About the Department
The UNC-CH Geography Department provides an excellent program of courses and related activities for students interested in environmental science and policy, global issues and international studies, regional economic development, health geography, urbanism, place and culture. Faculty research and graduate training specializes in five teaching and research areas: (1) Earth Systems Science, (2) Geographic Information Science, (3) Nature-Society and Human-Environment Relations, (4) International Development and Globalization, and (5) Culture, Space, and Identity.
The Earth System Science geographers, including Professors Band, Konrad, Moody, Song, Walsh, and Wise, focus on issues of hydrologic and fluvial systems, sediment transport, biogeography and ecosystem carbon budget processes, landscape level nutrient cycling, hydro-climate, climate variability and ecosystem response.
Geographic Information scientists including Professors Walsh, Band, Emch, Gray, Havice, Moody, Song, and Valdivia focus research on spatial analysis of human systems of the tropics, urban environments and biogeographic distributions. They develop and apply state-of-the-art techniques in remote sensing, image processing and terrain analysis to a variety of ecosystem and human-environment problems.
Geographers in the department interested in issues relating to Nature-Society and Human-Environment Relations focus on analytical and theoretical perspectives in ecology, cultural ecology, political ecology, and science and technology studies. These include Larry Band, Steve Birdsall, Michael Emch, John Florin, Clark Gray, Elizabeth Havice, Ken Hillis (adjunct: Communication Studies), Scott Kirsch, Melinda Meade, Aaron Moody, Sara Smith, Gabriela Valdivia, and Steve Walsh.
Geographers working on issues related to International Development and Globalization focus their work on issues relating to the global economy, transnationalism, global cultures and health, and the Global South, with particular foci on the processes of globalization (and the anti-globalization and global justice movements they have stimulated). Students and faculty work on processes that are re-shaping the geographies of international and local capital, labor, technology, information, health, goods and services. Individual faculty members study the cultural, urban and economic systems of the United States, Central America, Brazil, South Africa, Central Europe, and South and East Asia. They develop and use a variety of social science theory and approaches. They include Altha Cravey, Clark Gray, Elizabeth Havice, Scott Kirsch, Nina Martin, Melinda Meade, John Pickles, Sara Smith, Gabriela Valdivia, Steve Walsh, Arturo Escobar (adjunct: Anthropology).
Geographers in the Culture, Space, and Identity cluster have current research interests in political economy, cultural-social geographies, and health geographies. In addition, the study of social spaces introduces students to various aspects of the history and philosophy of geography, spatial analysis and public policy, social theory and cultural studies, gender studies and feminism, and science and technology studies. Faculty members in this cluster include Steve Birdsall, Altha Cravey, Clark Gray, Elizabeth Havice, John Florin, Scott Kirsch, Nina Martin, Melinda Meade, John Pickles, Sara Smith, Gabriela Valdivia, Arturo Escobar (adjunct: Anthropology), Ken Hillis (adjunct: Communication Studies).
The department has substantial research funding from a variety of sources including NSF, NASA, USDA, NIH, and EPA, as well as from state agencies and private foundations. The department has strong connections with major research and teaching centers at UNC including the Carolina Institute for the Environment, the Center for the Study of the Galapagos, the Global Education Center, the Carolina Population Center, the Center for Global Initiatives, the Curriculum in Environment and Ecology, the Curriculum in International and Area Studies, the Institute for the Arts and Humanities, the Sheps Center for Health Service Research, Women's Studies, the Center for Urban and Regional Studies, the Latin American Studies Program, the Center for European Studies and the EU Center, for East European and Russian Studies, the Carolina Asia Center, the Center for Middle East and Muslim Civilizations, the Odum Center for Social Science Research, and the University Program in Cultural Studies.