Dr Christopher Muellerleile

Dr Christopher Muellerleile
Lecturer
Geography
Telephone: (01792) 295481
Room: Academic Office - 225 BB
Second Floor
Wallace Building
Singleton Campus

Hello! 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 PhD 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. 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 eventual 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.

I welcome inquiries from potential post-graduate students interested in studying any aspect of financial geography, financialization, and critical engagements with financial markets and instruments, and their relationships with urban space and digital technology. I am also happy to converse with potential students interested in other processes of commodification, marking making, urban economic development, and digital geographies.

Areas of Expertise

  • Financialsation
  • Political economy of markets
  • Knowledge and information economies
  • Open access publishing
  • Chicago

Publications

  1. Decrypting the Place of Money in History. In Domosh, M., Heffernan, M., Withers, C (Ed.), Handbook of historical geography. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  2. Calming Speculative Traffic: An Infrastructural Theory of Financial Markets. Economic Geography, 1-20.
  3. & The moral economy of open access. European Journal of Social Theory, 136843101771736
  4. Open Access Panacea: Scarcity, abundance, and enclosure in the new economy of academic knowledge production. In Lave, R., Randalls, S., Tyfield, D., Thorpe, C. (Ed.), Routledge Handbook of Political Economy of Science.

See more...

Teaching

  • GEG268 Dissertation Preparation

    The module prepares students for their independent research dissertation through dissertation fairs, lectures and a series of tutorials focusing upon the formulation and construction of a research proposal. The module also includes three lectures which explore career opportunities for Geography graduates and skills to enhance graduate employability.

  • GEG331 Dissertation Report: Geography

    The dissertation is an original, substantive and independent research project in an aspect of Geography. It is typically based on approximately 20 - 25 days of primary research and several weeks of analysis and write-up. The end result must be less than 10,000 words of text. The dissertation offers you the chance to follow your personal interests and to demonstrate your capabilities as a Geographer. During the course of your dissertation you will be supported by a student-led discussion group and a staff supervisor, and you will also provide constructive criticism to fellow students undertaking related research projects, learning from their research problems and subsequent solutions. This support and supervision is delivered through the 'Dissertation Support' module, which is a co-requisite.

  • GEG332 Dissertation Support: Geography

    This module provides structured, student-led peer-group support and academic staff group supervision for students undertaking the 30-credit 'Dissertation Report: Geography' module. This support and supervision is assessed through the submission of a PowerPoint Poster in TB1 and the submission in TB2 of an individually composed, critical and reflective log of the 5 dissertation peer-group meetings and the 4 group supervisory meetings (with a verified record of attendance at meetings). Working within a supervised Student Peer Group, you will also have the opportunity to provide constructive criticism to fellow students undertaking related research projects, learning from their research problems and subsequent solutions. This module complements the 'Dissertation Report: Geography' module, which is a co-requisite.

  • GEG346 Capital and Labour in the 21st century

    This module explores the fundamental shift in manufacturing best-practice in developed capitalist economies in recent decades. Conventional theories of industrial location are contrasted with more `radical¿ contemporary theories which emphasize the importance of culture and social capital in the economy. A continual quest for production flexibility has implications for the function of labour within the production process and the segmentation of work and job opportunities within local labour markets, the strategies of labour unions, the utilization of technology within firms and the extent and nature of inter-firm relationships. Spatially, the geography of production has become associated with the dual tendencies towards increased agglomeration, associated with so-called industrial districts and clusters, and globalisation, increasingly associated with global production and value chains.

Supervision

  • Why is London a hub for high-frequency trading? (current)

    Student name:
    MSc
    Other supervisor: Dr Kevin Rees
  • David Harvey’s Concept of Historical Geographical Materialism: A Critical Assessment (current)

    Student name:
    PhD
    Other supervisor: Prof David / Dave Clarke