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Gary Fields

Professor

My work is situated in the field of historical geography and focuses on conflicts over land, and how landscapes are representations of power. Through comparative case studies, my work reveals how dominant groups in different historical and geographical environments remake landscapes as a pathway to economic, political and social domination. At the core of my research is a commitment to theoretically-driven, actor-centered accounts of power and territorial transformation. My work seeks to build a theory of power and the process of development by fusing geography, history, and political economy while maintaining a commitment to a scholarship of activism and critical engagement with the world.

You can download a PDF of my Curriculum Vitae here: Curriculum Vitae of Dr. Gary Fields (PDF)

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 a review of Enclosure in the New York Review of Books.

Read a review of Enclosure in the American Association of Geography Review of Books

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

  • COMM 100C: Communication, Instituions and Power
  • COMM 158: Representations of the Israeli / Palestinian Conflict
  • COMM 100c  "Communication, Institutions and Power"
  • COMM 131  "Dissent, Protest, and Social Movements"
  • COMM 158  "Representations of the Israeli / Palestinian Conflict"
  • COGR 201  "Crafting Research: Historical, Geographic, and Visual Methods for Dissertation Research"