Culture, Place, and Flows

This specialty focuses on the traditional flows of culture (i.e., beliefs, representations, media, art, and rituals) from one place to another. The direction and intensity of these flows follow uneven relations of power, such as those connecting the US and the rest of the world.

Environmental Change

This research theme is about developing a better understanding of the earth’s interconnected environmental systems: vegetation, climate, water, and soil. Our research is motivated by questions about the character of this environment and why and how it changes.

Geographies of the Information Society

Research activities in geographic information engage the changes accompanying the use of geographic information and related technologies from several perspectives that emphasize synergistic analyses and theoretical contributions.


Visualizing geospatial data, processes, analyses, and models: collectively, these new methods are referred to as geovisualization techniques, and they have provided exciting new ways for synthesizing and understanding geospatial data.

Globalization and Uneven Development

An opportunity to examine the political-economic processes underlying inequalities in income and livelihood, the geographies they produce, and the impact of these geographies on societal change in an increasingly capitalist global system.

Governance, Citizenship, and Justice

New technological connectivities are disrupting conventional spatial divisions of governance and spaces of citizenship, and they have raised questions about the future relations between states and citizens, peoples and communities, and the implications of such developments for inequality and justice across the globe.

Metropolis and World

Since the mid-1960s, urban geographers have taken advantage of the University's location in a major metropolitan area. Current research examines the growth and development of the Twin Cities, other towns in the Upper Midwest, and processes of worldwide urban change.

Nature and Society

The new generation of Minnesota geographers is pursuing the profound philosophical, political, ethical, and scientific implications of the increasingly unsettled boundary between nature and society, or human and animal.