Alumni News: Jonathan Burkham, PhD ’12

Jonathan Burkham, PhD ’12: I am pleased to say that I have made a fairly seamless transition to an Assistant Professorship at UW-Whitewater. Props to the professors, instructors, staff and grad students at UWM Geography for helping me realize my skills as an educator, researcher, and, I would like to think, critical thinker! I now have the pleasure of opening young minds to the world of development geography, migration studies, and Milwaukee’s urban geography, which is, surprisingly, unexplored territory for many.

In addition to my standard lecture classes I recently co-taught a class that included a two-week study component in Oaxaca, Mexico. Oh, Mexico, my love for you never tires. Speaking of Mexico and Milwaukee, I am continuing my transnational ethnography into the economic and social ties between Milwaukee and a small village in Jalisco, Mexico. This summer, I will be researching the so-called “skills gap” between employment opportunities and workers in local industry, with a particular interest in the role Milwaukee’s burgeoning Latino and Mexican migrant population play in the city’s highly-segmented labor market.

I also had the opportunity to travel to Ethiopia last year to visit my (now) wife’s family. Our trip included a five day hike in the Ethiopian highlands complete with overnight stays at local tukuls (thatched-roof, adobe huts) where we danced and drank tej (honey wine) into the night. I hope to open up a new line of research on the Ethiopian “developmental state” in the future. But, for now, my feet are firmly planted in Wisconsin.