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

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

Graduate Students in Human Geography

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

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

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

More Events >>

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