Contact Information

ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3353-9067  

Office: H-431

Phone: (657) 278-3161

E-Mail: dydia@fullerton.edu

Dydia DeLyser

Associate Professor


BA in Geography, UCLA 1992
MA in Geography with distinction, Syracuse University 1996
PhD in Geography with distinction, Syracuse University 1998

Research interests

I am a feminist, qualitative, cultural-historical geographer with research interests that span issues of landscape, social memory, tourism, mobilities, practice and performance, materialities, cultures of enthusiasm, qualitative research, collaborative and participatory research, including participatory historical geography, writing, and the scholarship of teaching.

I am committed to rich empirical research and have engaged topics both archival and ethnographic, practicing a wide array of qualitative methods (including participant observation, auto-ethnography, interviewing, life history, and archival research) in efforts apprehend a wide range of topics, including:

  • how neon signs engage both art and craft in an active practice that forms representational messages out of gas, glass, and electricity—I am at work on a book about how neon signs transformed the American landscape and have helped shape American communities
  • how women pilots in the late 1920s and early 1930s used their practices of flying to advance feminism in the post-suffrage era
  • how historical geographers can contribute to and advance the agendas of historical communities through participatory historical geography
  • how seemingly mundane kitsch souvenirs shape intimate geographies of social memory, my own included
  • how the nineteenth-century novel Ramona structured the ways that tourists and locals would understand and experience southern California’s past through both fictional and factual landscapes, and how the practices of tourists transformed those landscapes
  • how monuments contribute to an embodied spatial framework for the creation of social memory
  • how ghost towns in the US West are and have been understood by residents and visitors through their landscapes of absence and abandonment

Courses Taught

Undergraduate Courses
GEOG 100: Global Geography
GEOG 300A: Geographic Methods
GEOG 300B: Geographic Thought
GEOG 357: Cultural Geography
HUM 100: Ideas and Experiences in Humanities and the Social Sciences

Graduate Courses
GEOG 500: Research Design
GEOG 530T: Qualitative Research


DeLyser, Dydia. 2022. “Writing’s intimate spatialities: Drawing ourselves to our writing in self-caring practices of love,” Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space 54(2): 405-412, doi: 10.1177/0308518X211068496

DeLyser, Dydia and Paul Greenstein. 2021. Neon: A Light History. San Francisco: Giant Orange Press. www.historyofneon.org

Dydia DeLyser and Eric Pawson. 2021. “Small stories, big impact: communicating qualitative research to wider audiences,” in Iain Hay and Meghan Cope, Eds., Qualitative Methods in Human Geography fifth edition (London: Oxford University Press pp. 398-412.

DeLyser, Dydia. 2018. “Re-lighting the Castle Argyle: Making, restoration, and the biography of an immobile thing” in Harriet Hawkins and Laura Price, eds. Geographies of Making, Craft and Creativity London: Routledge, pp. 213-230.

DeLyser, Dydia. 2018. “Environments of the imagination” in Geoffrey Buckley and Yolanda Youngs, eds. The American Environment—Revisited New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 323-334

DeLyser, Dydia and Paul Greenstein. 2018. “Introduction,” in Al Barna and Randall Ann Homan, Neon Best Practices: A Community Guide. San Francisco: Great Orange Press, pp. 8-13.

DeLyser, Dydia and Paul Greenstein. 2017. “The Devotions of Restoration: Enthusiasm, Materiality, and Making Three ‘Indian Motocycles’ Like New” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, open-access publication supported by CSUF Library, DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/24694452.2017.1310020, 107(6): 1461-1478.

DeLyser, Dydia. 2016. “Careful work: building public cultural geographies” Social and Cultural Geography 17(6): 808-812 (as part of a special section with twelve invited contributions entitled “Provocations of the present: What culture for what geography?” edited by Nadia Bartolini, Parvati Raghuram, and George Revill).

Eric Pawson and Dydia DeLyser. 2016. “From personal to public: communicating qualitative research to wider audiences,” in Iain Hay, Ed., Qualitative Methods in Human Geography fourth edition (London: Oxford University Press pp. 422-433.

Hawkins, Harriet, Lou Cabeen, Felicity Callard, Noel Castree, Stephen Daniels, Dydia DeLyser, Hugh Munro-Neely, and Peta Mitchel. 2015. “What might GeoHumanities Do? Possibilities, Practices, Publics, and Politics” GeoHumanities DOI: 10.1080/2373566X.2015.1108992; 1(2): 211-232.

