Michael Samers

msame2's picture
  • Professor of Economic and Urban Geography
  • and affiliated faculty, International Studies
  • Geography
  • International Studies
859 Patterson Office Tower
(859) 257-6966
Research Interests:

BA Geography, Clark University (1988)
MS Geography, University of Wisconsin (1991)
D.Phil, Oxford University (England) (1997)


Originally from Stamford, Connecticut in the suburbs of New York City, I received a BA in Geography from Clark University in Worcester, Massachussets in 1988, which included 6 months at the Université de Dijon (now the Université de Bourgogne). I then went on to study for my Masters of Science in Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1991). From there I decided to undertake my D.Phil (PhD) at Oxford University, under the supervision of David Harvey and Erik Swyngedouw. My doctoral thesis  (dissertation) focused on the "Production and regulation of North African immigrants in the Paris automobile industry, 1970-1990. While still finishing my D.Phil at Oxford, I accepted my first academic position at the University of Liverpool, and after 7 years in Liverpool, I moved to the University of Nottingham in 2002 and eventually became a Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in 2005. I left Nottingham in 2006 to return to the United States, and accept an Associate Professorship at the University of Kentucky. In May 2018, I was promoted to Full Professor, and assumed this role on July 1, 2018. 

*** For the 2013-2014 academic year, I was in France on a Fulbright Fellowship, and based at CERAPS at the Universite de Lille II *** 

My research and teaching interests lie broadly in economic and urban geography, but particularly in the political-economic, urban, and socio-theoretical dimensions of migration/immigration, international finance, and the relationship between technological change and labor markets. In the last few years, I have written a book chapter on citizenship and migration in France, as well as two articles (together with Karen Lai) on the economic geography of FinTech and on the political economy of Islamic banking and finance in Malaysia and Singapore. Most recently, I have turned my attention to artificial intelligence and robotics, and its impact on employment in general in the U.S, as well as more specifically in the financial sectors of large cities. In the past, I have conducted research on the politics and economics of immigration, on alternative forms of work and economic development/'diverse economies', including (informal) work and labor markets in cities. 

I have studied these issues in the context of the European Union, and especially France, although I am also concerned with comparative aspects of economic development and urbanization, especially between the EU and the United States

Work in progress

(2022) Understanding the relationship between artificial Intelligence and financial sector employment in international financial centers: the case of New York City, draft in progress

(2021) (co-edited with Jens Rydgren) Handbook of Migration and Nationalism. Edward Elgar (under contract)

(2021) 'Do welfare systems matter for immigrant entrepreneurship?', submitted to a Special Issue of International Migration, under review

Work forthcoming

(2021) 'Futurological fodder: on communicating the relationship between artificial intelligence, robotics, and employment', submitted to a Special Issue of Space and Polity, forthcoming


Selected Publications since 2002 (See my CV for a full list of publications since 1997)

(2021) Transatlantic perspectives on urban transformation and the governance of migration: Introduction to the Special Issue, Geographical Review, Volume 111, Issue 2. on-line early access can be found here:  https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00167428.2021.1891835.

(2020) (with Karen Lai) Towards an economic geography of FinTech, Progress in Human Geography, on-line early view: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/0309132520938461

(2020) The regulation of migration, integration, and of multiculturalism in 21st century France, in Mielusel, R,. and Pruteanu, S. (eds.) Citizenship and Belonging in France and North America. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 

(2017) (with Michael Collyer) Migration, 2nd edition, Routledge, now available at https://www.amazon.com/Migration-Ideas-Geography-Michael-Samers/dp/11389...

(2017) (With Karen Lai) 'Conceptualising Islamic banking and finance: comparing Malaysia and Singapore,The Pacific Review, 30, 3; 405-424

(2015) Migration, in Agnew, J., Mamadouh, V. Secor, A., and Sharp, J. (eds.) The Companion to Political Geography, Wiley Blackwell

(2015) Regional integration and migration in North America, in Leila Simona Talani and Simon McMahon (eds.) Handbook of International Political Economy of Migration

(2015) New guest-worker regimes? in Horvath, K., Amelina, A., and Meeus, B. (eds.) The Anthology of Migration and Social Transformation in Europe, University of Amsterdam Press

(2015) (with Mitch Snider) Finding work: the experience of migrants in North America in Immigration, Integration and the Settlement Experience in North America. Toronto: Canadian Scholar's Press, Inc.

