University of Colorado at Boulder


Dept Theme

Human Geography

Population, political, urban, social, and cultural geography

Human geography first and foremost involves the study of human beings--more specifically, of the organization of human activity and of spatial patterns as they affect and, in turn, respond to the world about us. The processes under study derive from distinct, but interactive, substructures: pursuit of livelihood (economic), social interaction (socio-political), and historical inertia and meaning (cultural). The products are change, conflict, diffusion, differentiation, and repetition in the human organization of the land. These same human processes will interact with biophysical processes, (e.g., air quality or plant introductions) to shape humanized landscapes and regional character. Human geographers typically investigate problems associated with locational strategies and human decisions. Such problems cut through subjects as diverse as analysis of regional markets, racial segregation in cities, migration flows, hazardous sites, international development, medieval landscape patterns, or formulation of impact statements.

Faculty teaching and/or performing research in human geography

Indigenous Politics in the Americas; Human Rights; and Critical Cartography. Human
Spatial-Temporal Dynamics, Computational GIScience, Spatial Interactions, Transportation Physical
Feminist political geography; conflict security and development; South/Southwest Asia Human
Political Ecology;  Science and Technology Studies;  indigenous knowledge;  Nature-Society Relations Human
Political Islam, South Asia; Poststructural & Postcolonial Theory; Biopolitics, Critical Ontology Human
Political; Former Soviet Union; Post Communist Societies; Nationalism Human
Cultural Politics;  Economic and Social Change; China Human
Climate change and human health; Environmental and social epidemiology; Spatial exposure assessment Human
International migration, informal economy, and population dynamics; social demography, Latin America Human
Urban Geography, Medical Geography, Spatial Statistics, GIScience Human
Natural hazards, risk, climate change, decision-making Human
Nature/society geography; political ecology; cultural politics; development; Tibet; China Human

Graduate Students in human geography

31 students total. TIP: To sort by more than one column, hold down the shift key while clicking an additional column header.

Name Degree     Specialties Advisor
Bredemeyer, William Ph.D. spatial analysis, human environment Spielman
Correia, Joel Ph.D. Indigenous rights, development, legal geographies, political ecology, Latin America Bryan
Counter, Max Ph.D. IDPs; refugees; Colombia Bryan
Cunningham, Angela Ph.D. landscape and historiography Travis
Davies, Becky M.A. Spatial statistics, computing, demography, land use Spielman
DeBoom, Meredith Ph.D. political geography, natural resources O'Loughlin
Duojie, Zhaxi Ph.D. Historical land use, community development & poverty, Tibetan plateau Yeh
Fertaly, Kaitlin Ph.D. post-socialism; food; gender; Armenia; environmentalism Fluri
Gifford, Lauren Ph.D. global climate policy, justice, land use, Latin America Bryan
Green, Susan M.A. immigration; population; health Riosmena
Guarino, Julia Ph.D. Legal geography; political ecology Bryan
Hindawi, Abdulsalam M.A. Population, migration, conflict resolution, Syrian refugee crisis Fluri
Krumminga, Sara M.A. Political geography, the Holocaust & WWII, nationalism Jan
Lang, Gretchen Ph.D. Geographies of food and migration Fluri
Malone, Aaron Ph.D. migration; development; Latin America Riosmena
Marini, Daniela Ph.D. Political Agroecology: Social Movements and Food Sovereignty in Argentina Bryan
Mason, Kevin M.A. Population, immigration, development, Latin America Riosmena
Menon, Siddharth M.A. South Asia, Indigenous knowledge of building, Architecture Goldman
Murton, Galen Ph.D. Development; Political Geography; Cultural Geography; Tibet and Himalaya Region Yeh
Naderi, Faran M.A. Cultural Identity and Ethnosymbolism O'Loughlin
Rodd, Joshua Ph.D. Political violence and conflict; infectious disease Root
Ryan, Caitlin Ph.D. Post-conflict urban development, humanitarian aid, post-socialism Fluri
Shrestha, Rupak Ph.D. Development Geography; Political Geography; Nepal Fluri
Smith, Samuel Ph.D. Historic/Urban Geog-links between historic mining settlements & current tourist areas Foote
Subia Smith, Gabriella M.A. Political Geography, Land rights in Columbia Bryan
Todd, Meagan Ph.D. Political & cultural geography in post-Soviet space O'Loughlin
Tuccillo, Joseph Ph.D. Urban Geography, Spatial Demography, Hazards/Vulnerability, Geocomputation Spielman
Tynen, Sarah Ph.D. Economic development and cultural practice O'Loughlin
Volkmar, Emily M.A. Conservation and development in Tibet Yeh
Wright, Kathryn Ph.D. Migration, international development, Senegal, United States Riosmena
Yang, Yang Ph.D. ethnic geography; China, critical tourism studies Oakes

