Geographic imaginaries as a general principle: how does the way we see and conceptualize territory affect our understanding of how to control or manage it?
Basic familiarity with epistemology and ontology (i.e. different bases of geographic knowledge and what geographic features different knowledges make visible); what features do we acknowledge exist on the basis of our shared understandings and expectations about territory?
Colonial geopolitics – Orientalist thinking, Western geographic thinking vs. some kinds of indigenous thinking; how does “colonial”-style territorial control persist today?
Imperial geopolitics – competitive, zero-sum game thinking, losing control of territory implies that a rival will take advantage of it; how does this conflict-oriented thinking still inform our sense of foreign relations?
Cold War geopolitics – bipolar thinking, the role of proxies, Domino Theory, containment; what kinds of literal spatial metaphors drive Cold War-style thinking (both contemporary to the Cold War and today)?
Marxist geography / political economy – the tension between geoeconomic smoothness and geopolitical roughness; the desire to ease the movement of goods, people, capital, etc. across the globe running into obstacles that close borders such as nationalism, mistrust, violence; what kinds of events have we seen recently that have interfered with the general global project of breaking down borders?
“Cultural turn” – how do portrayals of different places in cultural products like film, TV, etc. reflect a more general sense of what those places are like? How do those portrayals reflect back on the culture and society that produced them?
Feminist geopolitics – what does it mean that spaces are “feminized” or “masculinized”? What is the significance of spaces considered to be private or public and the kinds of political activity that go on within them?