DeLyser, Dydia. 2015. “Collecting, Kitsch, and the Intimate Geographies of Social Memory: A Story of Archival Autoethnography” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 40(2): 220-222; published online November 2014; DOI: 10.1111/tran.12070.

DeLyser, Dydia, and Paul Greenstein. 2015. “Signs of Significance: Los Angeles and America’s Lit-Sign Landscapes,” in Sandy Isenstadt, Margaret Maile Petty, and Dietrich Neumann Cities of Light: Two Centuries of Urban Illumination (London: Routledge) pp. 101-108.

DeLyser, Dydia, and Paul Greenstein. 2014. “ ‘Follow that Car!’ Mobilities of Enthusiasm in a Rare Car’s Restoration” The Professional Geographer published online July 2014; DOI: 10.1080/00330124.2014.922019.

DeLyser, Dydia. 2014. “Towards a Participatory Historical Geography: Archival Interventions, Volunteer Service, and Public Outreach in Research on Early Women Aviators” Journal of Historical Geography 46: 93-98. With Editorial Introduction by Felix Driver, and invited commentaries by Laura Cameron, Hillary Geoghegan, and Caroline Bressey.

DeLyser, Dydia. 2014. “Tracing Absence: Enduring Methods, Empirical Research, and a Quest for the First Neon Sign in America,” Area 46(1): 40-49.

DeLyser, Dydia, Steve Herbert, Stuart Aitken, Mike Crang, and Linda McDowell, Eds. 2010. SAGE Handbook of Qualitative Geography (London: Sage Publications).

DeLyser, Dydia, 2010. “Writing qualitative geography,” in DeLyser et al., Handbook of Qualitative Geography, London: Sage, pp. 341-358

DeLyser, Dydia. 2010. “Feminisms and mobilities: Crusading for aviation in the 1920s,” in Tim Cresswell and Peter Meriman, Eds., Mobilities: Practices, Spaces, Subjects London: Ashgate, pp. 83-98

DeLyser, Dydia. 2008. “ ‘Thus I Salute the Kentucky Daisey’s Claim,’ Gender, Social Memory, and the Mythic West at a Proposed Oklahoma Monument,” cultural geographies 15(1): 63-94.

DeLyser, Dydia. 2008. “Teaching Qualitative Geography,” Journal of Geography in Higher Education 32(2): 233-244.

DeLyser, Dydia. 2005. Ramona Memories: Tourism and the Shaping of Southern California (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press).

DeLyser, Dydia, Andrew Curtis, and Rebecca Sheehan. 2004. “Using E-Bay for Research in Historical Geography,” Journal of Historical Geography 30: 764-782.

DeLyser, Dydia. 2004. “Recovering Social Memories of the Past: The 1884 Novel Ramona and Tourist Practices,” Social and Cultural Geography 5(3): 483-496.

DeLyser, Dydia. 2003. “Ramona Memories: Fiction, Tourist Practices, and Placing the Past in Southern California,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 93(4): 886-908.

DeLyser, Dydia. 2001. “ ‘Do You Really Live Here?’ Thoughts on Insider Research,” Geographical Review, 91(1 and 2): 441-453.

DeLyser, Dydia. 1999. “Authenticity on the Ground: Engaging the Past in a California Ghost Town,” Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 89(4): 602-632.


I take service seriously. And I believe in giving back to the communities I am part of.

My research is embedded with volunteer service in multiple forms in what I term participatory historical geography. I serve as Secretary of Board of Directors of the Museum of Neon Art (MONA) (in Glendale, California), and as Secretary of the Board Directors of the Bodie Foundation (in Bridgeport, California), and as a member of the Board of Directors of the Heritage Flight Museum (in Skagit, Washington).

I serve my neighborhood and the City of Los Angeles as one of the elected representatives of the Lincoln Heights Neighborhood Council.

I serve as Editor-in-Chief of the journal cultural geographies (together with co-editors Harriet Hawkins, Matt Wilson, and Mark Jackson), and on the editorial boards of the Journal of Historical Geography, Geography Compass, and Literary Geographies.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic I volunteered for the American Association of Geographers Rapid Response Task Force where I collaborated with colleagues to create what has become the “AAG Learning Series” and the “AAG Summer Series”—online seminars and workshops led by scholars from around the world teaching key research methods to students (and any member of the AAG) for free. I continue to be involved in growing this transformative program.

In 2022 I was elected by the membership of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers to serve a 3-year term as Regional Councilor to the American Association of Geographers.

fall 2022 Office Hours

Coming soon.