GEOG 128
Geography of International Affairs

Who and Why?


Required Reading

Please begin by reading Chapter 9 of Flint, C. (2012). Introduction to geopolitics (2nd ed.). London: Routledge.

The models, theories, and frameworks presented in Flint’s book work to formulate our understanding of geopolitics through focusing on particular sets of agents and structures. These agents have to simultaneously negotiate various opportunities and constraints of numerous structures at a variety of scales (from local to global). Furthermore, geopolitical agents have and must balance multiple goals as they juggle their multi-layered identities.

Many of these models, theories, and frameworks can seem abstract when trying to map them on top of personal experiences of loss, physical, and emotional trauma, or other social conflict. Nonetheless, understanding some of the geopolitical structures that underlie political-conflict-that-has-been-made-personal can help to shed light on the particular geopolitical context within which we/they are in.

As You Read/Watch

In the following sections, I provide you with a variety of different examples that highlight struggles and experiences at the individual or personal scale, but which are very much caught in the nexus of numerous geopolitical scales and structures. As you go through the articles and watch the video clips, think about the multiple identities that the featured individual(s) occupy and how they work together or compete with each other to create the particular situation facing that individual. What are the multiple structures (political, economic, religious, ethnicity, age, gender, etc.) that have created the “opportunities and constraints” within which the individual must navigate? What are the multiple identities the individual must negotiate? Flint provides an analysis of the examples given in the text (some of which parallel the examples provided below). As you review the following articles and clips, apply this analytical lens to think about who is at odds with whom and why.