Spring 2022 GEOG 520 Seminar in Human Geography
Economic geography: Finance, politics, and inequality
- Instructor: Emily Rosenman
- Semester: Spring 2022
- Class Time: Tuesday, 10 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
- Contact: email@example.com
- Credits: 03
- Place: 319 Walker Building
- Section: 002
With widening wealth inequality, increasing volatility in financial markets, and growing instability in social and environmental systems, understanding the functioning of the capitalist economy is fundamental to many of the questions facing geographers today. This seminar introduces political economic thought and debates in economic geography and is aimed both at students new to the subject and those centering it in their studies. Rather than viewing the economy as a distinct object, we will examine how economic activity is shaped by political and social struggles over the distribution of resources, as well as how the economic is interwoven with (and contributes to) various manifestations of inequality. The course begins by reviewing influential works in geographical political economy and their methods of understanding economic structures. We will explore recent critiques of these works and then proceed to examine specific economic phenomena such as precarious labor markets, the increased power of finance, the ‘green’ economy, the COVID-19 pandemic, racial capitalism, and alternative economies. Students will participate in weekly discussions, lead a seminar, and write a term paper (or an alternative they propose) on a topic of their choice. No prior knowledge of economic geography is required. This course is taught by an instructor who spent the first half of grad school feeling alienated by economic geography and is committed to structuring the seminar such that everyone feels included and intellectually welcome.