Dr. Laing was born and raised in the heart of Appalachia (West Virginia) and earned his Ph.D. in geography from the University of Tennessee (Knoxville) in 1997. Dr. Laing has been at UTC since 1993 and teaches a variety of geography courses including cultural geography, world geography, urban geography, geography of travel and tourism and regional courses on Asia (particularly China and Japan), North America, and the American South.
His research interests center on the geography of Appalachia and the American South, cultural geography, and the geography of travel and tourism and has involved such topics as the spatial dynamics of the Appalachian Regional Commission’s (ARC) social programs, spatial development philosophies of the ARC, the growth of the Mormon Church in the South, methamphetamine production in Appalachia, cultural landscapes of Japan and China, an analysis of historical photographs of the Smoky Mountain region, and the development of Gatlinburg’s tourist landscapes. His work on the spatial development philosophies of the ARC and the growth of the Mormon Church in the South has been published in the Southeastern Geographer. Currently, Dr. Laing’s research focuses on the Smoky Mountains as it brings together his interests in Appalachia and tourism.
Dr. Laing also has published research on the cultural landscapes of Japan and China. An article on Chinese cultural landscapes has appeared in the journal Education About Asia. He has also contributed to a Japan teaching module that can be found at http://www.utc.edu/Research/AsiaProgram/teaching. This website has been designed to assist future teachers, current teachers, and high school and college students. His contribution to the website describes Japan's cultural landscapes through several essays and over 150 photographs, images and maps.
He has traveled extensively in North America and is slowly adding to his list of foreign places visited. His courses are full of photographs from these trips, as any former student can tell you.
Laing, Craig R. 2012. Viewing China: Observations about China’s Cultural Landscapes. Education About Asia 17(3): online supplement. Available at www.asian-studies.org/EAA/TOC/17-3.htm
Laing, Craig R. 2007. “Japanese Cultural Landscapes,” a peer-reviewed website component found at: http://www.utc.edu/Research/AsiaProgram/teaching/
Laing, Craig R. 2002. The Latter-day Saint Diaspora in the United States and the South. Southeastern Geographer 42(2):228-247.
Laing, Craig R. 1999. Spatial Investment Strategies of Federal Assistance to Appalachia. Southeastern Geographer 39(1):99-113.