Anno Accademico 2023/2024

  • Docente: Timothy Raeymaekers
  • Crediti formativi: 6
  • SSD: M-GGR/01
  • Lingua di insegnamento: Inglese
  • Modalità didattica: Convenzionale - Lezioni in presenza
  • Campus: Bologna
  • Corso: Laurea Magistrale in Scienze storiche e orientalistiche (cod. 8845)

Conoscenze e abilità da conseguire

At the end of the course students will be able to understand, discuss and represent (in writing and orally) some of the major global challenges our planet has been facing since the second half of the XX century from a geographical perspective. The focus of the course will primarily concern the concept of modern development, involving, amongst other issues, the critical relationship between human beings and the earth’s ‘natural resources’, food security, armed conflict, migration as well as the challenges of development aid and peacebuilding. At the end of the course, students will have acquired the theoretical and empirical tools to critically analyse global strategies of development, as well as aid and peace- (and state) building. They will also have acquired the ability to work in groups and develop class presentations and discussions; and they will acquire the competences to write short, concise essays about the course’s main topics.


The course offers an introduction to the central concepts of a global political geography. After the first introductory part, the course focuses on some central concepts, like sovereignty, territory, citizenship and borders. These conceptual debates will be followed by a brief thematic section which forces on the issues of armed conflict and of global resource frontiers


1. key concepts

1.a. place / space

main readings

Massey, D. (2005) For Space, London: Sage (chapter 1: pp. 8-12)

Harvey, D. (2004) ‘Space as a Key Word’, 2004 lecture – http://frontdeskapparatus.com/files/harvey2004.pdf

1.b. power

main readings

Agnew. J. (2003) A companion to political geography, Blackwell: chapter 7 (‘power’, by John Allen).

Allen, J. (2009) Three spaces of power: territory, networks, plus a topological twist in the tale of domination and authority, in: Journal of Power, 2/2, pp 197-212.


Jessop, B. et al. (2008) ‘Theorizing sociospatial relations.’ Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 26/3, pp. 389-401.

Sassen, S. (2006) Territory, authority, rights, Princeton: Princeton University Press (introduction and chapter 8)

1.c. sovereignty, governmentality, and the state of exception

main readings

Connolly, W. (2004) The complexity of sovereignty, in Edkins, J., V. Pin-Fat and M. J. Shapiro, eds., Sovereign lives: power in global politics, New York: Routledge, pp. 23-40


Elden, S. 2007. Rethinking Governmentality, in: Political Geography 26(1), pp. 29-33.

Hansen, T.B. and Stepputat, F. (2006) Sovereignty revisited, in: Annual Review of Anthropology, 35, pp. 295–315.

Jessop, B. et al. (2008) ‘Theorizing sociospatial relations.’ Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 26/3, pp. 389-401.

Humphrey, C. (2004) Sovereignty, in: D. Nugent & J. Vincent (eds.), A companion to the anthropology of politics, Malden, Oxford & Carlton: Blackwell Publishing, pp. 418-436.

Latham, R. (2000) Social sovereignty, in: Theory, Culture and Society, 17/4, p. 1-18.

Li, T.M. (2008) Beyond “the State” and Failed Schemes, in: American Anthropologist, 107/3, pp. 383-394.

Mitchell, T. (1991) The limits of the state : beyond statist approaches and their critics. The American Political Science Review, Vol. 85, n° 1 (March), pp. 77-96.

Rose, N. and Miller, P. (1992) Political Power beyond the state: problematics of government, in: British Journal of Sociology, 43/2, pp. 173-205.

1.d. territory

main readings

Delaney, D. (2008) Territory: A short introduction, Basingstoke: Wiley-Blackwell (chapter 1)

Elden, S. (2010) ‘Land, terrain, territory.’ Progress in Human Geography, 34/6, pp. 799-817.

Painter, J. (2010) ‘Rethinking territory.’ Antipode, 42/5, pp. 1098-1118.


Antonsich, M. (2011) ‘Rethinking territory.’ Progress in Human Geography, 35/3, pp. 422-425.

Brighenti, A. (2006) On territory as relationship and law as territory, in: Canadian Journal of Law and Society, 21/2, pp. 65-86.

Del Biaggio, C. (2016) Teritory beyond the anglophone tradition, in: Agnew, J., Mamadouh, V., Secor, A. and Sharp, J. The Wiley Blackwell Companion to Political Geography: Wiley-Blackwell. 2016, p. 568

Kuus M. and Agnew J. (2007) Theorizing the state geographically: sovereignty, subjectivity, territoriality, in: Cox K.R., Low, M. and Robinson J. (2007) Handbook of political geography, Thousand Oaks CA, Sage (Handapparat).

Murphy, A. B. (2013). ‘Territory’s Continuing Allure.’ Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 103/5, pp. 1212–1226.

1.e. margins, frontiers, territorialization

main readings

Tsing, A. (2003) Natural Resources and Capitalist Frontiers , in: Economic and Political weekly, 38/48, pp. 5100-5106.

