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Josh Lepawsky

Department of Geography
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John's, NL
A1B 3X9

Office: SN-2008
Tel: (709) 864-3098
Fax: (709) 864-3119

E mail: jlepawsky[at]

I received my BA (1996) in geography at the University of British Columbia. Subsequently, I completed an MA (1999) in geography at Queen’s University, and a PhD (2005) in geography at the University of Kentucky.

I am fascinated by connections between geography and technology, a theme I pursued in both my postgraduate degrees. My research involves mapping the international trade and traffic of electronic waste. Recently, I began turning my attention to a related set of research interests on the prospects and challenges of 'fair' or 'ethical' trade in rubbish electronics and recycling. More about this work can be found at Reassembling Rubbish.

My PhD research investigated a multi-billion dollar mega-project in Malaysia called the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC). What makes this project interesting to me is that in addition to familiar aspirations for economic development, the state also plans for the project to achieve 'national development' and 'national identity' goals so that by 2020 the country will be internationally recognized as a 'developed nation'.

Following a year of fieldwork in Malaysia in 2003, I wrote about three major issues:

  • How and why 'information technology', 'national development', and 'national identity' are linked through the MSC.
  • How access to, and use of, information technologies are demographically differentiated within the MSC.
  • How people who live and work in the MSC perceive the present and future consequences of information technology-led development for themselves and the 'nation'.

Research Interests

  • Technology, society & space
  • Geographies of electronics production, consumption, and disposal
  • Geographies of cyberspace and the Information Age
  • Malaysia and Southeast Asia

Teaching Interests

  • Cultural geography
  • Economic geography
  • Political geography
  • Urban geography
  • Regional geography of Malaysia

Selected Publications

  • Lepawsky, Josh. 2014. The Changing Geography of Global Trade in Electronic Discards: time to rethink the e-waste problem. The Geographical Journal. DOI: 10.1111/geoj.12077 (Open Access: available here)
  • Lepawsky, Josh. 2012. Legal geographies of e-waste legislation in Canada and the US: Jurisdiction, responsibility and the taboo of production. Geoforum. (Open Access: available here)
  • Lepawsky, Josh and Billah, M. 2011. Making Chains that (Un)make Things: waste-value relations and the Bangladeshi rubbish electronics industry. Geografiska Annaler: Series B, Human Geography. 93 (2), p. 121-139 (Open Access: available here)
  • Lepawsky, Josh and Mather, C. 2011. From Beginnings and Endings to Boundaries and Edges: rethinking circulation and exchange through electronic waste. Area. 43 (3), p. 242-249 (Open Access: video abstract and paper available here)
  • Lepawsky, Josh, C. Phan, and R. Greenwood. 2010. Metropolis on the margin: Talent attraction and retention to the St. John’s city-region, Newfoundland. The Canadian Geographer. 54 (3), 324-346.
  • Lepawsky, Josh and C. McNabb. 2010. Mapping the international trade and traffic of electronic waste. The Canadian Geographer. 54 (2), 177-195 (Open Access: available here)
  • Smeltzer, Sandra and J. Lepawsky. 2010. Foregrounding technology over politics? Media framings of federal elections in Malaysia. Area. 42 (1), p. 86-95.
  • Lepawsky, J. 2009. Clustering as anti-politics machine? Situating the politics of regional economic development and Malaysia’s Multimedia Super Corridor. Regional Studies. 43 (3), p. 463–478.
  • Lepawsky, J. 2008. A Museum, the City, and a Nation. Cultural Geographies. 15 (1), p. 119-142.
  • Lepawsky, J. & Park, Kyong-Hwan. 2006. 'Cyberspace', in Subhasish Dasgupta (ed.) Encyclopedia of Virtual Communities and Technologies. Hershey: Idea Group Publishing, p. 110-115.
  • Park, Kyong-Hwan & Lepawsky, J. 2006. 'Understanding Virtual Communities in Online Games: Limits to Simulacrum', in Subhasish Dasgupta (ed.) Encyclopedia of Virtual Communities and Technologies. Hershey: Idea Group Publishing, p. 462-467 .
  • Lepawsky, J. 2005. Stories of space and subjectivity in planning the Multimedia Super Corridor. Geoforum. 36, p. 705-719.
  • Lepawsky, J. 2005. Digital Aspirations: Malaysia and the Multimedia Super Corridor. Focus. 48 (3), p. 10-18.