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Department of Geography


Conor M. Harrison

Title: Associate Professor; Director of Undergraduate Studies
Department: Geography; Earth, Ocean and Environment
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-576-6010
Office: Callcott, Room 227

Curriculum Vitae [pdf]

Critical Ecologies Website

School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment

Department of Geography

Conor Harrison


Dr. Harrison is an economic geographer that received his Ph.D. in geography from the University of North Carolina in 2014. He also has a master’s degree in geography from East Carolina University, a B.A. in Political Science from Colgate University, and has work experience in supply chain management and consumer product distribution. He has been at the University of South Carolina since 2014 and is jointly appointed between the Department of Geography and the School of Earth, Ocean and Environment.


Dr. Harrison’s research examines the relationship between energy, society, and economy. His current research project examines the U.S. electricity system as it transitions to more renewable forms of energy. The project has a particular focus on how the financial industry is influencing the pace, location, and types of changes happening in the electricity sector. This work draws on interviews with financiers and project developers to understand why and where the electricity system is changing, as well as those places where it is not. Dr. Harrison’s research in this area is supported by funding from the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Harrison is also heading up an interdisciplinary research project that is examining regulation, energy insecurity, and energy labor in the southeastern U.S. With funding from the Sloan Foundation, this project explores what a just transition might mean for local communities, labor movements, and energy vulnerable populations in South Carolina and Tennessee. The project combines examinations of the socio-economic and legal dynamics of energy production and consumption in order to enrich local energy justice movements and offer insights into the parameters of just transitions across the U.S.

Dr. Harrison’s past research has explored the historical development of electricity supply systems, regulatory regimes, and energy markets in the American South and the eastern Caribbean. Portions of this work focused on the interactions of networked infrastructures with contrasting ideas and methods of financing, governance, and ideologies of race in the American South. Additional work explores questions of regulation and deregulation in the American South, currently home to some of the largest, most valuable, and most polluting electric utilities in the U.S.

Dr. Harrison’s work has been published in journals including the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Environment and Planning E, Geoforum, and Energy Research and Social Science.


  • GEOG 313 Economic Geography
  • ENVR 202 Environmental Science and Policy II
  • ENVR 352 Energy, Society and Sustainability
  • GEOG 321 Sustainable Cities

Representative Publications

Harrison, C. and S. Welton. 2023. ‘Why Change?’ Monopoly and Competition in the Southeastern US Electricity System. Annals of the American Association of Geographers: 1-17.

Harrison, C. 2022. Electricity capital and accumulation strategies in the US electricity system. Environment and Planning E 5(4): 1716-1737.

Harrison, C. and Welton, S. 2021. The states that opted out: Politics, power, and exceptionalism in the quest for electricity deregulation in the United States South. Energy Research and Social Science. 79: 102147.

Kahler, S. and C. Harrison. 2020. ‘Wipe out the entire slum area’: University-led urban renewal in Columbia, South Carolina, 1950-1985. Journal of Historical Geography 67: 41-50.

Harrison, C. and Popke, J. 2018. Geographies of Renewable Energy Transition in the Caribbean: Reshaping the Island Energy Metabolism. Energy Research and Social Science 36: 165-174.

Harrison, C. 2016. Race, Space, and Electric Power: Jim Crow and the 1934 North Carolina Rural Electrification Survey. Annals of the American Association of Geographers 106(4): 909-931.

Harrison, C. 2013. ‘Accomplished by means which are indefensible’: Electric utilities, finance, and the natural barriers to accumulation. Geoforum. 49: 173-183.

Harrison, C. 2013. The historical-geographical construction of power: Electricity in eastern North Carolina. Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability. 18(4): 469-486.

Harrison, C. and J. Popke. 2011. ‘Because You Got to Have Heat’: Fuel Poverty, Weatherization, and Landscapes of Care. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 101(4): 949-961.


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.