Dr. Matthew Hatvany, a historical geographer from the Université Laval in Quebec City, is currently passing his sabbatical year in the HGIS Lab as a visiting professor. His teaching and research focuses on the historical geography of nature-culture relations in environment studies. A broad topic, he is particularly interested in the examination of tidal wetlands as a medium for exploring the entwinement of nature and culture over the longue durée. His latest publication with two other colleagues, “Interpreting Salt Marsh Dynamics: Challenging Scientific Paradigms,” appeared in the Annals of the American Association of Geographers in September 2015.
Matt’s previous sabbaticals were spent in France and New Zealand to better understand the role and valuation of wetlands in Medieval French and traditional Maori societies and how wetlands have come to be recognized for their vital ecological role in contemporary landscapes.
Matt’s gaze was pulled away from the contemplation of such colourful landscapes when he happened upon a description of the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of Western Canada. Once he started reading on the region, he knew that he had to experience these fascinating wetlands and the HGIS Lab was the obvious place to put down roots. For a “parochial” Eastern geographer who knew far too little about the West, Matt notes with amusement, discussions with the HGIS Lab team have been simply eye opening in regards to the complex history of nature-culture relations in Western Canada and the U.S. Not to mention, he adds, how one goes about mapping them!
When he’s not in his office at end of the hallway, Matt spends his evenings working out with the Huskies wrestling team and tramping around potholes on the weekends. Graduate students are welcome anytime to come see him if they’d like to discuss historical geography, wetlands or what’s happening in contemporary Quebec.