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Geog 353: Economic Geography

The goals of the course are to engage students in the contemporary issues of economic life, expose them to current research questions in economic geography, and provide tools to interpret complex economic problems from a geographic perspective.


The central question that has traditionally been asked by economic geographers relates to the causes of uneven economic development at various scales: Why are some parts of the world more economically developed than others? Why do some regions grow faster than others? Why do some industries succeed in specific places?


While these questions remain important today, primarily because of the rapid globalization of economic activities and the associated transformation of production and consumption, economic geographers have increasingly turned their attention to the institutional, social, political, and cultural arrangements that shape and differentiate economic activities in various places. Thus new questions are being raised regarding everyday economic practices and the spatial processes that constitute them, including issues of industrial organization, consumption and lifestyle, the family and gender, ethnic networks, money and finance, etc. These themes will be discussed throughout the course.

The course is organized in five parts. After a brief introduction to economic geography and its different approaches, we turn our attention to the global scale and investigate the sources of uneven economic development and global inequality. In the third part, we focus on spaces of circulation, including flows of commodities, labor, capital, and knowledge, and the networks that bind them. The fourth part deals with spaces of production and investigates various types of production arrangements, emphasizing their consequences for workers’ wellbeing and the nature of work. In the last section, we study spaces of consumption, paying close attention to the role of culture.