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Nerve Macaspac
Position: Assistant Professor
Campus Affiliation: College of Staten Island
Degrees/Diplomas: PhD in Geography, UCLA
Research Interests: peace and conflict, peacebuilding, social movements, human rights, spatial ethnography, urban humanities, digital geographies, critical GIS
I am a political geographer and cartographer with a regional focus in Southeast Asia. My current interdisciplinary and ethnographic research focuses on spatialities of peace. I study the phenomenon of community-led demilitarized geographic areas, popularly known as peace zones. I use the term "insurgent peace" to refer to the quotidian work of civilian communities in producing and maintaining the peace zones as processes of carving alternative political spaces and enacting a peaceful present and future in the context of active violence and war. Supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), Social Science Research Council (SSRC), International Peace Research Association (IPRA), and the American Association of Geographers (AAG), my research contributes to our understanding of the spatiality and temporality of peace, local peacebuilding, autonomy, wartime agency, and peace as a politics of refusal. Further, my research contributes to our understanding of peace as a set of dynamic social processes rooted upon a refusal and disruption of the spatial logics of violence imposed by competing structures of power upon civilian communities. At stake is a re-thinking of peace beyond the dominant definition of absence of violence. Currently, I am a Co-Investigator of “Creating Safer Spaces: Strengthening Civilian Protection Amidst Violent Conflict,” a 4-year international and interdisciplinary research project funded by the UKRI’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). This research aims to strengthen the field of unarmed civilian protection (UCP) and community self-protection research to create safer space for more communities amidst violent conflict. At CSI, I teach Urban Geography, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and Introduction to Geography. I also run GeospatialCSI, a curricular initiative that aims to build a space and community among students to produce creative, collaborative and public-facing Urban Geography-centered inquiry and research. I am also a Faculty Fellow at the Center for Place, Culture and Politics at The Graduate Center. I received my PhD in Geography (2018) at UCLA,a Graduate Certificate in Urban Humanities from UCLA’s School of Architecture and Urban Design, and a Masters in Asian Studies from UC Berkeley.

Recent publications:

Andreopoulos, G., N. Macaspac, E. Galkin, (2020). “Whole-of-Nation” Approach to Counterinsurgency and the Closing of Civic Space in the Philippines.” [] Global Dynamics  Vol. 13, Issue 54

Macaspac, Nerve, ​George Andreopoulos, Efim Galkin, et al. (2020). The Closing of Civic Space in the Philippines. New York: Center for International Human Rights, John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Macaspac, Nerve V. (2019) “Suspicion and Ethnographic Peace Research,” Engaging Ethnographic Peace Research, ed. Gearoid P. Millar. Oxford: Routledge.

Macaspac, Nerve V. (2018) “Insurgent Peace: Community-led peacebuilding among indigenous peoples in Sagada, Philippines.” Geopolitics.

Macaspac, Nerve V. (2017) “Suspicion and Ethnographic Peace Research.” International Peacekeeping.