Skip to Content

Department of Geography


Meredith DeBoom

Title: Assistant Professor
Department: Geography
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-4605
Office: Callcott 125
Resources: Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
Critical Ecologies Website

Department of Geography
Dr. Meredith DeBoom of the USC Geography Department


Meredith J. DeBoom joined the Department of Geography in 2018 after earning a Ph.D. in Geography with a Certificate in Development Studies from the University of Colorado at Boulder. She also holds a B.A. in International Studies and Political Science with minors in Economics and Geography from the University of Iowa. Prior to her academic career, DeBoom worked in public policy with the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Iowa Legislature. She is the Vice President (2021–2023) of the American Association of Geographer’s Political Geography Specialty Group and the Finance Director (2020–2023) of the Africa Specialty Group.


DeBoom is a broadly-trained social scientist whose research analyzes the distributive politics of natural resource extraction and development in sub-Saharan Africa. Her work engages with interdisciplinary research on China-Africa relations, conflict, development, extractive industries, geopolitics, human rights, and postcolonial studies. She is particularly interested in how Africans are engaging with geopolitical, environmental, and demographic transitions, from China’s rising influence as a development model to new proposals for marine mining. DeBoom’s research addresses questions like the following:

  • What roles do natural resources (e.g., uranium, diamonds) play in political processes, including conflict, nationalism, place-making, state-building, and rights claims-making?
  • How are the politics of development and distribution in Africa changing in conjunction with regional and global changes (e.g., the rising influences of China and youth political movements)?
  • How are the costs and benefits of climate change mitigation strategies (e.g., alternative fuels, renewable energy, electric vehicles) distributed?

DeBoom has conducted fieldwork in southern Africa since 2008, with a focus on Namibia. Her research has been supported and/or recognized by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the National Science Foundation, the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, and the University of Michigan Society of Fellows, among other entities. She is also a first-generation college graduate.


  • GEOG 121: Globalization and World Regions
  • GEOG 228: Geography of Sub-Saharan Africa
  • GEOG 380: Global Geography of Human Rights
  • GEOG 515: Political Geography
  • GEOG 735: Seminar in Political Geography
  • SCHC 437: Global Geography of Human Rights (Proseminar in Geography)

Representative Publications

2021. “Climate Necropolitics: Ecological Civilization and the Distributive Geographies of Extractive Violence in the Anthropocene.” Annals of the American Association of Geographers 111, no. 3: 900-912.

2021. “African countries are helping China go green. That may have a downside for Africans.” The Washington Post Monkey Cage. March 12.

2020     “Sovereignty and Climate Necropolitics: The Tragedy of the State System Goes ‘Green’.” In Moisio, Sami, Andrew E.G. Jonas, Natalie Koch, Christopher Lizotte, and Juho Luukkonen, (eds), Handbook on the Changing Geographies of the State: New Spaces of Geopolitics, p. 276–286. Northampton, UK: Edward Elgar.

2020     “Who is Afraid of ‘Debt-Trap Diplomacy’? Geopolitical Narratives, Agency, and the Multiscalar Distribution of Risk.” Area Development and Policy 5, no. 1: 15–22.

2020     “Toward a More Sustainable Energy Transition: Lessons from Chinese Investments in Namibian Uranium.” Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development 62, no. 1, 2–31.

2018     “Nuclear (Geo)Political Ecologies: A Hybrid Geography of Chinese Investment in Namibia’s Uranium Sector.” Special Issue on “Political Ecology of a Rising China.” Journal of Current Chinese Affairs 46, no. 3, 53–83. Available open access at:

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.