Human Geography

Human Geography is a social science distinguished by its attention to the relation of humanity to the earth, in two regards. The first concerns the interaction of people with nature, including the extraction of natural resources, the environmental impact of people and their activities, and the effects of natural forces on society. The second concerns the spatial organization of societies at all scales from the local to the global (and from minutes to millennia) and the production of place, territory and landscape by human imagination and activity.

We build on Berkeley Geography’s long tradition of cutting-edge research that combines diverse methods to address questions of public importance in creative and compelling ways.  Our faculty and graduate students work all around the world and explore an enormous range of topics: forest and range utilization in the North America, urban development in China, agrarian change and resource extraction in Africa, conflict and human rights in Latin America, and much more. We examine borders and migration, conservation and development, globalization and governance, while attending closely to the roles of race, gender, and class and of science, technology and economy in shaping the world around us.

We encourage work that spans disciplinary divides, both between physical and human geography and between geography and other fields. We are proud of our longstanding commitment to advancing theoretical inquiry through research that is solidly grounded in the real world and to teaching and scholarship that address public problems and needs.

Our regular and adjunct faculty include:

Sharad Chari

Geography as history of the present and as Earth/world-writing, social theory, political economy, development, agrarian studies, labor and work, racial/sexual capitalism, Black radical tradition, biopolitical struggle, oceanic humanities, photography, South Asia, South Africa, Indian Ocean.

You-tien Hsing

Political economy of development in East Asia (especially China), power and space, cultural and environmental politics, urbanization

Jake Kosek

Cultural politics of nature and difference; cultural geography, science and technology studies; critical race theory; critical cartography; biopolitics; human and the non-human; and environmental politics

Jovan Scott Lewis

Economic geography, constructions and infrastructures of poverty, inequality, race (blackness), economy, and the market; the Caribbean (esp. Jamaica) and African-American communities in the USA

David O’Sullivan

Spatial statistics and analysis, GIS, simulation and modeling, geospatial technologies, urban geography

Nathan Sayre

Environmental geography; social dimensions of rangeland ecology and management; environmental history; scale; political economy; climate change; food; regional focus: southwestern US, northwestern Mexico, arid and semiarid rangelands

Harley Shaiken

Latin America, labor, information technology, the organization of work, global economic integration, trade