Professor Pickles is an economic geographer trained in political economy and development studies, cultural and social theory, and continental philosophy. His research currently focuses on global production networks, European economic and social spaces particularly post-socialist transformations in Central Europe and Euro-Med Neighborhood Policies in Southern Europe. He also works on the cultural economies of maps and mapping, counter-mapping, and the use of maps in social movements.
He holds BA and MA degrees from Oxford University and Ph.D. degrees form the University of Natal and the Pennsylvania State University. He joined the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2001 as the Earl N Phillips Distinguished Professor of International Studies and served as the Chair of the Department of Geography between 2007-2013 . He is a Fellow of the Institute for Arts and Humanities and of the Center for Urban and Regions Studies. He has served on the Advisory Boards for the Center for European Studies, the Carolina Asia Center, the Center for Muslim and Middle Eastern Civilizations, the Office of Study Abroad, and the University Program in Cultural Studies. He directs the University Supply Chain Program and served as an appointed member of the Chancellor’s Labor and Licensing Advisory Committee until July 2012.
His research and teaching focus primarily on issues of geographical and social change, particularly in regions that are undergoing major ruptures in socio-economic life and under conditions of economic — and often physical — violence. These concerns have their roots in questions of geographical uneven development, whether in post-war Britain, colonial and post-colonial Africa, the unraveling of state socialism in Central Europe, the building of the new Europe, the operation and effects of global apparel production networks, or the struggles over new forms of border management in Europe. Each is heavily inflected through his reading of critical theory, hermeneutic phenomenology, cultural studies, and post-structural social theory. [See Encyclopedia of Geography entry]
He has recently completed books on globalization and regionalization, state and society in post-socialist Europe, and a history of spaces. In 2014 he co-edited a book with the ILO Better Work Programme on Towards Decent Work, in 2015 he published an edited collection on European and Latin American autonomous political thought — The Anomie of the Earth — with Federico Luisetti and Wil Kaiser for Duke University Press, and in 2015/2016 the RGS-IBG book series published his book Articulations of Capital, co-authored with Adrian Smith, Robert Begg, Milan Bucek, Poli Roukova, and Rudolf Pastor.
In 2013-2014, Professor Pickles was the Distinguished Visiting Fellow for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Queen Mary University of London, and Nadácia VÚB Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Department of Public Administration and Regional Development in the Faculty of National Economy at the Economics University of Bratislava, Slovakia.
See his video lectures (click the links)…
“New Cartographies and the Urban Humanities.” UCLA Urban Humanities, January 23, 2015. A two-day symposium called “Design Knowledge: Making Urban Humanities” was convened at UCLA on 14th and 15th November 2014. The symposium was aimed to unpack new scholarly working models of the nascent intellectual concept “Urban Humanities” that bridge the disciplines of design, urban studies, and the humanities.
“Migration and the re-bordering of Europe.” University of California: Berkeley, Department of Geography Department Weekly Colloquium: 16 March 2016.
“Duke Global Summit: Interview on Global Value Chains.”Wednesday, October 29, 2014 to Friday, October 31, 2014.