Kuus, Merje Cluster Member

Current position(s), Institution
Associate Professor of Geography at the University of British Columbia
Fields of expertise
  • Political geography and geopolitics
  • Security and state sovereignty
  • Policy processes
  • Borders
  • Identity and nationalism
Projects relevant to the cluster
  • “How to Bound Open Spaces: Borders and Security in the European Neighbourhood Policy”. This three year project investigates the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), a European Union policy designed to project EU influence beyond its external borders. That policy is animated by a key political dynamic of our day—the pursuit of tight borders that close off space in an effort to secure it, simultaneously with attempts to forge open and inclusive spaces that facilitate cross-border flows of goods, people, and ideas.
Publications related to European/EU Studies
  • Kuus, M. ‘Europe’, in R. Kitchin and N. Thrift. (Editors-in-Chief) The International Encyclopedia of Human Geography. Elsevier, 2009 (in press).
  • Kuus, M. Geopolitics Reframed: Security and Identity in Europe’s Eastern Enlargement. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
  • Kuus, M. ‘All We Need is NATO? Frontiers of Security Cooperation in Europe’. In Klaus Dodds and Alan Ingram, eds. Spaces of In/Security: New Geographies of the War on Terror. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2009 (in press).
  • Kuus, M. ‘Švejkian Geopolitics: Subversive Obedience in Central Europe’. Geopolitics. vol. 13, no. 2, 2008, pp. 257- 277.
  • Kuus, M. ‘The Ritual of Listening to Foreigners: Appropriating Geopolitics in Central Europe’, in N. Parker (ed.) The Geopolitics of Europe's Identity: Centers, Boundaries, and Margins. New York: Palgrave, 2008, pp. 177-194.
  • Kuus, M. ‘‘Love, Peace and Nato’: Imperial Subject-Making in Central Europe’. Antipode, vol. 39, no. 2, 2007, pp. 269-290.
  • Kuus, M. ‘Intellectuals and Geopolitics: The ‘Cultural Politicians’ of Central
  • Kuus, M. ‘Multiple Europes: Boundaries and Margins in European Union Enlargement’. Editorial introduction to a discussion forum on EU enlargement Geopolitics, vol. 10, no. 3, 2005, pp. 567-570. Contributors to the forum: John Agnew, Michael Heffernan, Alexander Murphy, Anssi Paasi..
University of British Columbia, Department of Geography, 1984 West Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6T 1Z2
Office Phone Number
(604) 822-3443
Other important publications
  • Dr. Kuus serves as a review editor (together with Marcus Power) for the journal ‘Geopolitics’. She also co-edits a book series, titled ‘Critical Geopolitics’ for Ashgate.
  • Kuus, M. “Critical Geopolitics”. Essay for the Compendium of International Studies. (In press, expected in print by the end of 2009).
  • Kuus, M. ‘Political Geography and Geopolitics’. (Contribution to a special series of articles on the direction of Canadian geography.) The Canadian Geographer (TCG) / Le Géographe Canadien (LGC) 53 (1) 2009: 86-90..
Education and professional achievements
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Geography, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, USA. 1999.
  • Master of Science, Geography, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA, USA. 1994.
  • Diploma (equivalent of B.A.), Geography, University of Tartu, Tartu, Estonia. 1992..
  • Courses taught
    • GEOG 391 - Geography of Europe (undergraduate lecture)
    • GEOG 453 - Political Geographic (undergraduate seminar)
    • GEOG 493 - Contemporary Europe: Identity and Geopolitics (advanced undergraduate lecture)
    • EOG 533 - Political Geography: Territoriality, Identity, Agency (graduate seminar).
    Fluent spoken languages
    Fluent written languages

    Merje Kuus' research focuses on political geography and geopolitics--particularly on policy-making processes in complex bureaucratic structures. In broad terms, it investigates how political practices are underpinned by spatially defined categories like center and margin, inside and outside, Self and Other. These categories are central to the processes by which complex political issues come to be defined and managed in a particular manner. Within that problematic, Dr. Kuus' interests converge on the question of how specifically spatial categories function in daily politics at various sites-for example, within foreign policy bureaucracies. By virtue of her ‘regional' expertise, Dr. Kuus is also keenly interested in the ways in which places and regions are ‘written onto' our mental maps on a daily basis.

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