Scholarship, Editing & Speaking
A commitment to animals has been the driving force of my writing career. The origins of my passion are an inborn love of nature and a lifetime of travel that has exposed me to the complexities of the world. I became a geographer because it was the only discipline that spoke to me by making the connections between peoples, places, environments, and animals a central line of inquiry.
My goal with my work on human-animal relations is to produce writing that is easy to understand while inspiring a curiosity about animals themselves and human-animal relations overall that helps move us towards a humane future.
As a co-editor for an encyclopedia and a special journal issue, I have been fortunate to work with a multitude of people who share my interest in research and education for positive change. Additionally, I am an active peer reviewer for scholarly journals, publishers, and funders.
If you are interested in a writing project or collaborating on one, please feel free to contact me.
Society & Animals is at the forefront of the emerging multi-disciplinary field of Human-Animal Studies, which explores the ways in which nonhuman animals figure in human lives. The journal publishes studies concerning experiences of nonhuman animals from psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, and other social sciences and history, literary criticism, and other disciplines of the humanities.
Society & Animals is unique in its breadth and variety, methods of papers published and data-based discussion of ethics and policy regarding the human-animal relationship.
Placing Animals is the first book to survey the ways in which animals have been studied in geography. It includes both a historical overview of the development of animal geography and an assessment of the field today. Through the theme of the role of place in shaping where and why human-animal interactions occur, the chapters in turn explore the history of animal geography and our distinctive relationships in the home, on farms, in the context of labor, in the wider culture, and in the wild.
Winner: CHOICE outstanding academic title in geography 2013
Always an innovative and eclectic thinker, Urbanik takes us to the multiple places we inhabit with other animals, encouraging us to think more deeply about these relationships with the help of her imaginative and penetrating vision. - Jody Emel, Clark University
It is not often that a text is seminal, but this one is. Urbanik reviews the geographic research that deals with humans' relationships with animals and provides an effective framework to understand how geographic thought has developed on this topic. ...Though rather brief, the book is very readable and deals with rather complex conceptualizations. It is a library-worthy volume, for certain. Summing Up: Essential.
- Choice Library Journal
An engaging and at times sobering look at the coexistence of humans and animals in the 21st century and how their sometimes disparate needs affect environments, politics, economies, and culture worldwide.
There is an urgent need to understand human-animal interactions and relations as we become increasingly aware of our devastating impact on the natural resources needed for the survival of all animal species. This timely reference explores such topics as climate change and biodiversity, the impact of animal domestication and industrial farming on local and global ecosystems, and the impact of human consumption of wild species for food, entertainment, medicine, and social status. This volume also explores the role of pets in our lives, advocacy movements on behalf of animals, and the role of animals in art and media culture.
Alphabetical entries illustrate key relationships, concepts, practices, and animal species. The book concludes with a comprehensive appendix of select excerpts from key primary source documents relating to animals and a glossary.
The 'Primary Documents' section includes international laws, books, and documents on the legal and moral treatment of animals and provides a fascinating and comprehensive look into the work being done in the area of animal rights. The inclusion of background material on laws and ethics offers more depth, and readers will find the extensive bibliography an ideal jumping-off point for further research. —Library Journal
Our goals with this special issue were to (1) bring wildlife conservation into this journal more prominently, and (2) promote a more intentionally interdisciplinary dialogue about wildlife conservation.
We are pleased to share with you the following set of papers which represent perspectives from eight disciplines (advocacy groups, animal geography, ecology, environmental studies, ethics, legal studies, science and technology studies, and sociology. The geography of the case studies includes Canada, Finland, India, Romania, the United States, and Uruguay. The wildlife actors in these papers include owls, tigers, wolves, and eyra cats - among others.
Julie's editorial skills made it a pleasure to complete a complex scholarship project with many moving parts. Her collegiality, professionalism, patience, and focus were invaluable throughout. From content brainstorming to author communication and management, her attention to details and communication style also helped keep us on track and ensured we produced a publication that matched our vision.
- Monica Ogra, Gettysburg College
A Selection of Other Work
Urbanik, J. 2021. Applied geonarratives: Arts-based social geography in criminal defense mitigation. Social Sciences & Humanities Open 4(1): 1-10. Access full text here.
Urbanik, J. 2020. Reinforcing boundaries does not contribute to change. Animal Sentience 5
(30): 27. https://www.wellbeingintlstudiesrepository.org/animsent/vol5/iss30/27/
Urbanik, J. and P. DiCandeloro. 2020. Reconstructing Place through Creative Mapping: A Workshop and Gallery Exhibition in Partnership with the Kansas City Veterans Writing Team. Geohumanities Journal 6 (2): 441-468.
