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Department of Geography

Political Geography

Political geography is the study of the co-production of space and power. Our research unit is particularly interested in this dynamics at the margins of a globalizing world. We study the spatial production of political order, uneven development and governance through specific discursive practices and places in Africa, South East Asia and Europe.
The political geography unit offers courses, supervises theses at both Bachelor and Master levels, and organizes field trips. For an overview over the lectures, seminars and tutorials offered, please consult  Department of Geography / Studying and the electronic university calendar.

  • Valuing gold, thinking about justice in Burkina Faso

  • Fieldwork in Sri Lanka

  • Iterations of a Mediterranean agro-frontier (courtesy MIC|C)

  • A deserted village as an outcome of urbanisation in East Tibet

  • Construction of the Olympic road and rail project in Mzymta river (2013)

  • 1.7g of gold, several days of hard work in a Colombian small-scale goldmine


  • B/ordering Infrastructures: How Chinese infrastructures have ordered Myanmar’s borderlands

    A research article, titled ‘Infrastructures and b/ordering: how Chinese projects are ordering China–Myanmar border spaces’ scrutinises the nexus of bordering practices and infrastructure developments in the borderlands between China’s Yunnan province and Myanmar’s Kachin state. The paper (open-access) is based on long-term ethnography along and across the China–Myanmar border conducted by Karin Dean, Jasnea Sarma (PGG) and Allesandro Rippa between 2000 and 2019.

  • Sri Lanka: Poisonous Ethnocracy

    Sri Lanka is currently undergoing a tremendous economic and political crisis. Fuel scarcity was so severe that people went on the streets to protest against the government. On 9 July, Sri Lanka’s then President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was forced to flee amid a big crowd of protesters entering his residency.

  • New Book by Benedikt Korf: "Difficulties with critical geography"

    In this new book «Schwierigkeiten mit der kritischen Geographie» (difficulties with critical geography), Benedikt Korf takes a skeptical look at a practice of critique that works with premature generalizations and moral claims, while exempting itself from (self-critical) scrutiny. Over-confidence in its own judgement lets this form of critique brush over ambivalences, grey zones and antinomies that characterize politics and political struggles.

  • The anatomy of a gold-rush

    In a new paper, titled, ‘The anatomy of a gold-rush: Politics, uncertainty and the organisation of artisanal mine work and labour in Zimbabwe’, Melusi Nkomo explores how artisanal mining gold rushes are taken as socio-political spaces.

  • New visiting fellows

    Professor Harshana Rambukwella, Open University of Sri Lanka, and Professor Sidharthan Maunaguru, National University of Singapore (NUS), are visiting the Department of Geography and are hosted by the Political Geography Unit.

  • The emotional geopolitics of China's BRI in Myanmar

    A new paper “Sovereign anxiety in Myanmar: An emotional geopolitics of China's Belt and Road Initiative’, co-authored by Shona Loong with Mary Mostafanezhad and Robert Farnan, traces uncertainties over China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Myanmar.

  • Sri Lanka am Abgrund – wie kam es dazu?

    Der Krieg in der Ukraine lässt viele andere Krisen in der Welt in den Hintergrund rücken. Zum Beispiel die Proteste in Sri Lanka. Benedikt Korf, Politische Geographie, spricht auf Radio SRF 1 zur aktuellen Situation.

  • The Irony of Development

    Benedikt Korf recently published an article about The irony of development: Critique, complicity, cynicism at SAGE Journals.

  • Urban Development and the Making of Frontiers in/from Addis Ababa/Finfinne, Ethiopia

    In an article, “Urban Development and the Making of Frontiers in/from Addis Ababa/Finfinne, Ethiopia”, Asebe Ragassa from the Political Geography Group (PGG) and his colleague Dr. Teshome Emana Soboka publishes research historicizing frontier-making in Ethiopia linking it to the formation of the modern Ethiopian state in the late-19th century through wars of conquest. Read more about this research here.

  • "Kamituga | Digital Gold" , an exhibition by Gabriel Kamundala

    "Kamituga | Digital Gold", is an immersive exhibition based on fieldwork by PGG's Ph.D. candidate Gabriel Kamundala. The exhibition was showcased at the Museum für Gestaltung Zürich from Feb 11th, 2022 - June 6th, 2022.

Weiterführende Informationen


University of Zurich
Department of Geography
Winterthurerstrasse 190
CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland
Tel: +41-44-635 51 81

Administrative Office: Y25 L 10
Monday mornings, Tue-Thu all day


Political Geography Research Lab

Zurich Human Geography Colloquium (ZHGK)

Upcoming events