Site Navigation

Section Navigation

Courses : Syllabi : 760

Geography 760 Rethinking the Economy


Pascale Joassart Marcelli

Course Description

Recent changes in our economy have affected the everyday livelihood of many people in different ways. These changes, such as globalization, de-industrialization, and the rise of informational technologies, are not only economic, but also fundamentally geographical. Geography is becoming increasingly relevant to understanding why these economic changes occur, but also how these changes impact the life of different people in different places. Indeed geography is critical in rethinking the economy as a set of real life processes and complex social relations that are shaped by and vary across space. “The Economy” is not a hypothetical or abstract form that follows universal laws and is detached from lived reality. This course attempts to rethink the economy, in light of recent economic changes, by contextualizing economic processes within their social, political, and cultural relations.

In the first part of the course, we will critically review early theories and recent developments in economic geography. In particular, we will investigate debates between the political economy tradition that emerged in the 1970s and the so-called new economic geography that brings together institutionalism, post-Marxism, and feminist theory, in an effort to rethink (1) the nature and components of the economy and (2) the relationships between the economy and society. We will conclude this section by discussing the relevance and methods of economic geography today.

In the second part of the course, we will study specific issues that have led to interesting new developments in economic geography. Although many of these issues are connected to each other, they are used a vignettes to illustrates the diversity of economic geography and the multiple economies that characterize our global world.


Six units of upper division or graduate level courses in behavioral or social geography


Your grade in this course will be based on the following elements:

This course is a seminar and thus all students are expected to (1) read the assigned material carefully and critically before each class meeting and (2) participate in class.

In order to guide and stimulate discussions, you are required to submit two questions pertaining to the assigned readings by email prior to 5pm on the day before class. We will address these questions in class the following day.

In addition, you will be asked to lead class discussions twice during the semester. I will pass a sign-up sheet in class at the beginning of the semester. You will be evaluated on your critical examination of the readings, your ability to engage other students, your organization and presentation skills, and any supporting material (i.e., handout) that you utilize.

The primary requirement for the course is a final research paper that relates specific aspects, themes, and content of the course to your own research interests. A one to two page proposal articulating your ideas and approach for the paper is due Week Four. All student proposals will be posted on Blackboard for everybody to access them. We will discuss the proposals in class the following week. In addition, I strongly encourage you to submit sections or preliminary drafts of your paper during the semester. You are expected to present your findings during one of the last two class meetings.

Books and Materials

All readings available on Blackboard.

Weekly Topics

Week Topic
Week One
Part One
Introduction: What is the Economy?
Week Two The Economy, The Market, and Society
Week Three Inventing Anglo-American Economic Geography: The Quantitative Revolution
Week Four Political Economy and the Marxian Tradition
Paper Proposals Due
Week Five Feminism and Economic Geography
Paper Proposal Discussion
Week Six Institutionalism and the ‘Cultural Turn(s)’
Week Seven Relevance and Methods in Economic Geography
Week Eight
Part Two
Production of Places: Urban and Regional Growth
Week Nine Places of Production: Global Commodity Chains
Week Ten Creating the Economic World: Knowledge, Networks, and Identities
Week Eleven Work, Gender, and Households
Week Twelve Ordinary and Diverse Economies
Week Thirteen Money and Finance
Week Fourteen Consumption: Culture and Moralities
Week Fifteen Geographies of Food - in lieu of conclusion

The statements found on this page/site are for informational purposes only. While every effort is made to ensure that this information is up to date and accurate, official information can be found in the university publications.