Steve Graves

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Professor / Economic, Forensic, Pop Culture
(818) 677-3517
Office location:
Sierra Hall, Room 130-D



  • Ph.D. Geography, (1999) University of Illinois
  • M.A. Geography, (1993) Miami University
  • B.S. Education: Social Studies Comprehensive, (1991) Ohio University
  • B.A. Political Science, (1988) Ohio State University

Frequent Courses Taught

  • 107 Introduction to Human Geography
  • 340 Economic Geography
  • 460 Spatial Analysis
  • 497 Crime Geography

Selected Publications and Presentations

Recent publications

2018   Navigating the Dual Financial Service System: Neighborhood Level Predictors of Access to Brick-and-Mortar Financial Services. The California Geographer. (accepted for publication)

2018   Being the First to Go to College in Learning from the Learners: Successful College Students Share Their Effective Learning Habits. (Berry, et. al. eds) New York: Roman & Littlefield.

2017   Convenience Stores: A Landscape Perspective in Yearbook of the Association of Pacific Coast Geographers. 79:134-152

2017   Hot Spot Map: Officer-Involved Shootings, 2005-2015, Los Angeles County in California History. 94:1, 4-5.

2017   Hip Hop 101: Enhancing Instruction in Introductory Human Geography in Higher Learning: Hip Hop in the Ivory Tower (Karin Stanford and Charles E. Jones, eds.) Baltimore: Black Classic Press.

2016    Hip Hop 101: Enhancing Instruction in Introductory Human Geography in Dropping Knowledge: Hip Hop Pedagogy in the Academy (Karin Stanford and Charles E. Jones, eds.) Baltimore: Black Classic Press. (in press)

2015    Woody and Buzz: Landscape Motifs in the San Fernando Valley in LAtitudes: An Angeleno's Atlas (Patricia Wakida, ed.) Berkeley: Heyday Press.

2015    Introduction to Human Geography: A Disciplinary Approach (eText)  

2014    Geography as a Jedi Discipline.  The California Geographer. 53: 21-30

2013    Movin’ On Up: Gentrified Landscapes On Television in The Right to Stay Put. (Giorgio Curti and James Craine eds.) Stuttgart: Franz Steiner-Verlag Publisher.  

2011    Cannabis City: Medical Marijuana Landscapes in Los Angeles.  The California Geographer. 51: 19-36

2011    Does Fringe Banking Exacerbate Neighborhood Crime Rates? Investigating the Social Ecology of Payday Lending.   in Criminology and Public Policy. 10(2).

2010    Postmodern Folk Music: a Hip Hop Perspective in Sound Society and the Geography of Popular Music. (Ola Johansson and Thomas Bell eds.).  London: Ashgate.

2008    Usury Law and the Christian Right: Faith Based Political Power and the Geography of American Payday Loan Regulation.  Catholic University Law Review 57 (3).

2005    Predatory Lending and the Military: The Law and Geography of "Payday" Loans in Military Towns.  The Ohio State Law Journal.  66(4):653-832.

Recent Presentations

2016    "Mapping Officer Involved Shootings in Los Angeles" – California Geographical Society, San Jose, CA  April

2015    "Introduction to Human Geography" – Association of Pacific Coast Geographers, Palm Springs, CA  October

2015    "Introduction to Human Geography" – California Geographical Society, Arcata, CA  April

2014    "Capturing the Hollywood Arsonist: Introducing GIS in Introductory Geography Courses" California Geographical Society, Hollywood, CA

2013    "Geography as a Jedi Discipline" California Geographical Society, San Luis Obispo, CA

2013    "Cannabis City: LA’s Landscapes of Medical Marijuana"  Association of American Geographers.  Los Angeles, CA  April

Research and Interests

I teach a variety of courses at CSUN, but I focus on human or cultural geography where I enjoy teaching students how to read the landscape and how to understand cultural processes that color their lives.

My research in recent years has focused on the spatial dymanics and the local effects of predatory lending, especially payday lending. I am keen to demonstrate how site location behaviors exhibited by this industry lay bare the business strategies employed by payday lenders and how these strategies affect the lives of people living in regions targeted by predatory lenders. I have also done research on the music industry, cultural landscapes and waste transportation issues.

On the service front, I have worked for a number of years on a variety of initiatives to improve the quality of teacher preparation programs. Most significant has been my involvement with Teachers for a New Era, a ambitious project to reconfigure the way school teachers are trained in the university.

When I'm not working I enjoy spending time with my kids and traveling. I am an avid fan of the teams fielded by my alma mater, The Ohio State University. I also like to listen to blues, bluegrass and rock 'n roll.