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26 MAR 2024 (TUE) 16:00-17:30


Geography Distinguished Seminars Series

Taking Territory Seriously in a Fluid, Topologically Varied World

Date: 26 MAR 2024 (Tuesday)

Time: 16:00-17:30 (HKT)

Venue: Chamber, Faculty of Social Sciences, 11/F, The Jockey Club Tower, Centennial Campus, HKU



A concern with territory may seem anachronistic in the face of the globalized, fluid, interdependent human-geographic landscape of the twenty-first century. Yet in many places borders are hardening, the movement of people is becoming more limited, and state nationalism is gaining ground. The recent rise of populist-nationalist movements and the responses that emerged to the spread of SARS-CoV-2 around the world are illustrative of dynamics that are simultaneously reinforcing and challenging dominant territorial ideas and assumptions. Coming to grips with this state of affairs demands an increasingly sophisticated engagement with the concept of territory--one that treats territory as a shifting, yet sticky, element of a complex system that is constantly being remade through the interplay of material circumstances and ideological dispositions.

Professor Alexander B. Murphy

Visiting Research Professor, The University of Hong Kong

Professor Emeritus of Geography, The University of Oregon (USA)

ALEXANDER B. MURPHY is Professor Emeritus of Geography at the University of Oregon (phased retirement, 2019-2024), where he held the James F. and Shirley K. Rippey Chair in Liberal Arts and Sciences from 1998-2019. He specializes in political, cultural, and environmental geography, with regional emphases in Europe and the Middle East. He was elected to membership in the Academia Europaea in 2014, he is a Past President of the Association of American Geographers, and he is currently Senior Vice President of the American Geographical Society. He co-edited Progress in Human Geography for eleven years, and Eurasian Geography and Economics for eight years. In the late 1990s he led the effort to add geography to the College Board’s Advanced Placement Program. In the early 2000s he chaired the National Academy of Sciences — National Research Council Committee charged with identifying “Strategic Directions for the Geographical Sciences.”

Alexander Murphy is the author of more than 100 articles and several books, including The Regional Dynamics of Language Differentiation in Belgium (University of Chicago, 1988), Cultural Encounters with the Environment (edited with Douglas Johnson; Rowman & Littlefield, 2000), Geography: Why It Matters (Polity Press, 2018), Human Geography: People, Place, and Culture 12th ed. (with Erin Fouberg; Wiley, 2020), and The European Culture Area, 7th ed. (with Terry Jordan-Bychkov and Bella Bychkova Jordan; Rowman & Littlefield, 2020). He is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including a Fulbright-Hays Research Grant in 1985, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in 1991, a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award in the mid-1990s, a National Council for Geographic Education Distinguished Teaching Award in 2001, Gilbert Grosvenor Honors for Geographic Education from the Association of American Geographers in 2008, a Queen Mary (University of London) Distinguished Visiting Fellowship in 2009, a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Residency Fellowship in 2011, a University of Oregon Thomas Herman Distinguished Teaching Award in 2012, and the Association of American Geographers’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.


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