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.
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.
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.
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.
Scientific images that ask questions
The SNSF Scientific Image Competition 2022 casts an unconventional light on research conducted in Switzerland. One of the winning images is by Stephan Hochleitner, a postdoc in Political Geography.
Remaking and Living with Resource Frontiers in Myanmar
Jasnea Sarma from the Political Geography Group (PGG) along with her colleagues Hilary Faxon (University of California, Berkeley) and K.B. Roberts (York University) guest edits and introduces a new special issue, “Remaking and Living with Resource Frontiers in Myanmar.” Their introduction critically examines pre- and post- 2021 Feb military coup, extractive economies and political geographies in Myanmar and its Asian neighbourhood. Read more about the issue here.
A mega-road meets a remote-borderland: Research on the India Myanmar borderlands
Jasnea Sarma from the Political Geography Group publishes ethnographic research that highlights the social, ecological, bureaucratic and ethnic life of a borderland that has become the site for an Indian infrastructural mega-project called the Kaladan Multimodal Road. She highlights the voices of engineers, labourers, local officials, refugees, ethnic minorities and ‘undocumented’ indigenous communities to explore the aspirations, erasures and effects of spectacle-making by large-scale ...
Zu gut, um wahr zu sein
Die State-Building-Missionen des Westens sind gut gemeint, aber sie scheitern regelmässig an ihrem moralisch überhöhten Anspruch, schreiben Benedikt Korf und Christine Schenk in einem Feuilleton-Artikel in der NZZ.