Focus on Cultural Geography: Introducing Dr. Meghan Muldoon
|08 November 2023
Dr. Meghan Muldoon is an Assistant Professor in the MSc Cultural Geography at Campus Fryslân. In this blog post, we get to know her better and hear her take on what Cultural Geography is and how it connects to tourism.
What is your academic background/expertise?
I obtained my PhD from the University of Waterloo in Canada. My educational background includes applied health and sciences, rural planning and development, and international development, all from the University of Guelph.
What specific subject(s) do you teach and what are they about?
In the MSc programme, I teach the courses Tourism, Culture, and Sustainability (TCS) and Sustainable Tourism and Regional Development (ST&RD). TCS is concerned with socio-cultural issues related to tourism. For instance, we look into how tourism changes destinations, and how people interact with one another through tourism. ST&RD is more ‘boots on the ground’, thus steering towards policy & planning with a regional focus on this region, but also looking at international and cross-border issues.
What inspired your involvement in the field of Cultural Geography?
I started my academic journey in international development, but I didn't see it creating the change I wanted. It was only then that I began to notice how tourism was being used by people to rebuild their lives, change their stories, and redefine their identities. This connection led me to Cultural Geography.
Cultural geography focuses on people, places, and their interactions. It explores how people and places influence each other and how we attribute meaning to a location. Tourism plays a central role in this field. Cultural geography delves into our participation in tourism, how we host visitors, and how we want to be perceived by those who come to experience our places. It encompasses all the meanings we associate with specific locations and raises critical questions. How can we sustainably celebrate our spaces and cultures? Sustainability might be a bit of a buzzword, but it lies at the heart of what we are trying to achieve.
In your opinion, what sets our programme apart and makes it particularly appealing to students?
One thing that stands out to me is how fresh the programme is. It's young and unburdened by years of doing the same thing. As a faculty, we are small enough to remain flexible and responsive to the changing times. Here at Campus Fryslan, through Cultural Geography we address global issues young people care about. If you want to get involved, this is the place to be.