M. Troy Burnett, PhD

M. Troy Burnett, PhD

Position: Associate Professor

Office: B248 O

Office Hours: TBA

Phone: 403.440.6688

Fax: 403.440.6333

E-mail: mburnett@mtroyal.ca



After earning a doctorate in geography from UCLA (University of California Los Angeles) in 2005, I moved to the Canadian Rockies and have never looked back. Currently, I am an associate professor of Geography in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Mount Royal University. Though I studied economics and environmental studies as an undergraduate at UCSB (University of California Santa Barbara), I migrated to geography after discovering a profound curiosity for the world’s people and places. This discovery occurred primarily during a two-year stint as a peace corps volunteer in the Slovak Republic (1994-1996).

My teaching and scholarship run the gamut of geography. Indeed, never satisfied with limiting my pedagogic scope I have taught many of the courses found within our geography discipline—from urban geography to biogeography to geopolitics to European regional geography to my all-time favourite the science and geography of SCUBA—a course that actually involved hooking students up to regulators and dunking them in a pool.

In terms of research, I have published numerous articles and essays on topics such as China’s One Child Policy; the Conflict in Kashmir; Post-socialist transformation in East Central Europe; and Canadian Sovereignty in the Northwest Passage. In 2016 I wrote and edited a two-volume book on natural resource conflicts. The award-winning book examines the role the environment and natural resources play in both causing conflict in certain situations as well as cultivating cooperation in others. More recently, I dusted off my former research as a graduate student to write a book on nationalism—the thesis of which explores the evolution of national identity and its expression, nationalism, in the context of a globalizing society.

In the summer, I teach a wilderness field school in Banff National Park; the objective of which is to study wildlife corridors and issues of biogeographical connectivity in one of our planet’s most visited world heritage sites and conservation areas. As former students like to observe: ""It is a semi-glamorous field school that involves both magnificent jaunts across glaciated ridges and inelegant forays through mosquito-infested riparian woody shrubs in search of bear scat, cougar kill sites, and elk bones."

Presently, I live with my photographer-extraordinaire wife (Shirleen), two children (Beren and Isis), two dogs, and two cats in what can best be described as a rustic hay-bale cottage on the outskirts of Banff National Park—a home that friends affectionately compare to a hobbit hole. When I’m not busy collecting wood to keep my family from freezing to death in the long Canadian winter, I can be found skiing or venturing deep into the back-country on my mountain bike—where Bear sightings are never far away.

To understand my general view of life one only has to glance at Walt Whitman’s ‘Song of the Open Road.’ Like Whitman, I can’t help but believe that real knowledge—wisdom even— is found not in a library or classroom, but on the open road. "


PhD Geography, UCLA
MA Geography, UCLA
BA Economics, UCSB
BA Environmental Studies, UCSB