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Human Geography

Human geography overview and list of faculty working in this specialty

Human Geography focuses on the spatial dimensions of human activities. Human geographers are interested in understanding how people interact over space, whether it is over long distances—through processes such as migration—or around the spaces of their daily lives—in their neighborhood and even in their homes. Human geographers also study the landscapes that people create on the land they occupy; the different and contested meanings people attach to places; and the economic, cultural, political, and ecological implications of social processes that play out at local, regional, national, and global scales.

Human geography includes several systematic areas, such urban, cultural, political and population geography as well as regional analysis, social and critical theory, the analysis of social networks, studies of the relations between people and nature, human’s impacts on natural resources, and just about any other aspect of human activity that can be analyzed and understood from a spatial perspective. Human geography relies on both quantitative and qualitative methods.

Human geography faculty at SDSU are involved in a number of research projects that highlight the ways in which human societies create and transform their social and physical environments. For example, several are concerned with the spatial distribution of wealth and poverty within cities and communities, with the spatial patterns of investment and disinvestment in neighborhoods, and with several other urban processes that have profound consequences on a wide range of people, including racial and ethnic minorities, women, children and the elderly. Human geographers at SDSU also study how different people become materially and symbolically connected to places in their cities and communities, and how they organize and actively struggle to redefine them, re-claim them, and transform them. Several others examine community-based institutions and systems for managing natural resources and explore how people interact with such resources in different settings. Many of our human geography faculty members are also area specialists, focusing their attention and their research on a specific region such as Latin America, Europe, Asia and California.

People specializing in this area

Tenure / Tenure Track

Stuart Aitken

  • Substantive areas of research in urban and social geography with an emphasis on (i) families and communities, (ii) children and youth, and (iii) film;
  • Critical analysis of visual representations and Geographic Information Systems with a focus on how they are used in planning and teaching;
  • Qualitative and poststructural methods in geography
  • Emphasis on feminist and critical theory
  • The History of Geographic Thought

Fernando J. Bosco

  • Urban, Social and Political Geography, with substantive interests in Social Movements & Informal Politics, Children & Youth, Food Environments, and Places of Memory
  • Qualitative Methods
  • History of Geographic Thought
  • Latin America

George Christakos

  • Medical geography and geographical epidemiology

Anne-Marie Debbané

  • Urban political ecology
  • Political economy
  • Social theory
  • Water governance and politics
  • Land, labour, agrarian change

Kathleen Farley

  • Factors influencing participation in conservation programs
  • Water and climate change vulnerability

Piotr Jankowski

  • Decision Making Models and Methods
  • Public Participation GIS

Pascale Joassart-Marcelli

  • Geographies of Food: Food, Ethnicity and Place project
  • Urban Geography: poverty and social exclusion
  • Nonprofits and political geographies of state restructuring
  • Children's geographies and participatory research
  • Immigrant families and communities

Arielle Levine

  • Community involvement in natural resource conservation and management
  • Coastal community resiliency
  • Traditional ecological knowledge
  • Institutional dynamics (NGOs, governments, community groups) in international conservation and development

Atsushi Nara

  • Human Dynamics
  • Urban Geography
  • Geocomputation
  • Epidemiological Dynamics
  • Health Disparities

Kate Swanson

  • Poverty and marginality
  • Migration
  • Gender
  • Children and youth
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Latin America

Ming-Hsiang Tsou

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.

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