Rasmussen, M.B. and Lund, C. (2018) Reconfiguring Frontier Spaces: The territorialization of resource control, in: World Development, 101: 388-399


Abrams, P. (1988) Notes on the Difficulty of Studying the State, in: Journal of Historical Sociology Vol. 1 No. 1 March

Aretxaga, B. (2003) Maddening states, in: Annual Review of Anthropology, 32, pp, 393–410.

Asad, T. (2004) Where are the margins of the state? In Anthropology in the Margins of the State, ed. Veena Das and Deborah Poole. Santa Fe: School of American

Research Press, 279-88.

Das V. and Poole D. (2004) Anthropology in the margins of the state, Santa Fe, School of American Research Press (introduction)

Korf, B. and Raeymaekers, T. (2013) Violence on the margins: states, conflict, and borderlands, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan (introduction)

Pereira, G. (2015) The underground frontier, in: Continent, 4.4, pp. 4-11

Roy, A. (2005) Urban Informality: toward an epistemology of planning, in: Journal of the American Planning Association, Vol. 71, No. 2, Spring, pp. 147-158.

Thomassen, B. (2009) The Uses and Meanings of Liminality, in: International Political Anthropology, 2/1, pp. 5-27.

Trudeau, D. (2008) Towards a relational view of the shadow state, in: Political Geography 27, pp. 669-690.

Tsing, A. (2003) Natural Resources and Capitalist Frontiers , in: Economic and Political weekly, 38/48, pp. 5100-5106.

Wacquant, L. (2010) desigining urban seclusion in the twenty-first centuty, in: Perspecta, The Yale Architectural Journal, nr. 43, Harvard.

Wacquant, L., Slater, T. and Borges Pereira, V. (2014) territorial stigmatization in action, in: Environment and Planning A, 46, pp. 1270-1280.

1.f. borders


Newman, D. (2003) ‘On borders and power: a theoretical framework.’ Journal of Borderlands Studies, 18/1, pp. 13-25.

Donnan, H. and Wilson, T.M. (1999) Borders: frontiers of identity, nation and state, Oxford and New York, Berg (introduction)

Hamilakis, Y. (2016) Archaeologies of Forced and Undocumented Migration. In: Journal of Contemporary Archaeology, Jg. 3, Nr. 2, S. 121-139.

Rajaram, P.M. and Grundy-War, C. (2007) Borderscapes: hidden geographies and politics at territory’s edge, Minneapolis, Minnesota University Press.


Amilhat-Szary, A., Giraut, F. (2015) Borderities and the politics of contemporary mobile borders, Basingstoke: Palgrave MacMillan (introduction).

Basu, P. & Coleman, S. (2008) Introduction: Migrant Worlds, material cultures. In: Mobilities, Jg. 3, Nr. 3, S. 313-330.

De Léon, J. (2015) The Land of Open Graves: Living and Dying on the Migrant Trail. Berkeley: UC Press.

Hicks, D. & Mallet, S. (2019) Lande: The Calais ‘Jungle’ and Beyond. Bristol: Bristol University Press (available online)

Korf, B. and T. Raeymaekers (2013) Border, frontier, and the geography of rule at the margins of the state, in: Korf, B. and T. Raeymaekers (eds) Violence on the margins: State, conflict, and borderlands, New York: Macmillan (introduction).

Mezzadra, S. and Neilson, B. (2013) Border as method, or, the multiplication of labor, Durham and London: Duke University Press (intro, chapter 1).

Mould, O. (2018) The not-so-concrete Jungle: Material precarity in the Calais refugee camp. In: Cultural Geographies, Jg. 25, Nr. 3, S. 393–409.

Novak, P. (2011) the flexible territoriality of borders, in: Geopolitics, 16:4, ONLY pp. 741-748).

Walters, W. (2006) Rethinking borders beyond the state, in: Comparative European Politics, 4, pp. 141–159.

2. themes

2.1. geographies of citizenship


Staeheli, L. (2010) Political geography: Where's citizenship? In: Prog Hum Geogr, 35/1, pp. 393-400.


Agamben, G. (2008) beyond human rights, in: Open, 15, pp. 90-95.

Isin, E,. and Nielsen, G. (2008) Introduction. In Isin E, Nielsen G (eds) Acts of citizenship, London: Zed Books, pp. 1–12

Kratochwil, F. (1994) Citizenship: On the Border of Order? in: Alternatives, 19/4, pp. 485–506.

Lombardi-Diop, C. & Romeo, C. (2015) Italy's Postcolonial ‘Question’: Views from the Southern Frontier of Europe, in: Postcolonial Studies, 18:4, pp. 367-383.

2.2. geographies of war

main readings

Gregory (2011) The everywhere war, in: The Geographical Journal, Vol. 177, No. 3, September, pp. 238–250.

Kaldor, M. (2013 – third edition) New and old wars: organised violence in a global era, Cambridge: Polity Press (introduction and conclusion).