GEOG courses related to human geography.

Caution: These lists are incomplete.

Spring 2017

Num Num Sect Title Hrs   Instructor
1962 Geographies of Global Change 3 O'Loughlin
1982 World Regional Geography 3 Holmes, Jonah
3023 Statistics for Geography 4 Koenig, Lora
3412 Conservation Practice/Resource Management 3 Lander
3692 Intro to Global Public Health 3 Reid
3742 Place, Power, Culture 3 Jan
3812 Mexico, Central American and the Carribean Bryan
4023 5023 Quantitative Methods 4 Farmer
4501 5501 Wtr Resources/Mgmt in the US West 3 Lander
4742 Environments & Peoples - Food 3 Fertaly
4762 Geographies of Political Islam 3 Jan
5100 004 Special Topics: Writing & Presenting in Physical Sciences 3 Barnard
5161 002 Research Design in Human Geography 3 Spielman
5632 Development Geography 3 Yeh
6732 Formal Population Geography 3 Riosmena


Fall 2016

Num Num Sect Title Hrs   Instructor
1972 Environment-Society Geography 3 Travis
1982 World Regional Geography 3 O'Loughlin
3023 Statistics for Geography 4 Farmer, Carson
3682 Geography of International Development 3 Goldman
3692 Introduction to Global Public Health 3 Gay Lynn Olsen
3742 Place, Power, Culture 3 Jan
3862 Geography of Africa 3 Goldman
3822 Geography of China 3 Oakes
3930 5930 Internship 3 Blanken
4173 Research Seminar 3 Speilman
4292 5202 Migration, Immigration and Adaptive Development 3 Riosmena
4812 Environment and Development in South America 3 Correia
4852 Health & Medical Geography 3 Colleen Reid
5100 001 Special Topic: Feminist Geography 3 Fluri
5152 History and Theory of Geography 3 Fluri
6402 Seminar: Political Ecology 3 Yeh


Spring 2016

Num Num Sect Title Hrs   Instructor
1982 World Regional Geography 3 Smith
3412 Conservation Practice/Resource Management 3 Lander
3692 Intro to Global Public Health 3 Olsen, Gay Lynn
3812 Mexico, Central American and the Carribean Bryan
3832 Geographies of South Asia 3 Fluri
4023 5023 Quantitative Methods 4 Farmer
4501 5501 Wtr Resources/Mgmt in the US West 3 Lander
4712 5712 Political Geography 3 O'Loughlin
4762 001 Geographies of Political Islam 3 Jan
5100 004 Special Topics: Writing & Presenting in Physical Sciences 3 Barnard
5161 002 Research Design in Human Geography 3 Yeh
5632 Development Geography 3 Fluri
5652 Introduction to Social Theory 3 Jan


Undergrad Courses Applicable to a Concentration in Human Geography

One of the following four courses are prerequisites to all upper division courses listed further below.  

GEOG 1972 (2002)  Geographies of Global Change
GEOG 1982  World Regional Geography 
GEOG 1992  Human Geographies 
GEOG 2412  Environment and Culture

Upper Division Courses. Additional prerequisites are listed. 

