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Gary Fields


My research is situated in the field of historical geography and focuses on conflicts over land, and how landscapes are representations of the struggles and power relations between dominant groups and the oppressed.   With an emphasis on comparative case studies, my work elevates the idea of territoriality in revealing how dominant groups in different historical and geographical contexts perpetuate their ascendancy by using the power of the state to reorder systems of property rights and remake built environments on territorial landscapes.  My current book project enlists photographic imagery as a complement to territoriality in telling a story of what I call, “Confinement Landscapes in Palestine.”  At the core of my research is a commitment to theoretically-driven, actor-centered empirical accounts of power and territorial transformation.  My work seeks to build a theory of the interplay between power and territorial space by fusing geography, history, political economy, and photography while maintaining a commitment to a scholarship of activism and critical engagement with the world.

Read my account of Israel and the Genocide in Gaza in Jadaliyya:

My CV is hereCurriculum Vitae of Dr. Gary Fields (PDF)

Read my autobiographical Tribute to Noel Ignatiev here

See my photography work here:

fields-book-enclosureEnclosure:  Palestinian Landscapes in a Historical Mirror" (University of California Press, 2017) compares the fragmented and partitioned landscape in Palestine to the landscapes of dispossession during the early modern enclosures in England and the Anglo-American colonial frontier. I argue that the seizure of Palestinian landed property by the state of Israel reflects an enduring territorial practice of enclosing land in which groups with territorial ambitions use power to gain control of land owned and used by other groups already anchored to the landscape. Inspired by a longstanding discourse about property rights and entitlement to “empty” land, such groups seeking territory re-imagine the landscapes they covet as empty, and justify their takeover of these landscapes by referring to themselves as improvers of empty land.

Read Reviews in:

New York Review of Books

American Historical Review

Journal of Palestine Studies

American Association of Geographers Review of Books

Socialism and Democracy

Middle East Monitor

New Books Network (Interview)

KPFA Radio (Interview)

fields-book-territoriesTerritories of Profit (Stanford University Press, 2004) reveals how the capitalist business firm uses force to reshape the economic and physical landscape in order to exploit the innovative potential of communications revolutions and make profit differently.  Capitalist development, I argue in comparing Swift Meatpacking in the 19th century and Dell Computer more recently, is a territorial project, the outcome of corporate power to rearrange elements on the landscape, and reorganize the behavior of other actors in the economic environment in an effort to create new routes to profit-making. 

Read Reviews in:

Selected Articles/Book Chapters