about me
Hi, welcome to my website! My name is Mohammed Rafi Arefin and I am a human geographer researching waste. I am currently working on my Ph.D at the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Geography Department. If you scroll down you will find my current research and writings, maps I have made, my cv and my contact information.
research and writing
My research interests sit at the intersection of urban geography, postcolonial theory, critical development studies, and psychoanalytic theory. In relation to waste, the production of sanitized space, hygienic subjects, and difference enforced through cleanliness/filth, my work seeks to understand the intimate relationship between waste management, culture, power and politics. While this relationship is often foreclosed in technomanagerial rhetoric, the current conjuncture offers multiple ruptures in idealized management regimes in which we can theorize the place of garbage in social theory and everyday life. I am exploring these interests in the work coming out of my Masters on Cairo, a collaborative project on hoarding, and in my research assistantship. My Master's thesis engages the people, practices, discourses, and objects enrolled in the managing of waste in Cairo after the January 25th revolution and during Morsi's year in office. In a joint project with Dr. Sarah Moore and Jessica De La Ossa, we use popular representations of hoarding to ask the question: why are certain consumption and accumulating practices pathologized and broadcast as spectacles while others are envied, celebrated and aspired to? By following the "fixing" (what we call a dual fix, both therapeutic and spatial) of compulsive hoarders we argue the differentiating factor between hoarders and "healthy" subjects must be understood in psycho-spatial terms. Lastly, as a research assistant for Dr. Sarah Moore, I am contributing to a project studying the spatial trends and effects of NAFTA on the hazardous waste trade between Mexico, the US, and Canada. Here are some of my writings:
The Hazardous Waste Trade: This scrolling long form website explores spesific dimensions of hazardous waste drawing from a large database on the hazardous waste trade between Canada, Mexico and the United States.
The Grad's Guide to Cairo: This slippy map displays popular points of interest for graduate students studying, working, and researching in Cairo.
[Re]imagining Terror[ism]: This map compares a series of databases kept on civilian deaths from collateral damage in Iraq to a database on civilian death's from suicide attacks in Iraq to delink the idea of terror and terrorism from solely non-state actors.
The Traveler's Cairo: This map uses data sourced from popular travel guides to depict the traveler's cartographic imagination of Cairo. In mapping out the traveler's cartographic imagination I point to the political, cultural, and economic implications of such an imagination.
Please click here for the most recent version of my cv.
Email: mrafiarefin [a.t.] gmail [d.o.t.] com
Twitter: @mrafiarefin
Mailing Address: Mohammed Rafi Arefin, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Department of Geography, 550 N. Park Street, Madison, WI 53706