Justin Armstrong
Curriculum Vitae

(781) 283-3771
Writing Program
B.A., Wilfred Laurier University (Waterloo, ON); M.A., Ph.D., McMaster University (Hamilton, ON)

Justin Armstrong

Lecturer in Writing and Anthropology

Research focuses on ethnographic methods, globalization, depopulation of the North American High Plains, writing, islands and ghost towns.

My research is situated primarily in cultural geography and human ecology, ethnographic perspectives on globalization and neoliberalism, and the anthropology of space and place. My doctoral research examined the unique cultural geography of near-abandoned and isolated farming communities (i.e., almost “ghost towns”) throughout the North American High Plains (North Dakota, Saskatchewan, and Wyoming) and the Atlantic coast (Maine and Newfoundland). Specifically, I examined how a sense of place, or the idea of home is (or is not) maintained in these spaces through local histories, particularly in light of increased globalization and rural-urban migration.

I am dedicated to the continual re-imagination of academic writing and research, constantly encouraging students to experiment and look for new ways to convey their ideas. To this end, I believe that effective teaching is not only about helping students to navigate a syllabus over a semester; it involves instilling in them a desire to extend their learning beyond the classroom. For this process to be beneficial, it is important to create a setting that encourages in students an eagerness to learn and provides the necessary pedagogical space for students to approach the material on their own terms and arrive at their own conclusions. Here, my role is that of a guide rather than a director, thereby fostering a learning environment that allows students to adapt their engagement with the material in a manner that suits their individual learning style. I believe that this approach makes students enjoy learning and leaves them with a sense of direct connection to the subject matter.

My other professional interests include: the promotion of experimental writing in academia, experiential learning practices, cross-disciplinary collaborations, and curriculum development.

My personal interests include: screen-printing, music-making, photography, homebrewing, travel, cooking, and writing.