GEOG 3672  Gender and Global Economy** 
GEOG 3682  Geography of International Development   
GEOG 3742  Place, Power, and Contemporary Culture**  
GEOG 3812  Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean  
GEOG 3822  Geography of China** 
GEOG 3832  Geographies of South Asia
GEOG 3862  Geography of Africa
GEOG 4023  Introduction to Quantitative Methods in Human Geography (Prereq: GEOG 3023) 
GEOG 4292  Migration, Urbanization, and Development  
GEOG 4622  City Life** 
GEOG 4712  Political Geography 
GEOG 4732  Population Geography  
GEOG 4742  Environment and Peoples** 
GEOG 4812  Environment and Development in South America**   (Recommended Prereq: GEOG 3812 or 3422) 
GEOG 4822  Environment & Development in China** 
GEOG 4832  Geography of Tibet  (Prereq:  GEOG 3822)
GEOG 4892  Geography of Western Europe** 

**core curriculum course 


Undergrad Courses in other Departments Related to Human Geography

Caution:  These courses do not count as hours in the Geography Major. 
Check with the appropriate department for the prerequisites for these courses.

ANTH  1030  Principles of Anthropology 1  
ANTH  1040  Principles of Anthropology 2 
ANTH  2100  Frontiers of Cultural Anthropology 
ANTH  4510  Applied Cultural Anthropology  
ANTH  4520  Symbolic Anthropology** 
ECON  4514  Economic History of Europe**   
ECON  4524  Economic History of the United States** 
HIST  ****  Any course related to a geographic area 
PSCI  2012   Intro.  to Comparative Politics ** 
PSCI 3143  Problems in International Relations 
PSCI 3163  American Foreign Policy**   
PSCI  4183   International Law 
PSCI  4703   Alternative World Futures** 
PSCI  4272   Capitalist Democracies in a Global World Economy** 
PSYC  2606   Social Psychology ** 
SOCY  2001   Introduction to Sociological Theory 
SOCY  3002   Population and Society 
SOCY  4022   Population Studies: Fertility & Mortality 

Selected Publications by Faculty and Graduate Students associated with human geography


 Maxwell Boykoff

 Joe Bryan

Bryan, J. (2009). Where would we be without them? Knowledge, space and power in indigenous politics. Futures, 41: 24-32. doi:10.1016/j.futures.2008.07.005

Wainwright, J., and Bryan, J. (2009). Cartography, territory, property: postcolonial reflections on indigenous counter-mapping in Nicaragua and Belize. Cultural Geographies, Vol. 16, No. 2, 153-178. DOI:10.1177/1474474008101515

 Jennifer Fluri

Fluri, J.L. (2013). Women. The Companion to Critical Geopolitics, Edited by K. Dodds, M. Kuus and J. Sharp. London: Ashgate Publishing (509-527).

Fluri, J.L. (2012). Capitalizing on Bare Life: Sovereignty, Exception, and Gender Politics. Antipode. 44(1): 31-50. DOI:10.1111/j.1467-8330.2010.00835.x

Fluri, J.L. (2011). Bodies, Bombs, and Barricades: Gendered Geographies of (In)Security. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 36(3): 280-296.

Fluri, J.L. (2011). Armored Peacocks and Proxy Bodies: Gender & Geopolitics in Aid/Development Spaces. Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, 18(4): 519-536.

Fluri, J.L. (2009). 'Foreign Passports Only': Geographies of (Post)Conflict Work in Kabul, Afghanistan. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 99(5): 986-994.

 Mara Goldman

Goldman, M. J. and J. S. Little. (2015). Innovative Grassroots NGOS and the Complex Processes of Women’s Empowerment: An empirical investigation from Northern Tanzania. World Development 66 (2015):762-777.

Goldman, M., J. R. Dephinho, and J. Perry. (2013). Beyond Ritual and Economics: Maasai Lion Hunting and Conservation Politics. Oryx. Published online: 14 May 2013: 1-11. doi:10.1017/S0030605312000907

Goldman, M., and Riosmena, F. (2013). Adaptive Capacity and Vulnerability to Drought in Tanzanian Maasailand: Changing strategies to navigate across fragmented landscapes. Global Environmental Change 23 (2013) 588–597.

