Some of the most interesting questions in Geography today lie at the intersection of cultural and political geography.  How do political and cultural forces work together to produce particular environmental attitudes and practices?  What role do gendered political and cultural identities play in democratization and "development" initiatives?  How does the political organization of space affect and influence ethnic identities and interactions?  What are the cultural, political and economic dimensions of transnational migration?  How are landscapes shaped by the interplay of cultural attitudes and political-economic change?  In what ways are social movements contesting and re-shaping globalization processes?

Questions such as these are at the foundation of a major area of emphasis in the Department of Geography at the University of Oregon.  Our recent and current graduate students have been involved in research projects all over the world that look at the interplay of cultural and political forces in the shaping of landscapes , environmental practices, migration processes, ethnic and gender identity formation, and socio-political interactions and institutions.  Particular faculty interests in elements of cultural-political geography are as follows:


Shaul Cohen | Susan Hardwick | Derrick Hindery | Alec Murphy

Lise Nelson | Xiaobo Su | Peter Walker


Shaul Cohen

Shaul Cohenís work in political and cultural geography focuses on the interface between power and the environment and on questions of ethnicity and territory.  Theoretical foci in his work are Gramscian hegemony and discourses of nature, and these research streams are largely pursued in relation to tree planting and forest issues.  His work on ethnicity and territory concentrates on the Israel-Palestine conflict.  Recent works include:

Cohen, S. (2004)  Planting Nature:  Trees and the Manipulation of Environmental Stewardship in America.  University of California Press.

Cohen, S. and D. Frank. (2002) "Jerusalam and the Riparian Conflict Simile." Political Geography, 21(6):745-765.

Cohen, S. (2000) "An Absence of Place:  Expectation and Realization in the West Bank," pp. 283-303. In A. Murphy and D. Johnson, eds. Cultural Encounters with the Environment:  Enduring and Evolving Geographic Themes.  Rowmann and Littlefield.

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Susan Hardwick

Susan Hardwick is a cultural/historical geographer interes ted in questions  related to ethnic migration and settlement, the shaping and (re)shaping of  'racialized' space and place, the adaptation experiences of transnational  migrants (and their children), and ethnic identity. Her current work is documenting, mapping, and analyzing the spatial implications of race and  ethnicity in the 'new' Oregon.

Susan has also published a series of articles focusing on gender issues. In 1999, Susan worked with Fred Shelley on a guest edited volume of the Journal of Geography that focused on gender and geographic education. Other recent publications in cultural-political geography include:

Hardwick, S.W. (2001). Identity, Place and Locale:  Doing Fieldwork in Galveston.".  The Geographical Review.

Hardwick, S.W. (2001). Mythic Galveston:  Re-Inventing America's Third Coast.  Baltimore:  The Johns Hopkins University Press.

Hardwick, S.W. 2001. "Russian Acculturation in Sacramento," (in) The Geographical Identities of Ethnic Nor th America, K. Berry, ed.. Nevada: University of Nevada Press, pp. 255-278.

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Alec Murphy

Alec Murphy is a political-cultural geographer interested in the changing nature of the state system, the geographical foundations of nationalist ideology, the relationship between ethnic and political patterns, and the rol e of law in nature-society relations.  He is also interested in the ways in which the political organization of space reflects and shapes social and environmental ideas.

Among his most recent publications in political and cultural geography are:

Murphy, A.B. Territoriality, Morality and International Law:  Thoughts on the Hendrix's 'Moral Theory of State Territory."  Geopolitics, forthcoming.

Murphy, A.B. (2001) "Political Geography."  In International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, N.J. Smesler and P.B. Baltes, eds. Amsterdam:  Pergamon, forthcoming.

Murphy, A.B. and Johnston, D.L., eds. (2000) Cultural Encounters with the Environment:  Enduring and Evolving Geographic Themes. Boulder:  Rowman and Littlefield.

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Lise Nelson

Lise Nelson focuses on political-cultural geography, critical development studies and gender.  Her current research explores the changing nature of gender, citizenship and democratization in the context of political and economic globalization.  She also does work that critically examines international 'development' issues, including: the institutional and ideological apparatuses of 'development'; the social, political and environmental impacts of development policies; as well as the emergence of alternative development strategies.  Finally, Professor Nelson specializes in gender and feminist theory in geography--from substantive empirical analysis to broader methodological and theoretical debates.  Her most recent papers and publications in these areas include:

Nelson, L. "De-centering 'the movement':  Collective action and the sedimentation of gendered political discourses in a Mexican indigenous community."  Under review, Society and Space.

Nelson, L. (2000) Remaking gender an d ethnicity in a Mexican Indigenous Community. Ph.D. thesis, Department of Geography, University of Washington, Seattle. 

Nelson, L. "Bodies (and spaces) do matter:  the limits of performativity."  Gender, Place and Culture, 6(4): 331-354.

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Peter Walker

Peter Walker is an economic and cultural geographer with primary interest in political ecology.  In his work in political ecology, Dr. Walker examines the contemporary environmental politics in the context of changing political economies, culture, and institutions.  He is particularly interested in the role of local-scale history, culture, and language in shaping the human-environmental effects of re gional and global political-economic forces.  Dr. Walker's recent work focuses on the application of political ecology approaches developed in underdeveloped regions to industrial and postindustrial landscapes of North America and other advanced capitalist economies.

His recent works in cultural-political ecology are:

Walker, Peter A., and Louise P. Fortmann. "Power and the ideologies of rural quality: a political ecology of gentrification in a rural Sierra landscape."  Under review for Ecumene.

Walker, Peter A., and Pauline E. Peters. (2001) "Maps, metaphors, and meanings: boundary struggles and village forest use on private and state land in Malawi." Society & Natural Resources 14 (5).

Walker, Peter A. 1999. "Democracy and environment: congruencies and contradictions in southern Africa." Political Geography 18 (3):257-284.

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