Galen Murton

 

Assistant Professor, Geography
murtongb@jmu.edu
Contact Info

I am a human geographer with broad research and teaching interests in the politics of international development. My ongoing research project examines the social and geopolitical implications of infrastructure development across the Himalayan borderlands of Highland Asia, primarily between Tibet and Nepal. I also study local experiences with international aid in post-disaster landscapes and the impacts of Chinese aid and work programs at different scales. More recently, I have been asking what’s the matter with infrastructure in America and am curious about the possibilities for infrastructural justice in post-industrial national contexts. Related to these projects and my classroom instruction, I also like to teach and research with students in mountain regions of Asia and the Americas.

Education
  • Ph.D. Geography, University of Colorado Boulder
  • M.A. International Relations, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
  • B.A. Religion, Middlebury College
Scholarly Interests/Research Topics
  • Cultural Geography
  • Critical Geopolitics
  • Development Studies
  • Critical Cartography
  • Infrastructure Studies
  • Disaster
  • Borders
  • Trade
  • Theory
  • Tibetan and Himalayan Studies
Courses Taught
  • Geography 280: Human Geography
  • Geography 305: History and Philosophy of Geography 
  • Geography 344: Globalization and Development
  • Geography 350: Himalayan Geographies
  • Geography 380: Cultural Geography
  • Geography 470: Critical Cartography
  • Geography 470: Infrastructures and Politics
  • Geography 470: Political Geographies of China’s Belt and Road Initiative
Selected Experience
  • Membership Chair, Executive Council member, Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies (2014-present)
  • Governing Board Member, Political Geography Specialty Group, American Association of Geographers (2020-21)
  • Development, direction, and risk management for international study abroad programs (India, China/Tibet, Bhutan, and Nepal: 2005-2013)
  • Instructor for Hurricane Island Outward Bound School/Outward Bound USA (2005-2008)
Research Affiliations
Recent Publications

Books

Heslop, L. and G. Murton, eds. 2021. Highways and Hierarchies: Ethnographies of Mobility from the Himalaya to the Indian Ocean. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. DOI: https://www.aup.nl/en/book/9789463723046/highways-and-hierarchies

 

Peer-Reviewed Articles and Book Chapters

Szadziewski, H., M. Mostafanezhad, and G. Murton. 2022. “Territorialization on Tour: The Tourist Gaze along the Silk Road Economic Belt in Kashgar, China.” Geoforum 128: 135-147. DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2021.12.010

Murton, G. 2021. “The Power of Blank Spaces: A Critical Cartography of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.” Asia Pacific Viewpoint 62(3): 274-280. DOI: 10.1111/apv.12318

Murton, G. and N. Plachta. 2021. “China in Nepal: On the Politics of BRI Development in South Asia.” Chapter 28 (pp. 332-341) in Research Handbook on the Belt and Road Initiative, eds. J. Chinyong Liouw, H. Liu, an X Gong. London: Edward Elgar.

Murton, G. and T. Sigdel. 2021. “Stuck on the Side of the Road: Mobility, Marginality, and Neoliberal Governmentality in Nepal.” Chapter 2 (pp. 39-68) in Highways and Hierarchies: Ethnographies of Mobility from the Himalaya to the Indian Ocean, eds. L. Heslop and G. Murton. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv207pj32.6

Heslop, L. and G. Murton. 2021. “Introduction.” Chapter 1 (pp. 21-38) in Highways and Hierarchies: Ethnographies of Mobility from the Himalaya to the Indian Ocean, eds. L. Heslop and G. Murton. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv207pj32.5

Murton, G. 2021. “Post-disaster Development Zones and Dry Ports as Geopolitical Infrastructures in Nepal.” Chapter 1 (pp. 33-54) in Development Zones in Asian Borderlands, eds. M. Chettri and M. Eilenberg. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv1pncrbr.5

Murton, G. 2020. “Roads to China and Infrastructural Relations in Nepal.” Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space 38(5): 840-847. DOI: 10.1177/2399654420911410g

Murton, G. and A. Lord. 2020. “Trans-Himalayan Power Corridors: Infrastructural Politics and China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Nepal.” Political Geography 77. DOI: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2019.102100

Oliveira, G., G. Murton, A. Rippa, T. Harlan, and Y. Yang. 2020. “China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Views from the Ground.” Political Geography 82. DOI: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2020.102225

Rippa, A., G. Murton, and M. Rest. 2020. “Building Highland Asia in the 21st Century.” Verge: Studies in Global Asias 6(2). DOI: https://doi.org/10.5749/vergstudglobasia.6.2.0083

Lewison, E. and G. Murton. 2020. “Geographical Scholarship in Nepal: Sustainability, Infrastructure, Disaster, and Power.” SINHAS: Studies in Nepali History and Society 25(1): 15-58. ISSN: 1025-5109. URL: http://www.martinchautari.org.np/index.php/52-publications/journals1/sinhas/1031-sinhas-volume-25-number-1

Lewison, E., G. Murton, D. Paudel, and K. Rankin. 2020. “Introduction to Special Issue: Nepal Geographies.” SINHAS: Studies in Nepali History and Society 25(1): 3-14. ISSN: 1025-5109. PRF: http://www.martinchautari.org.np/files/SINHAS-Articles/SINHAS-vol.25-no1_Introduction.pdf

 

Public Scholarship

Citrin, D., Wangmo, T., Shrestha, A., Craig, S., Rankin, S., and Murton, G. 2021. “Why we can’t ignore Nepal’s covid-19 crisis,” BMJ, September 17. https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2021/09/17/why-we-cannot-ignore-nepals-covid-19-crisis/

Murton, G. 2021. “Geopolitical Gravity and Blanks on the BRI Map; or why what is missing really matters.” Transformations: Downstream Effects of the BRIBelt and Road in Global Perspective, July 20. https://munkschool.utoronto.ca/beltandroad/article/geopolitical-gravity-and-blanks-on-the-bri-map-or-why-what-is-missing-really-matters/

Rankin, K., Citrin, D., Craig, S., and G. Murton. 2021. “With COVID 19 Cases Surging, Nepal Asks Global Community for Urgent Vaccine Help.” The Conversation online, May 26. https://theconversation.com/with-covid-19-cases-surging-nepal-asks-global-community-for-urgent-vaccine-help-161333

Murton, G. and A. Lord. 2021. “Deconstructing China’s Infrastructure Investments in Nepal.” Sambandh: Regional Connectivity Initiative, Center for Social and Economic Progress (CSEP online), May 11. https://csep.org/blog/deconstructing-chinas-infrastructure-investments-in-nepal/

 

Edited Special Issues

Oliveira, G., G. Murton, A. Rippa, T. Harlan, and Y. Yang. 2020. Themed Issue: “China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Views from the Ground.” Political Geographyhttps://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/political-geography/special-issue/10H61ZGZNZD

Lewison, E., G. Murton, D. Paudel and K. Rankin. 2020. “Special Theme: Nepal Geographies.” SINHAS: Studies in Nepali History and Society 25(1): http://www.martinchautari.org.np/index.php/52-publications/journals1/sinhas/1031-sinhas-volume-25-number-1

Murton, G. 2019. Special Issue: “Labor.” Roadsides 002. DOI: https://roadsides.net/collection002/

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