Goldman, M.J., P. Nadasdy, and M.D. Turner, eds. (2011). Knowing Nature: Conversations at the intersection of political ecology and science studies. Chicago: University of Chicago University Press .

Goldman, M. (2009). Constructing Connectivity? Conservation corridors and conservation politics in East African rangelands. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 99 (2):335-359 .

 John O'Loughlin

 Timothy Oakes

Oakes, T. (2017). Catastrophic Asia: an introduction. Journal of Asian Studies 76(2): 401-407.

Oakes, T. (2017). Happy town: cultural governance and biopolitical urbanism in China. Environment and Planning A. 10.1177/0308518X17693621

Oakes, T. (2017). Mediating Asia: information, democracy and the state in and before the digital age. International Journal of Communication 17:

Oakes, T. (2016). Villagizing the city: turning rural ethnic heritage into urban modernity in southwest China. International Journal of Heritage Studies 22(10): 751-765.

Wang, J., T. Oakes, and Y. Yang. (2016). Making Cultural Cities in Asia: Mobility, Assemblage, and the Politics of Aspirational Urbanism. London & New York: Routledge.

 Colleen Reid

Reid CE, Brauer M, Johnston F, Jerrett M, Balmes JR, Elliott CT. (2016). Critical Review of Health Impacts of Wildfire Smoke Exposure. Environmental Health Perspectives . DOI:10.1289/ehp.1409277

Reid CE, Jerrett M, Tager IB, Petersen ML, Mann JK, Balmes JR. (2016). Differential respiratory health effects from the 2008 northern California wildfires: a spatiotemporal approach. Environmental Research . doi:10.1016/j.envres.2016.06.012

Reid CE, Jerrett M, Petersen ML, Pfister GG, Morefield P, Tager IB, Raffuse SM, Balmes JR. (2015). Spatiotemporal prediction of fine particulate matter during the 2008 northern California wildfires using machine learning. Environmental Science & Technology, 49(6):3887-96.

Reid CE, Mann JK, Alfasso R, English PB, King GC, Lincoln RA, Margolis HG, Rubado DJ, Sabato JE, West NL, Woods B, Navarro K, Balmes JR. (2012). Evaluation of a Heat Vulnerability Index on Abnormally Hot Days: an Environmental Public Health Tracking study. . Environmental Health Perspectives 120(5):715-20.

Reid CE, O’Neill MS, Gronlund C, Brines SJ, Brown DG, Diez-Roux AV, Schwartz J. (2009). Mapping Community Determinants of Heat Vulnerability. Environmental Health Perspectives 117(11): 1730-1736.

 Fernando Riosmena

Riosmena, F., R. Kuhn, & C. Jochem. (2017). Explaining the immigrant health advantage: self-selection and protection among five major national-origin immigrant groups in the United States. Demography 54(1):175-200. 10.1007/s13524-016-0542-2

Beltrán-Sánchez, H., A. Palloni, F. Riosmena, & R. Wong. (2016). SES Gradients among Mexicans in the United States and in Mexico: A New Twist to the Hispanic Paradox?. Demography 53(5):1555-1581.

Riosmena, F. (2016). The theoretical potential and methodological limits of cross-context comparative research on migration. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 666(1):28-45.

Nawrotzki, R. J., Riosmena, F., Hunter, L. M., & Runfola, D. M. 2015. (2015). Amplification or suppression: Social networks and the climate change – migration association in rural Mexico. Global Environmental Change 35, 463-474. 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2015.09.002

Riosmena, F., B. Everett, R. Rogers, & J. Dennis. (2015). Negative Acculturation and Nothing More? Cumulative Disadvantage and Hispanic Mortality during the Immigrant Adaptation Process. nternational Migration Review49(2):443-478.

