Dr Christopher Muellerleile

Senior Lecturer, Geography
Academic Office - 244
Second Floor
Wallace Building
Singleton Campus
Available For Postgraduate Supervision


I am an urban and economic geographer, and political economist. My research focuses on the spatial dynamics of markets and commodities, in both the past and present. I am particularly interested in the social and political processes involved with building and maintaining financial markets, as well as markets for information and knowledge. I research the ways these markets and related infrastructure are both dependent upon, and contribute to the uneven production of cities and urban space.

I received a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2013, and was subsequently appointed as a Marie Curie post-doctoral fellow at the University of Bristol where I stayed through 2015. I have been at Swansea University since early 2016.
Over the past five years, much of my research has focused on two related projects. The first is a genealogy of the development of financial derivatives and their regulation in Chicago in the 1970s and 1980s. In part, the project demonstrates how the geographic origins (Chicago) of these instruments and markets helps explain the ‘pre-history’ of the Global Financial Crisis of 2008. I am currently researching cryptocurrency derivatives and their regulation by the U.S. and U.K., a project funded by the British Academy. My second project examines the marketization of academic and scientific knowledge in the digital age. I have been particularly interested in the many complications and contradictions of open access academic publishing, not least the ways that ‘opening up’ knowledge has engendered new closures.

I grew up in a rural area outside of the Twin Cities in Minnesota, U.S.A. at a time when it was quickly changing into a sprawling suburb. Observing first-hand the transformation of the landscape affected me deeply as a young person, and probably overdetermined my later interest in urbanisation and geography. But, prior to my life as an academic, I worked in the financial sector for eight years. Through this experience, I gained a deep understanding of the technical infrastructures that financial markets depend on to operate, but also first-hand experience of the day-to-day life of corporate work and management, capitalist accumulation, and bureaucratic politics. While this may explain my interest in financial markets, among other things, it also contributes to my ongoing interest in the restructuring of universities to resemble private firms.

Areas Of Expertise

  • Financial geography, financialization, and financial markets
  • Urban financial centres
  • Money and banking
  • Cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and digital assets
  • Markets and marketization
  • Commodities and commodification
  • Knowledge and information economies

Career Highlights

Teaching Interests

I welcome enquiries from potential PhD students. The Geography Department at Swansea University participates in several doctoral training schemes that provide fully funded PhD studentships. These include the ESRC funded Wales Graduate School for the Social Sciences.