Edward Soja, American geographer, died at 75

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Edward William Soja was born in 1940, and died on November 2, 2015.

He was a self-described “urbanist,” a noted postmodern political geographer and urban planner on the faculty at UCLA, where he is Distinguished Professor of Urban Planning, and the London School of Economics.

He has a Ph.D. from Syracuse University.

His early research focused on planning in Kenya.

In addition to his readings of American feminist cultural theorist bell hooks (b. 1952), and French intellectual Michel Foucault (1926–1984), Soja’s greatest contribution to spatial theory and the field of cultural geography is his use of the work of French Marxist urban sociologist Henri Lefebvre (1901–1991), author of The Production of Space (1974).

Soja has updated the Lefebvre’s concept of the spatial triad with his own concept of spatial trialectics which includes thirdspace, or spaces that are both real and imagined.

Soja focuses his critical postmodern analysis of space and society, or what he calls spatiality, on the people and places of Los Angeles.

In 2010 the University of Minnesota Press released his recent work on spatial justice, which was followed in 2014 with his newest book “My Los Angeles” published by the University of California Press.

Soja has collaborated on research and writing with, most notably, Professor Allen J. Scott (UCLA), Michael Storper (UCLA, LSE), Fredric Jameson (Duke University), David Harvey (Johns Hopkins, CUNY), and various faculty in the departments of Urban Planning, Architecture, Policy Studies, and Geography at UCLA.

Professor Edward Soja has served as the doctoral academic advisor to, most recently, Professor Mustafa Dikec (École d’Urbanisme de Paris), Dr. Walter J. Nicholls (University of Amsterdam), Dr. Mark Purcell (University of Washington), and Dr. Stefano Bloch (Brown University).

Edward passed away at age 75 in November 2015.

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