 Seth Spielman

Spielman, S.E. and Folch, D.F. (2015). Reducing Uncertainty in the American Community Survey through Data-Driven Regionalization. . PLOSOne (

Spielman, S.E. and Singleton, A. S. (2015). Studying Neighborhoods with Uncertain Data From the American Community Survey. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. Annals of the Association of American Geographers ( .

Wood, N., Jones, J., Spielman, S.E., Schmidtlein, M. (2015). Community clusters of tsunami vulnerability in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science ( .

Spielman, S.E. Cartography and Geographic Information Science (CaGIS). (2014). Spatial Collective Intelligence? credibility, accuracy, and Volunteered Geographic Information. Cartography and Geographic Information Science (CaGIS). doi:10.1080/15230406.2013.874200

Spielman, S.E., Folch, D., Nagle, N. (2014). Patterns and Causes of Uncertainty in the American Community Survey. . Applied Geography (replication data and code) (

 William Travis

McCurdy, A. and W. Travis . (2017). Simulated climate adaptation in stormwater systems: Evaluating the efficiency of adaptation pathways. Environment Systems and Decisions.

Dilling, L., M.E. Daly, W.R. Travis, O.V. Wilhelmi, and R.A. KleinWiley . (2015). The dynamics of vulnerability: why adapting to climate variability will not always prepare us for climate change. Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change 6, 413-425. doi:10.1002/wcc.341

 Emily Yeh

Yeh, Emily T. and Chris Coggins, editors. (2014). Mapping Shangrila: Contested Landcapes in the Sino-Tibetan Borderlands. University of Washington Press. .

Yeh, Emily T. (2013). Blazing pelts and burning passions: Nationalism, cultural politics and spectacular decommodification in Tibet. Journal of Asian Studies. 72(2): 319-334. .

Yeh, Emily T. (2013). Taming Tibet: Landscape Transformation and the Gift of Chinese Development. Cornell University Press.

Yeh, Emily T. and Kunga T. Lama. (2013). Following the caterpillar fungus: Nature,commodity chains and the place of Tibet in China's uneven geographies. Social & Cultural Geography 14(3):318-340.

Yeh, Emily T. (2012). Transnational environmentalism and entanglements of sovereignty: The tiger campaign across the Himalayas. Political Geography 31:418-428 .

Grad Students

News and Events related to human geography


Aug 2016
Homelessness in Cambodia: The Violence of Beautification

Sep 2011
"From the Havens to the Markets: State, Development and the Mediation of Nature in Northwest China."

Sep 2011
Lecture: "Hitting a Home Run across the Pacific: Major League Baseball in East Asia," and Panel Discussion: "Strategy and Security: Sports in Sino-American Relations"

Apr 2011
Austin: A City of Tolerance, Ideas and Immigrants?

Apr 2011
Harlem's Mart 125: The American Dream

Apr 2011
Israeli Pinkwashing, Left Ambivalence, & Queer Critique

Apr 2011
Geographies of religion and class: young people in deprived Britain

Mar 2011
A talk with Chet Tchozewski Founder and President Emeritus, Global Greengrants Fund

Mar 2011
Humanitarianism and Migration: An Interdisciplinary Conference

Mar 2011
Informal Recycling: a Cultural Geography of Waste in Shanghai, China

Feb 2011
Governing Bodies, Governing Grain: The Biopolitics of Chinese Food Security

Feb 2011
Contemporary Christian Music and the Politics of Apolitics

Feb 2011
Are IPAT relationships empirically stable? Re-examining population, affluence, and technology as drivers of carbon emissions through the lens of economic demography

Feb 2011
Development as gift: Comfortable housing and the new socialist countryside in Tibet

Oct 2010
Fieldbooks as Sites of Change

Oct 2010
Blind, deaf and oblivious: The drama of ethno-national conflict in Chile

Oct 2010
Info session for undergraduates.

Sep 2010
Peering into the Fog of War: The Geography of the WikiLeaks Afghanistan War Logs 2004-2009

Apr 2010

Feb 2010
Photo Exhibit: Now We Have Nothing: People Displaced From South Ossetia

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