Profile picture of Alexander Murphy

Alexander Murphy

Professor Emeritus (part-time Professor, 2019-2024)
Rippey Chair in Liberal Arts & Sciences, 1998-2019
Phone: 541-346-4571
Office: 151 Condon Hall
Office Hours: In person Mon 4-5PM Condon Hall 151, Zoom Tue 4-5PM
Research Interests: Cultural and political geography, Europe, law and geography.


ALEXANDER B. MURPHY is Professor Emeritus of Geography at the University of Oregon (phased retirement, 2019-2024), where he held the James F. and Shirley K. Rippey Chair in Liberal Arts and Sciences from 1998-2019. He specializes in political, cultural, and environmental geography, with regional emphases in Europe and the Middle East. He was elected to membership in the Academia Europaea in 2014, he is a Past President of the Association of American Geographers, and he is currently Senior Vice President of the American Geographical Society. He co-edited Progress in Human Geography for eleven years, and Eurasian Geography and Economics for eight years. In the late 1990s he led the effort to add geography to the College Board’s Advanced Placement Program. In the early 2000s he chaired the National Academy of Sciences — National Research Council Committee charged with identifying “Strategic Directions for the Geographical Sciences.”

Alec Murphy is the author of more than 100 articles and several books, including The Regional Dynamics of Language Differentiation in Belgium (University of Chicago, 1988), Cultural Encounters with the Environment (edited with Douglas Johnson; Rowman & Littlefield, 2000), Geography: Why It Matters (Polity Press, 2018), Human Geography: People, Place, and Culture 12th ed. (with Erin Fouberg; Wiley, 2020), and The European Culture Area, 7th ed. (with Terry Jordan-Bychkov and Bella Bychkova Jordan; Rowman & Littlefield, 2020). He is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including a Fulbright-Hays Research Grant in 1985, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in 1991, a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award in the mid-1990s, a National Council for Geographic Education Distinguished Teaching Award in 2001, Gilbert Grosvenor Honors for Geographic Education from the Association of American Geographers in 2008, a Queen Mary (University of London) Distinguished Visiting Fellowship in 2009, a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Residency Fellowship in 2011, a University of Oregon Thomas Herman Distinguished Teaching Award in 2012, and the Association of American Geographers’ Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.

B.A., 1977, Yale; J.D., 1981, Columbia; Ph.D., 1987, Chicago.



Professor Murphy is a political-cultural geographer with regional specialties in Europe and the Middle East. His work focuses on the ways in which the changing political organization of space reflects and shapes ethnic, socio-economic, and environmental processes; the foundations and consequences of influential geopolitical ideas and assumptions; the role of legal and political arrangements in mediating human-environment relations; and the importance of geographical education for efforts to address critical challenges facing the contemporary world


Courses offered 2022-2023 and 2023-2024

  • GEOG 202: Geography of Europe
  • GEOG 441/541: Political Geography