Project Description

Home / Members / Faculty / Andrew Siwabessy


  • Phenomenology

  • Planetary Geology

  • Existentialism


  • Rotman Institute of Philosophy
    Western University
    Western Interdisciplinary Research Building
    London, Ontario, Canada
    N6A 3K7


Doctoral Student,
Centre for Theory & Criticism, Western University

Andrew Siwabessy is a doctoral student with the Centre for the Study of Theory and Criticism, and has historically worked as a researcher within planetary geology (mapping; early Martian tectonic geomorphology), electrochemistry, and human geography (social vulnerability). They have degrees from California State University, Long Beach, in the United States (B.S. Mechanical Engineering; B.A. Geography, joint with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California). Andrew is primarily interested in three interrelated questions: (1) what are the peculiar means by which geologists come to comprehend a setting of their study in the field, and how does this dynamic change when geologists study locations on planetary bodies that are not directly accessible to embodied human experience? (2) Space exploration and colonization are efforts that may be emblematic of a certain world understanding that tends to devalue the relations and responsibilities that we have to each other and the land in order to subsist and thrive. Is there room for an alternative ethical approach to thinking this imminent future? (3) We are always already embedded in relations with each other, and with the places whence we come. These shape the way we conceive of ourselves, each other, and the world at large, but it can be so divergent from other beings that it seems as if others live in an entirely different world than the one that we know – bearing different priorities, different hopes, different anxieties – and, from there, different ways of relating to (and being alienated from) the other. Is there a way to conceive of this fractured, dissonant quality of being that can provide a convincing account of alienation and marginalization at large? What political and ethical implications might arise from such an account?

As regards theory and philosophy, Andrew has three principal interests: (1) A comparative assessment of the epistemological employment of hermeneutic phenomenology in physical and social scientific research, particularly within geology, physical geography, and human geography. They are also interested in the hitherto frustrated deployment of “geological” reasoning through geospatial methodologies on extraterrestrial bodies, especially as regards Martian geomorphology, and how the relief of this tension might ontologically unsettle decades of inferences of planetary geological research in an increasingly imminent era of space colonization. (2) A re-conception of relations of care and responsibility, drawing from Gilbert Simondon’s technical object and Bruno Latour’s account of actor-network theory, that centres and prioritizes an informed knowledge of one’s relations – always already inescapable – within the collective and the environment. This effort is an acknowledgment of and a response to the social, political, and affective factors that influence the trajectory of planetary science research in particular, but aims also to situate it within the broader social projects of space exploration and colonization. Such tendencies appear strongly resonant to a telos that has been already roundly critiqued in indigenous scholarship (e.g., Robin Wall Kimmerer, Kyle Whyte, Vine Deloria Jr.) for its tendency to externalize and/or subordinate relations of care and responsibility with communities, people, and land. (3) A re-conception of Being as always already multiplicitious, contingent, trans-subjective, and incoherent (influenced by Martin Heidegger, Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, as well as Julia Kristeva and Luce Irigaray), but generated by and affectively tied to Place – as encounters with “psychogeographies”. This project may ultimately assimilate, unite, and/or inscribe the interests posed in the two earlier points.

Anderson, RC; Dohm, JM; Williams, J-P; Robbins, SJ; Siwabessy, AG; Golombek, MP; and Schroeder, JF. (2019) “Unraveling the Geologic and Tectonic History of the Memnonia-Sirenum Region of Mars: Implications on the Early Formation of the Tharsis Rise.” Icarus 323: 132-150.

Siwabessy, AG. (2021) “Physical reality in planetary geomorphological inference and the pathway to a critical planetary geology.” Planetary and Space Science 195: 105121. doi: 10.1016/j.pss.2020.105121

Selected talks and posters:

Siwabessy, AG; Adrian, JN; Rodrigue, CM; and Anderson, RC (2021). “Geologic map of Terra Cimmeria, Mars.” Geography Week at California State University-Long Beach, Long Beach, California, United States. (invited virtual talk)

Siwabessy, AG; Adrian, JN; Rodrigue, CM; and Anderson, RC. (2021). “Geologic map of Terra Cimmeria, Mars.” URISA-GIS Pro 2021 Fall Meeting, Baltimore, Maryland, United States. (invited talk)

Siwabessy, AG; Adrian, JN; Dohm, JM; Rodrigue; CM; and Anderson, RC. (2021). “Geologic map of Terra Cimmeria, Mars.” Los Angeles Geospatial Summit, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California, United States (invited virtual talk).

Siwabessy, AG; Rodrigue, CM; and Anderson, RC. “Remanent magnetization signatures in Terra Cimmeria and Terra Sirenum, Mars, as a result of far-field tectonic and hydrological effects of the early uplift of the Tharsis Rise.” (2020) Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. The Woodlands, Texas, United States. (poster). Cancelled due to concerns about COVID-19. Abstract available online.

Siwabessy, AG; Rodrigue, CM; and Anderson, RC. “Geologic map of Terra Cimmeria, Mars.” (2020) Lunar and Planetary Science Conference. The Woodlands, Texas, United States. (poster). Cancelled due to concerns about COVID-19. Abstract available online.

Anderson, RC; Parker, TJ; Adrian, JN; Fewell, NP; Schroeder, JF; and Siwabessy, AG. (2020) “Preliminary geologic and tectonic history of Bathys Planum Region, Mars.” Annual Meeting of Planetary Geologic Mappers. (virtual). Abstract available online.

Siwabessy, AG; Nelson, A; and Tavassol, H. “Chemomechanical effects during the hydrogen evolution reaction on Pt-Cu surfaces.” (2019) Materials Research Society Spring Meeting. Phoenix, Arizona, United States.

Siwabessy, AG; Fewell, NP; Adrian, JN; Wyrick, DY; and Anderson, RC. “Constraining the geologic history of the Claritas Rise, Tharsis, Mars.” (2019) American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting. San Francisco, California, United States. (poster)

Siwabessy, AG; Parker, TJ; Trautman, MR; and Anderson, RC. “Mapping in the Northern Martian Plains: A Renewed Survey of the Geologic Units of Acidalia Mensae and Acidalia Colles Regions.” (2016) Geological Society of America Fall Meeting. Denver, Colorado, United States. (poster)

Winter 2022, PHIL 2032, Dept. Philosophy, University of Western Ontario (teaching assistant)

Fall 2022, EARTHSCI 2232, Dept. Earth Sciences, University of Western Ontario (teaching assistant)

Winter 2022, EARTHSCI 2232, Dept. Earth Sciences, University of Western Ontario (teaching assistant)

Fall 2021, EARTHSCI 1086, Dept. Earth Sciences, University of Western Ontario (teaching assistant)

Spring 2018, PHYS 100A Lab Section, Dept. Physics and Astronomy, California State University-Long Beach (teaching assistant/lecturer)