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Maxwell School
Maxwell / Department of Geography

Political Economy

Global capitalism is based on international flows of capital, labor, and commodities. Yet, the ways these flows become contested is fundamentally geographical – struggles over global trade agreements, national labor laws, urban occupations of public space, and ‘unpaid’ work in the household.

The political economy specialization in our department adopts Marxian, post-structural, feminist, and institutional approaches to the restructuring of capitalism at multiples scales. We examine shifting patterns of production, employment, and accumulation in a range of industries and value chains, including the automobile, energy, and agro-chemical industries.

While we examine the formal economy and capital-labor relations in the workplace, we also place special emphasis on social reproduction and everyday survival as critical to understanding a variety of sociospatial dynamics from energy consumption to labor migration.  

More fundamentally, we understand capitalism as shaped by politics and the variety of social struggles over wealth distribution, labor conditions, and power asymmetries based on class, race, gender, sexuality, and other axes of difference.

Finally, we emphasize the importance of state power and the regulatory institutions of capitalism in shaping the geographical differences between countries, regions, and places.

Faculty
Matthew T. Huber (Political economy, historical geography, energy and capitalism, oil, resource governance and social theory)
Don Mitchell (emeritus) (Cultural, political economy of landscape, social theory, labor, geographies of power and marginalization, Marxism)
Tom Perreault
(Political ecology, resource governance, environment and development, environmental justice, agrarian politics and food studies, Latin America)
Tod Rutherford (Economic restructuring, labor and the automobile industry, labor market processes and policies, regional development)
Jamie Winders (Urban, cultural, and social geography, race, gender, international migration, qualitative and historical research methods, new media, social reproduction)

Courses
GEO 273: World Political Economy
GEO 311: The New North Americas
GEO 325: Colonialism in Latin America
GEO 331: European Union
GEO 361: Global Economic Geography
GEO 340: Geography of Oil
GEO 430: Energy, History and Society
GEO 561: Global Economic Geography
GEO 563: The Urban Condition
GEO 573: Geography of Capital
GEO 705: Theories of Development
GEO 730: Political Economy of Nature
GEO 773: Seminar in Economic Geography
GEO 876/WGS 876: Feminist Geography

Careers
Business consulting
Community Development
Foreign Services Officer
International aid/development worker
Lobbyist (Advocate)
Market researcher
Non-profit organizations
Non-governmental organizations
Policy Consultant or Researcher
Public Administration
Real Estate
Transportation Management