(2015) (with Patrick Bigger and Oliver Belcher) Building a new world: activism in light of Marxist geographical thought, in Valentine, G, and Aitken, S. (eds.) (2nd ed) Key approaches to Human Geography, Sage.

(2015) A marriage of convenience? Islamic banking and finance meet neoliberalization in Brunn, S. (ed). The Changing World Religion Map, Springer

(2015) Unemployment and the 'underclass' in Richardson, D., Liu, W., and Pratt, G. (eds.) The Wiley-AAG International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment  and Technology.

(2015) (with Amanda Fickey) Thinking about Appalachia: A study of limited economic imaginings and a re-thinking of ‘development’, in Shauna Scott, Phil Obermiller, and Chad Berry (eds.) Thinking about Appalachia, University of Illinois Press.

(2014) How to understand the incorporation of immigrants in European labour markets, in Martiniello, M., and Rath, J. (eds.) An Introduction to Immigration Studies: European Perspectives. Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam Press

(2014) I Ju (Korean translation of my book Migration). Seoul: Purengil Publishers

(2013) (with Jane Pollard) Governing Islamic finance: Territory, agency and the making of cosmopolitan financial geographies, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 103, 3: 710–726

(2013) Stirrings in the attic: On the distinction between historical geographical materialism and critical realism, Dialogues in Human Geography. 3,1: 40–44

(2012) Migrazioni (Italian translation of my book Migration). Rome: Carocci Press.

(2012) Islamic home finance, in Sanders, A. Wachter, S, and Smith, S. (eds.) The International Encyclopedia of Housing and Home, Elsevier.

(2012) The political economy of labor migration in France, in Ness, I. and Bellwood, P. (eds.) Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. Wiley-Blackwell.

(2011) Towards a critical economic geography of workfare, in Leyshon, A., Lee, R., McDowell, L., and Sunley, P. (eds.) The Sage Handbook of Economic Geography. London: Sage.

(2010) Migration (Key Ideas in Geography Series), Routledge.

(2010) The ‘socio-territoriality’ of cities: A framework for understanding the incorporation of migrants in urban labor markets, in Glick-Schiller, N., and Caglar, A. (eds.) The Location of Migration: the City and the Scale, Cornell University Press.

(2010) (with Jane Pollard) “Alterity’s geographies: socio-territoriality and difference in Islamic banking and finance, Lee, R. Fuller, D., Jonas, A (2009) Interrogating Alterity: alternative spaces of economy, society and politics. Ashgate Publishers

(2010) (with Matthew Zook) “Telemediated servants and self-servants of the global economy: labor in the era of ICT-enabled e-commerce, in McGrath-Champ, S, Herod, A., and Rainnie, A. (eds.) Handbook of employment and Society:Working Space.

(2008) “At the heart of ‘migration management’: immigration and labour markets in the European Union”, in Gabriel, C., and Pellerin, H. (eds.) Governing International Labour Migration: current issues, challenges and dilemmas. London: Routledge.

(2007) (with Jane Pollard) Islamic banking and finance: postcolonial political economy and the decentring of economic geography, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 32: 313-330.

(2005) "The 'underground economy', immigration and economic development in the European Union: An agnostic-skeptic perspective", International Journal of Economic Development, Vol 6, No. 2, pp199-272 [view online]

(2004) (with Castree, N., Coe, N., and Ward, K.) Spaces of Work: global capitalism and geographies of labour. London: Sage

(2004) "An emerging geopolitics of 'illegal' immigration in the European Union", European Journal of Migration and Law, 6,1: pp 23-41

(2003) "Invisible capitalism: political economy and the regulation of undocumented immigration in France", Economy and Society, 32, pp. 555-583.

(2002) "Immigration and the global city hypothesis: towards and alternative research agenda", International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. 26, pp. 389-402.

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