Dr Christopher Muellerleile

Dr Christopher Muellerleile
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


  1. Muellerleile, C. Platforms, Merchants, and Market Space (Ed.), Market/place Newcastle Agenda
  2. Muellerleile, C., Lewis, N., Muellerleile, C. Re-assembling knowledge production with(out) the university Globalisation, Societies and Education 1 10
  3. Muellerleile, C. The Place of Money in History Domosh, M., Heffernan, M., Withers, C.(Ed.), Handbook of historical geography Thousand Oaks, CA Sage
  4. Muellerleile, C., Muellerleile, C. Calming Speculative Traffic: An Infrastructural Theory of Financial Markets Economic Geography 1 20
  5. Bacevic, J., Muellerleile, C., Muellerleile, C. The moral economy of open access European Journal of Social Theory 136843101771736

See more...


  • GEG110 First Year - Dale Field Trip

    Dale Field course The Dale Field course is a weekend residential field trip for Year 1 Geography students. The aim of the course is to undertake human and physical geography field work in conjunction with the Field Studies Centre in Dale Village, Pembrokeshire. Although field work will be undertaken, the module is un-credited, as the main aim of the trip is to allow the students a safe space to meet and engage with fellow students. This module is has been developed as a response to feedback (University, and NSS) that suggested students needed a way of meeting and socialising before their Year 2 international field trips.

  • GEG131 Cities

    Cities have captured the cultural imagination for centuries as blueprints of possible future lives, but they are also the places of the most pressing social struggles of our time. This module will introduce you to these issues by examining both urbanization - the process of city-making - and the various ways that Geographers study that process.

  • GEG265 Approaches to Human Geography

    This module aims to introduce students to the history and philosophy of Human Geography and the range of alternative approaches characterizing the discipline. In addition to conveying the main approaches and their evolution, their implications in terms of research practice are given particular emphasis. The way in which alternative approaches to human geography have developed and what this entails for research is approached partly through lectures on key paradigms and thinkers in the history of the discipline and a literature review.

  • 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.

  • GEG333 Geographical Research Frontiers

    This module provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate their competence as a Geographer by undertaking a critical analysis of a wide variety of literature-based sources in order to develop a cogent, substantial, and persuasive argument. While the Dissertation in Geography normally focuses on the design and execution of an evidenced-based research project that assesses the capacity of students to undertake effective data analysis and interpretation, the purpose of this module is to assess the extent to which students are capable of engaging with the academic literature at the frontier of a particular part of Geography. Students select from a wide range of research frontiers in Human and Physical Geography that have been identified by the academic staff within the Department. Given that this module emphasizes student-centred learning, none of the frontiers will have been covered in other modules, although in many cases modules will have taken students up to some of these frontiers. However, to orientate students and provide them with suitable points of departure and way-stations, there will be a brief introduction to each frontier and a short list of pivotal references disseminated via Blackboard. (Note: The topic selected by you must not overlap with the subject of your Dissertation. If there is any doubt about potential overlap, this must be discussed with your Dissertation Support Group supervisor and agreed in writing.)

  • 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.

  • GEGM16 Advanced Research in Human Geography

    This module explores the ways in which contemporary theoretical, epistemological and methodological debates in the social sciences inform research in Human Geography and aims to develop students' understandings of the distinctive contribution of Geographical knowledge to these debates. Students engage with the Human Geography research community and enhance their ability to reflect critically on their own research practice. The module comprises a series of reading-group meetings plus an intensive residential Theory School run in collaboration with the Institute of Geography and Earth Sciences, Aberystwyth University and the School of City and Regional Planning, Cardiff University, under the auspices of the Economic and Social Research Council¿s Wales Doctoral Training Centre (DTC).


  • David Harvey’s Concept of Historical Geographical Materialism: A Critical Assessment (current)

    Other supervisor: Prof David / Dave Clarke
  • Understanding Statelessness / Experiencing Statelessness in the UK (current)

    Other supervisor: Dr Amanda Rogers
    Other supervisor: Dr Angharad Closs Stephens
  • An Uncertain Future: Will London Remain a Hub for High–Frequency Trading Post–Brexit? (awarded 2019)

    Other supervisor: Dr Kevin Rees