Photo of Dr. Matthew Kurtz

Dr. Matthew Kurtz

Adjunct Research Professor

Degrees:BA (SUNY Buffalo) MSc (Wisconsin Madison) PhD (Kentucky)

Academic Research and Student

Professional Consulting:


Dr Matthew Kurtz is a socio-economic research consultant. He obtained a bachelor’s in mathematics (summa cum laude) in 1986, a master’s in geography in 1990, then started teaching in the History and Geography Department at University of Alaska Anchorage. His doctoral studies in geography took him to Lexington, Kentucky. He returned to Anchorage with two competitive grants from the National Science Foundation to conduct his research on the birth of Alaska’s economic development institutions. The study included fieldwork on the northwest arctic coast, the subject of Alaska’s earliest regional development studies. He completed his PhD in 2005 and took a research fellowship at Open University in Great Britain, where he had the privilege to work in one of geography’s leading research departments.

In 2008, Dr Kurtz returned to this part of the world. In Ottawa, he serves as an academic author and consultant on matters of economic geography, institutional analysis, and research methodology. His training and experience with sophisticated qualitative methodologies and his facility with statistical techniques make an excellent combination in economic geography, a field whose strength resides in its power to discern complex and critical connections between (macro) economic restructuring and the everyday (micro) experience of life in a community. He has taught economic geography at three universities and maintains a strong interest in indigenous communities and the Arctic.

Research Interests

His research revolves around the geographies of economic knowledge production. Thus, it explores the junction of three fields of inquiry: 1) economic geography 2) historical geography and 3) research methodology. While he uses related historiographic techniques in other areas of human geography, the core of his work traces the quotidian practices through which economic information has been produced, analyzed, disseminated, and interpreted, in order to contribute to a better understanding of the limitations of different knowledge streams.

He has completed substantial research projects on:

  • the emergence of Alaska’s Native corporations and economic development institutions;
  • constructions of history, regional identity, and economic value in heritage tourism;
  • the history and historiographies of Anglo-American geography.

His current research examines various topics in three different areas:

  • the emergent texts and techniques of macro-economic analysis in the early 20th century;
  • cultural economies of expertise, credibility, and persuasion in recent financial regulation debates;
  • immigrant employment and human capital assessment practices in local labour markets.

Select Publications


Arctic Approach: Journeys through a Changing World, Volume Two (co-authored with Joe Smith and Mark Brandon). Open University Press, 2010.

 Book Chapters

“Heritage and Tourism” in Understanding the Practice of Heritage, edited by Susie West. Manchester University Press, 2010

“Arctic” (lead author with Annette Watson) in the International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, edited by Rob Kitchin and Nigel Thrift. Elsevier, 2009.

“Archives” in International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, eds Kitchin and Thrift. Elsevier, 2009.

 Refereed Journals

“Ruptures and Recuperations of a Language of Racism in Alaska’s Rural / Urban Divide,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 96/3 (2006): 601-621.

“Remembering the Town Body: Methodology and the Work of Local History,” Journal of Historical  Geography 28/1 (2002): 42-62.

“Situating Practices: The Archive and the File Cabinet” Historical Geography, 29 (2001): 26-37.

Web Publications

Sunspots and Blind Spots in Economic Forecasting,” Atlas of Interdependence, 2011

Economy and Ecology,” Interdependence Day, 2006