Skip to Content

Politics, Culture and Place

The various research interests of the human geographers in the Department coalesce around issues of politics, culture and space. Individually and collaboratively, this cohort of researchers brings together a diverse set of interests including ethno-territorial conflict, transnational citizenship and belonging, migration, tourism, rural development, urban politics and human-environment interaction. Emphasizing a critical and historical approach, faculty in this area draw on a range of theoretical and methodological debates in political and cultural geography, political ecology, critical development studies, feminist theory and urban studies.

Specific lines of research in this area include:

  • Tourism, place and identity in China and Asia (Su)
  • Diverse economies and splintered urbanism in Mexico and the global South (Meehan)
  • Shifting territorial arrangements and understandings in response to changing economic and political circumstances (Murphy)
  • The material and ideological spaces of peace and conflict (Cohen)
  • Land use and natural resource politics in the western United States and southern Africa (Walker)
  • Political economy of development and foodways in China and Asia (Buck)
  • Indigenous movements and political ecology in South America (Hindery)
  • Migration and the politics of place and belonging (Hardwick)


Note: Occasionally GEOG 410 is also offered as a course that would count towards the Culture, Politics and Place Track. Check the Course Offerings (the “pink sheet”) or email the Undergraduate Advisor to clarify. 

441/541 Political Geography (4) Spatial perspectives on global political patterns and processes. Relationship of political territories to resources, ethnic patterns, and ideological communities. Impact of political arrangements on landscapes. Junior standing required. Murphy.

442/542 Urban Geography (4) Urbanization throughout the world, the structure of urban settlements; cities as regional centers, physical places, and homes for people; geographic problems in major urban environments. Special fee. Junior standing required. Cohen, Meehan.

443/543 Global Migration (4) Explores political, economic, and sociocultural dimensions of labor migration. Topics include capitalism and colonialism; state territoriality; urbanization; globalization; race, gender, and citizenship. Junior standing required. Hardwick.

444/544 Cultural Geography (4) Patterns of culture as a force in human affairs; dynamics of identity, place, and power; the creation of culture at different scales. Junior standing required. Cohen.

448/548 Tourism and Development (4) Tourism-related concepts and practices associated with tourism planning, development, marketing, and impacts in different geographic contexts. Su.

461/561 Environmental Alteration (4) Human alterations of the earth’s major ecosystems. Consequences of human activity at different times and places with respect to soils, atmosphere, vegetation, landforms, and water. Junior standing required. Kohler.

463/563 Geography, Law, and the Environment (4) Values underlying American legal approaches to environmental issues; the role of laws in reflecting and shaping human understanding and use of the environment. Special fee. Junior standing required. Murphy.

465/565 Environment and Development (4) Critical analysis of development concepts. Economic activity and environmental impacts. Sustainable development. Development projects and landscapes in the industrializing world. Junior standing required. Hindery.

466/566 Gender and Environment (4) How gender shapes understandings of and interactions with nature. Gender, science, and nature in Western thought; global environmental justice; population debates; feminist political ecology. Junior standing required.

467/567 International Water Policy (4) Examines problems in water policy and governance in a global context. Draws on interdisciplinary perspectives, compares case studies, and analyzes institutions. Prereq: GEOG 360. Meehan.

471/571 North American Historical Landscapes (4) Examines the origin and evolution of cultural landscapes in North America through historical and contemporary sources, and draws upon the local region for student projects. Junior standing required. Holtgrieve.