(see Projects page for PDF of reprint)
Urbanik, J. 2020. Animal Geographies. In Oxford Bibliographies in Geography, edited by B. Warf. New York: Oxford University Press.
Urbanik, J. 2018. Kansas City: The Morphology of an American Zoöpolis. Rutherford, S. and S. Wilcox (Eds). Historical Animal Geographies. London and New York: Taylor and Francis (pp. 75-87).
Urbanik, J. 2018. Geographies of Nonhuman Animal Communication and Language.Brunn, Stanley. (Ed.) The Changing World Language Map. Springer Publications.
Vitztum, C. and J. Urbanik. 2016. Assessing the dog: A theoretical analysis of the companion animal's actions in human-animal interaction. Society and Animals, v.24, n.2, pp. 172-185.
Urbanik, J. 2016. The Urbanik Preserve: Being On the Map. Coordinates digital magazine.
Urbanik, J. 2016. San Francisco Conference Visions. Coordinates digital magazine.
Urbanik, J. 2016. Outrage, Geography, and Cecil the Lion. Coordinates digital magazine.
Urbanik, J. and M. Morgan. 2013. A Tale of Tails: The Place of Dog Parks in the Urban Imaginary. Geoforum, 44, pp. 292-302.
Emel, J. and J. Urbanik. 2010. Animal geographies: exploring the spaces and places of animal encounters. In Teaching Human Animal Studies, edited by Margo DeMello. Boston: Lantern Press, pp. 202-217.
Urbanik, J. 2009. Hooters for Neuters: Sexist or Transgressive Animal Advocacy Campaign? Humanimalia, v.1, n.1, pp. 41-67.
Urbanik, J. 2007. Locating the transgenic landscape: animal biotechnology and politics of place in Massachusetts. Geoforum, v. 38, pp. 1205-1218.
Select Book Reviews
Urbanik, J. 2020. Review of J.L. Anderson’s Capitalist Pigs: Pigs, Pork and Power in America. The Journal of Historical Geography 70: 101-102.
Urbanik, J. 2020. Review of Andrew A. Robichaud’s Animal City: The Domestication of America. The Journal of Historical Geography 68: 93-94.
Urbanik, J. 2019. Review of Carol Kline (Ed) Animals, Food, and Tourism. The AAG Review of Books 7 (4): 246-248.
Urbanik, J. 2016. Review of Brian Massumi’s What Animals Teach Us About Politics. Emotions, Space, and Society 21:1-2.
Urbanik, J. 2016. Review of Kelsi Nagy and Phillip David Johnson II (Eds), Trash Animals: How We Live with Nature’s Filthy, Feral, Invasive, and Unwanted Species. The AAG Review of Books 4(1): pp. 36-38.
Urbanik, J. 2014. Review of Biehler, Dawn Day, Pests in the City: Flies, Bedbugs, Cockroaches, and Rats. H-HistGeog, H-Net Reviews. June 2014. URL:
Urbanik, J. 2014. Book review of Animal Cities: Beastly Urban Histories by Peter Atkins (Ed.). Social and Cultural Geography, v. 15, n.3, pp. 357-358.
Urbanik, J. 2012. Book review of Animals as Biotechnology by Richard Twine. Society and Animals Journal, v.20, pp. 109-114.
Urbanik, J. 2009. Book review of Igniting a Revolution: Voices in Defense of the Earth edited by Steven Best and Anthony J. Nocella, II. Human Geography, v. 2, n. 3, pp. 127-130.
Select Public (non-academic) Talks
2018 Animal Geography and the Borders of Human-Animal Relations. Institute of Geography, Autonomous
University of Mexico, Mexico City.
2018 Kansas City: An American Zoopolis. Institute of Geography, Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico
2017 More-than-human Sustainability. Univ. of Missouri Kansas City, Kansas City, MO.
2016 Animals and Sustainability. Univ. of Missouri Kansas City, Kansas City, MO.
2015 Kansas City: Metropolis or Zoopolis? All Souls Forum Auditorium, Kansas City, MO.
2015 Kansas City: Metropolis or Zoopolis? KC Public Library’s Truman Forum Auditorium, Kansas City, MO.
2014 Placing Animals: Understanding Animal Geography. Community of Reason, Kansas City, MO.
2012 Gnaw on this: The Environmental Impacts of Industrial Livestock. All Soul’s Forum, Kansas City, MO.
Select Public Interviews
2020 Humans and Animals: A Geography of Coexistence. VeganWorld Radio, March 2nd. Podcast
2019 How Dog Parks Took Over the Urban Landscape. Article by A. Greenberg. Smithsonianmag.com, January 7th 2020. Article
2018 Dog Parks and Dog Life in Kansas City. KCUR Central Standard Show. Podcast