Keen, David (1998) The economic functions of violence in civil wars (special issue). Adelphi Papers, 38 (320). pp. 1-89

Le Billon, P., The Political Ecology of War: Natural Resources and Armed Conflicts, in: Political Geography, 20 (2001), pp. 561-584


Bakonyi Jutta & Berit Bliesemann De Guevara (2009): The mosaic of violence – an introduction, in: Civil Wars, 11:4, pp. 397-413

Demmers, J. (2012) Theories of violent conflict: an introduction, Milton Park: Routledge (Handapparat).

Duffield M., (2001) Global governance and the new wars: the merging of development and security, London, Zed books (chapter 7)

Kalyvas, S. (2001) “New” and “old” civil wars: a valid distinction? in: World Politics 54 (October), pp. 99–118.

Kobayashi, A. (2009) Geographies of Peace and Armed Conflict, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 99(5), pp. 819–826.

Koopman, S. (2011) Alter-geopolitics: Other securities are happening, in: Geoforum, 42, pp. 274284.

Korf, B. (2006) Cargo cult science, armchair empiricism and the idea of violent conflict. Third World Quarterly, Vol. 27, n° 3, pp. 459-476.

Korf, Benedikt , Engeler, Michelle and Hagmann, Tobias (2010) The Geography of Warscape, in: Third World Quarterly, 31: 3, 385-399.

Le Billon, P., The Political Ecology of War: Natural Resources and Armed Conflicts, in: Political Geography, 20 (2001), pp. 561-584

Korf, B. (2006) Cargo cult science, armchair empiricism and the idea of violent conflict. Third World Quarterly, Vol. 27, n° 3, pp. 459-476.

Marchal, R. et Messiant, C. (2002) De l’avidité des rebelles. L’analyse économique de la guerre civile selon Paul Collier. Critique Internationale, n° 16 (juillet), pp. 58-69.

Reno, W. (2002b) The politics of insurgency in collapsing states, in: Development and Change, Vol. 33, n° 5, pp. 837-858.

3. mobile policies

main readings

Peck, J. and Theodore, N. (2010) Mobilizing policy: models, methods, and mutations, in: Geoforum, 41, pp. 169–174


Barnett C, Cloke P, Clarke N and Malpass A (2005) Consuming ethics: Articulating subjects and spaces of ethical consumption, in: Antipode 37(1), pp. 23–45

Larner, W., Laurie, N. (2010) Travelling technocrats, embodied knowledges: globalising privatisation in telecoms and water, in: Geoforum, 41 (2), 218– 226.

Robertson, D.B. (1991) Political conflict and lesson-drawing, in: Journal of Public Policy, 11 (1), 55–78.

Case study: ‘conflict minerals’ in Central Africa

Vogel, C. and Raeymaekers, T. (2016) ‘Terr(it)or(ies) of peace? The Congolese mining frontier and the fight against ‘conflict minerals’, in: Antipode, 48 (September), pp. 1102-1121.

Smith J (2011) Tantalus in the Digital Age: Coltan ore, temporal dispossession, and “movement” in the Eastern Congo. American Ethnologist , 38(1):17–35




Metodi didattici

Students are not a mere passive recipients but  active participants in the learning process through critical reading, writing, and discussion. Attending students are required to attend at least 75% of classes in presence.

Modalità di verifica e valutazione dell'apprendimento

Study of the main texts

Participation in the educational activities that will take place during the lessons (the slides will serve as a support but are not considered exam material)

Writing of two short essays (max. 1500 words) on two topics that will be introduced during the course

Non-attending students are required to study
1.  the compulsory texts listed in the course bibliography:
2. one of the monographs listed below, based on the student's interest:

Duffield, M. (2013) Postmodern Wars. Humanitarian aid as a political control technique.

Fassin, D. (2018) Humanitarian Reason. A moral history of the present.

Olivier de Sardan, J-P. (2008) Anthropology and development: essay on social change

Latouche (2021) Brief history of degrowth. Origin, objectives, misunderstandings and futures, Turin: Bollati Bolingheri.

evaluation method:
The course will be evaluated as follows:

Two written texts: 70%
Exam: 30%

The exam involves an oral test. Enrollments are made on AlmaEsami.
The evaluation is aimed at verifying the understanding of the geographical, social and cultural phenomena described during the lessons, introduced both through the teacher's lectures and through the works carried out and presented directly by the students and discussed in class.
Structurally, each essay consists of the following parts: (1) an abstract detailing the research question and thesis statement (hypothetical answer), (2) a body of text in which you address the question point-by-point in a conceptual way (ie addressing the main concepts and briefly evoking one or more examples); (3) a conclusion that links the argument back to the initial question.



Non-attending students are required to take an oral exam, to be booked on AlmaEsami. During the exam, the student will be invited to propose a personal reading of the compulsory texts and of the chosen reading. Furthermore, the evaluation takes into account the student's communication skills, including an appropriate language and analytical demonstration of the acquired competences and skills.


Strumenti a supporto della didattica

Powerpoint presentations used during the frontal lessons will be made available among the teaching materials but are not considered exam material.

Orario di ricevimento

Consulta il sito web di Timothy Raeymaekers