Graduate Students

  • Portrait (head shot photo)
  • Justin D. Mullikin
  • Email:
  • Research Interests: agrarian change; place-making and identity; citizen-state-environment interactions; critical development studies; feminist political ecology; de- and postcolonial theory; gis and remote sensing; Rwanda; critical pedagogy
  • Advisor: Heidi Hausermann and Kevon Rhiney
  • Degree: Ph.D.


My research focuses on agrarian change and development policy in Rwanda. My dissertation tries to make sense of how people navigate a rapidly changing agrarian landscape, the coherence of the state, and encounters with various discourses of "modernity." I explore themes such as agrarian nostalgia, the poetics of landscape, place-making, and the commodification/abstraction of communal, everyday ritual. I grew up on a tobacco farm in Kentucky, an experience I only learned to appreciate years later. Prior to beginning my PhD I worked in agricultural development in Rwanda for six years (2011-2016). I live in Philly, the best city on the east coast, with my partner (who is a fantastic nurse) and two dogs.

Previous Degrees:

  • M.A., International Development, University of Kentucky
  • B.A., Philosophy, Georgetown College


  • Sole InstructorIntroduction to Geographic Information Systems
  • Teaching Assistant: Space, Place, and Location; Intro to International and Global Studies; Transforming the Global Environment; Intro to Environmental Studies; Intro to GIS
  • Certificate in Teaching English as a Foreign Language, awarded with merit (2011)


  • Peer Reviewer, Human Geography (2020-present)
  • Geography Graduate Student Body President, Rutgers University (2017-2018)
  • Graduate student Executive Committee member, Rutgers University union chapter of AAUP-AFT (2017-2018)
  • AAUP-AFT Geography Department Student Representative (2017-2018)


  • Ansoms, A., I. Cottyn, A. B. Nyenyezi, J. Marter-Kenyon, J. Mullikin, and R.-C. Niyonkuru. Under review, Environment and Planning D. "The aesthetics of space and state-formation in post-genocide Rwanda."


  • Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship (2019-2020)
  • Graduate Excellence Fellowship, Rutgers University (2016, 2020)
  • Global School of Graduate Studies Fellowship, Rutgers University (2018)
  • Center for African Studies Graduate Enhancement Grant, Rutgers University (2018)
  • School of Graduate Studies Off Campus Dissertation Development Award, Rutgers University (2018)

2021 cohort names

2021 Cohort of Rutgers Geography Graduate Students