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James E. Wiley

Professor Emeritus of Global Studies and Geography


PHD, 1991, Rutgers University; MA, 1972, Ohio State Univ Columbus; BA, 1970, Rutgers University


Dr. Wiley studied economics as an undergraduate at Rutgers before going on to Ohio State, where he pursued a master’s in higher education, specializing in student life administration. He worked in various student life administrative positions at Syracuse, Rider, and Princeton Universities, among other places before returning to Rutgers to pursue graduate degrees in geography, completing the PhD. in 1991. His dissertation dealt with host country refugee policies and programs in Central America, developing a case study of the Costa Rican situation as recipient of refugee migrations from neighboring countries.

Geographers typically have both regional and topical specializations. Dr. Wiley is a specialist in Latin America and the Caribbean. Topically, his focus is on economic geography, especially development and trade, and migration geography. In 1993 he began researching the international banana industry and trade, specifically the banana “war” involving the European Union, the USA, and banana exporting countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa. This project grew over time as the dispute continued into the new century, causing him to rethink the historical economic geography of the banana and bring that story into the contemporary development stage of globalization and neoliberalism. His book, The Banana: Empires, Trade Wars, and Globalization was published in 2008.

Since coming to Hofstra in 1991, Dr. Wiley has added several new courses to the geography curriculum, including specific regional courses on Latin America, South America, the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America, Africa, and Australia and the Pacific. He was Hofstra’s first director of Latin American and Caribbean Studies and worked with colleagues to make that new major and minor program available to undergraduate students. In recent years, his teaching efforts have primarily been oriented toward providing a broad array of regional geography courses to allow undergraduates to fulfill their cross-cultural, distribution, and major graduation requirements.

More recently, Dr. Wiley has returned to his topical roots in migration geography and expanded the spatial realm of his research to reflect the global nature of contemporary human migration. As part of that process, he had also created a new topical course for Hofstra students – Population and Migration Geography. The course is also global in scope, designed to illustrate the fact that, while the United States remains a very important part of the human migration story, it is by no means the entire story. Globalization and neoliberalism have provided push factors that impel people to move in many directions around our world. For both research and teaching purposes, he has developed case studies involving Germany, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives, adding them to his more customary work on Latin America and the Caribbean.

Dr. Wiley’s philosophy is that geographers, circumstances permitting, should go out and see the world to be able to teach about it more effectively. Toward that end he has visited more than 121 countries in all world regions and uses the field notes and photographs that he takes in each place to enrich the classroom experience that he offers.

Teaching Interests

regional geography, particularly Latin America and the Caribbean; population and migration geography

Research Interests

international banana trade small island developing states in a globalizing world international migration and remittances
Photo of James Wiley

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