with North American audiences
  3. Researching the gendered dynamics of sustainable consumption decisions

Please note that this MA degree in geography can also be combined with the collaborative MA in international development. Looking for students to begin fall 2020.

Graduate Students Supervised

Name Research
Ph.D. 2019 Must (MacIver), Erin Women’s Cattle Ownership in Northwestern Botswana: “Anything you bring up with your own hands will multiply”
M.A. 2018 Fromknecht, Brynn e-Valuating the Internet: Assessing the perceived potential of virtual spaces and social media campaigns.
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. 2015 Horst, Naomi Ethical consumption? There's an app for that: The role of crow-sourced mobile technologies in everyday consumption practices.
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.
Ph.D. Giddings, Carla Experiences of "care" and "belonging" through the Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) program in Guelph-Wellington.
M.A. + IDS Hill-Tout, Kimberley Emerging trends and implications of development responsibilities in the Global North aimed at aiding projects in East Africa.
M.A. Hirvi, Julianne Understanding how youth conceptualizes themselves as globally engaged citizens.
M.A. Wlasichuk, Jayden