Nathaniel Ray Pickett
PhD candidate, Department of Geography and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Kansas

biographical information

I am originally from Southern California, though I have spent considerable time living in the Kansas City area, the Minneapolis-St Paul area, Utah, and in various cities in Ukraine. I recieved my bachelor's degree in history from Brigham Young University in 2009, after which I spent a year as a psychiatric technician at Utah State Hospital. I recieved my M.A. degree in Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies from the University of Kansas in 2012, with a focus on Ukrainian Studies. After my master's program I moved into the geography PhD program at KU, where I am completing a dissertation involving the application of Science and Technology Studies in a political geography study of the political and social effects of the 1986 Chornobyl nuclear disaster on Ukraine. In 2015-16 I was in Ukraine on a research Fulbright to gather data. I received a graduate certificate in GIS in 2019.

My academic interests generally fall within political geography, including popular geopolitics, border issues, labor organizations, and anti-capitalist systems. I am also interested in STS, using new media in research, critical GIS, urban networks and planning, and geographies of violence.

contact information

courses taught

  • Physical Geography Lab (GEOG 104) hybrid, spring 2020
  • Introduction to Cultural Geography (GEOG 370), fall 2019
  • People, Place, Society (GEOG 102), 11 semesters between fall 2012 and summer 2019
  • People, Place, Society (GEOG 102) online, fall 2013 and summer 2016
  • Physical Geography Lab (GEOG 104), spring and summer 2013
  • Beginning Russian (RUSS 102, 104), fall 2011 and spring 2012

grants and fellowships

  • University Graduate Fellowship, 2018-2019
  • TRESTLE course transformation grant, 2018
  • Fulbright for research in Ukraine, 2015-2016
  • Kollmorgen Fellowship, 2012-13
  • CREES-FMSO Research Assistantship, spring 2011


Peer-reviewed publications:

Minor publications:

awards and honors

  • Doctoral Student Fund research award, 2018
  • Graduate Scholarly Presentation award, 2018
  • Hall Center Summer Writing Fellowship, 2017
  • Palij Book Award for Ukrainian Studies, 2011

conference and other presentations

Academic conferences:

  • Fulbright orientation, 2019: "Regional Expert Sessions: Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine" and "Social Science Research Methods"
  • ASEEES roundtable, 2018: organized session, "Doing research in post-soviet spaces: reports on recent fieldwork"
  • AAG, New Orleans, 2018: "Crises of confidence: Biopolitical effects of the Chornobyl disaster on Ukraine"
  • PGSG, University of New Orleans, 2018: "Opening spaces of dissent: The politics of information control in the aftermath of the Chornobyl disaster on Ukraine"
  • organized Platforma, a Ukrainian studies graduate student conference, 2017
  • AAG, Boston, 2017: co-organized session, "Post-soviet biopolitics"
  • PGSG, Harvard, 2017: "To save a city: Urban-scale geopolitics in Slavutych, Ukraine"
  • Chornobyl 30th anniversary lecture series hosted by Fulbright Ukraine, 2016: "Legacies and myths: Western perceptions of the Chornobyl disaster"
  • Aтомна революція: екологія політики, дифузія настроїв, санація свідомості (до 30-річчя аварії на чорнобильській аес) 2016: roundtable discussion
  • 1st International Conference on Nuclear Decomissioning and Environment Recovery 2016
  • Kрах радянської імперії: анатомія катасрофи, 2016: "The Chornobyl disaster and the end of the Soviet Union"
  • Ukrainian Ministry of Education workshop 2016: Publishing in western academic journals
  • National Academy of Educational Sciences (Ukraine), 2015: "PhD studies at American universities for graduate students"
  • AAG, Chicago, 2015: mediated phenomenology, "Stalker (1979), stalker, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., and stalkers"
  • PGSG, Depaul, 2015: "STS and political geography: Theory and applications"
  • AAG, Tampa, 2014: "Social fallout"
  • PGSG, UCLA, 2013: "Revenge of geography?"
  • AAG, Los Angeles, 2013: panel, "Territorial cleansing topics," "Bangladesh 1971"
  • AAG, New York, 2012: "Territorial cleansing: A geographical understanding of mass violence"

Lectures, posters, and colloquia

  • Celebration of Teaching, 2019: "Incorporating interaction and collaboration into Geography 102: People, Place, and Society"
  • Geography colloquium, 2019: "Social monitoring: The Department of Social Expertise and the evolution of biopolitics in post-Chornobyl Ukraine"
  • Hall Center workshop, 2018: "Doing research in post-soviet spaces"
  • CREES brownbag, 2017: "Doing social science research in post-Soviet spaces"
  • CREES brownbag, 2017: "To save a city: Urban-scale geopolitics in Slavutych, Ukraine"
  • Geography brownbag, 2016: "Reflections on my fulbright in Ukraine"
  • Geography colloquium, 2015: "Radioactive research: Fieldwork on a Fulbright"
  • Geography colloquium, 2013: "Kaplan's Revenge of Geography"
  • Architecture symposium, 2013: "Global poverty: Alternative approaches"
  • CREES brownbag, 2012: "Homeland vs. our land: Crimean Tatar identity"

Guest lectures:

  • "Borders and borderlands in Eastern Europe: A political geography perspective"
  • "Comic books and popular geopolitics"
  • "Chornobyl, science, and international politics"

extracurricular activity

Other work experience:

  • Data specialist, AFT-KS, 2019-2020
  • Student athlete tutor, KU, 2013
  • Book review editor, The Russian Review, 2012
  • Graduate research assistant, FMSO, 2011

Professional service and volunteer activity:

  • Negotiation committee and chief steward, GTAC (AFT Local 6403), 2018-2019
  • Organizer, Platforma: a Ukrainian Studies graduate student conference, April 22, 2017
  • Co-organizer, lecture series on the 30th anniversary of the Chornobyl disaster hosted by Fulbright Ukraine, 2016
  • Student representative, political geography subgroup, 2013-14
  • REES GSO president, 2011-12 (vice president, 2012-2014)