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Political Geography

This course provides a critical introduction to key theories, debates, and contemporary research in political geography. Throughout the semester, we’ll explore a series of questions and think through these with concrete, real-world examples: 

  • What is power? How is it spatially produced, reproduced, and contested across multiple scales? 

  • How is power shaped by difference- in other words, how is power raced, classed, and gendered? 

  • How is power practiced discursively (through language and ideas) and materially (through infrastructures and landscapes)?

To explore these questions, we rely on an introductory textbook, supplemental readings, and a range of multimedia in human geography and related disciplines (ethnic studies, history, sociology, anthropology). Students will take ideas, discussions, and concepts to develop their own research project presented in the form of a final paper, podcast episode, or other critical media piece at the end of the semester. Additionally, through class facilitation, discussion, and several writing assignments, students will develop critical reading, thinking, and writing skills and practice the art of public presentation.

 Atlanta organizers protesting the construction of an police training facility (left). A banner above Atlanta's South River Forest reads "Stop Cop City" Photo cred: Mira Sydow, Yes Magazine, March 22, 2022

Learning Objectives and Outcomes

  • Understand how power is created, enacted, and reproduced spatially;

  • Evaluate methodological and theoretical debates within the subfield of political geography;

  • Analyze how the politics of difference (race, class, gender, sexuality, nationality) shape space-power relationships;

  • Identify social movements seek to transform and refuse existing space-power relationships;

  • Develop critical thinking, reading, writing, discussion, and public presentation skills.

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