Galen Murton


Assistant Professor, GS
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 High Asia, primarily between Tibet and Nepal. I also study local experiences with international aid in post-disaster landscapes. More recently, I have started to examine what’s wrong with infrastructure in America, and am especially curious about the possibilities for a Green New Deal in post-industrial national contexts. Related to these projects and my classroom instruction, I also like to conduct fieldwork with my students in the mountain ranges of Asia as well as the Americas.

  • 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 380: Cultural Geography
  • Geography 470: Critical Cartography
  • Geography 470: Infrastructures and Politics
  • Membership Chair, Executive Council member, Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies (current)
  • Governing Board Member, Political Geography Specialty Group, American Association of Geographers (current)
  • 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

Oliveira, G., G. Murton, A. Rippa, T. Harlan, and Y. Yang. 2020. “China’s Belt and Road Initiative: Views from the Ground” (Guest Editorial and Introduction to Themed Issue) Political Geography Online First. 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: 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

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

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. 2019. “Trans-Himalayan Power Corridors: Infrastructure Politics and China’s Belt and Road Initiative in Nepal.” Political Geography 77. DOI: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2019.102100

Murton, G. 2019. “Introduction.” Roadsides 2: 1-4. DOI: 10.26034/roadsides-20190021

Murton, G. 2019. “Facing the Fence: The Production and Performance of a Himalayan Border in Global Contexts.” Political Geography 72. DOI: 10.1016/j.polgeo.2019.03.001

Editorships: Special Issues and Edited Volumes

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 Geography:

Lewison, E., G. Murton, D. Paudel and K. Rankin. 2020. “Special Theme: Nepal Geographies.” SINHAS: Studies in Nepali History and Society 25(1):

Murton, G. 2019. Special Issue: “Labor.” Roadsides 002. DOI:

Heslop, L. and G. Murton. (forthcoming 2021). Highways and Hierarchies: Ethnographies of Mobility from the Himalaya to the Indian Ocean. Amsterdam University Press.

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