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Department of Geography


Caroline R. Nagel

Title: Professor; Director of Graduate Studies
Department: Geography
College of Arts and Sciences
Phone: 803-777-5234
Office: Callcott, Room 226

Curriculum Vitae [pdf]
Personal website
Department of Geography

Caroline Nagel


Caroline Nagel is Professor of Geography at the University of South Carolina.  She received her B.A. in Political Science and Latin American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Colorado, Boulder.  Caroline is Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Geography.  She is also Editor-in-Chief of Political Geography Open Research and Chair of the AAG Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee.


Caroline is a broadly trained human geographer whose interests lie at the intersection of urban, cultural, and political geography. As a migration specialist, Caroline has long been interested in the politics of identity, integration, and citizenship in immigrant-receiving contexts. Her work on British Arab and Arab American activists (with the late Lynn Staeheli) and on Christian outreach to immigrants in the U.S. South (with Patricia Ehrkamp) has explored themes of transnationalism, ethnic formation, multicultural discourse, immigrant activism, and religious identity. Underlying this work on migration has been a concern with the everyday, place-based production and negotiation of social membership and belonging. 

Caroline also has an interest in Lebanon that stems from her work on Arab immigrants. Having visited Lebanon shortly after the country’s civil war, Caroline returned as a Fulbright scholar in 2010-11 and was based at the American University of Beirut. Her work in Lebanon focused on the role of NGOs in producing youth citizenship discourses in a fragmented political landscape. In 2016, Caroline began a new project combining her interests in youth citizenship and Christian outreach ministries. This project focused on the political subjectivities of young Christians who participate in short-term overseas missions and asked how young people come to understand themselves as being in community with, and as having obligations to, faraway people and places.

Currently, Caroline is working on two research projects.  The first, with Dr. Breanne Grace (USC College of Social Work), examines the role of volunteers in the US refugee resettlement program.  This project gives attention to the motivations of volunteers, most of whom are affiliated with Christian faith communities, in welcoming refugees, and the ways volunteers interpret and enact goals of refugee self-sufficiency.  The second project, with Dr. Kara Brown in the College of Education, examines the recruitment of overseas-trained teachers in South Carolina and the experiences of these teachers in South Carolina’s underserved public schools.


  • GEOG 121: Globalization and World Regions
  • GEOG 225: Geography of Europe
  • GEOG 344: Geographies of American Cities
  • GEOG 495: Geography Capstone Seminar
  • GEOG 512: Migration and Globalization
  • GEOG 735: Graduate Seminar in Political Geography 

Representative Publications 

Nagel, C. and Grace, B. (forthcoming). Navigating the ‘refugee ecosystem’ in research at home, Geographical Review.

Nagel, C. (2023). Moving beyond the migration state (review essay), International Migration Review, 57(2): 846–852. 

Mavroudi, E. and Nagel, C. (2023).  Global Migration: Patterns, Processes, and Politics, 2nd Edition.  New York; London: Routledge.

Nagel, C. (2021).  Doing missions right: Popular development imaginaries and practices among US evangelicals, Geoforum, 124: 110–119.

Nagel, C. (2021). Christian short-term missions: Creating global citizens? Geopolitics 26(5): 1286–1306.

Nagel, C. (2020). The “problem” of religion in the secular state: Sectarianism and state formation in Lebanon, in S. Moisio, A. Jonas, N. Koch, C. Lizotte, and J. Luukkonen (eds), Handbook on the Changing Geographies of the State: New Spaces of Geopolitics. Northampton, UK: Edward Elgar.

Nagel, C. and Ehrkamp, P. (2017).  Immigration, Christian faith communities, and the practice of multiculturalism in the U.S. South, Ethnic and Racial Studies 40(1): 190–208.

Nagel, C. (2016).  Southern hospitality? Islamophobia and the politicization of refugees in South Carolina during the 2016 election season, Southeastern Geographer 56(3): 283–290.

Nagel, C. and Ehrkamp, P. (2016).  Deserving welcome? Immigrants, Christian faith communities, and the contentious politics of belonging in the U.S. South, Antipode 48(4): 1040–1058.

Nagel, C. and Staeheli, L. (2016). Nature, environmentalism, and the politics of citizenship in post-civil war Lebanon, Cultural Geographies 23(2): 247–263. 

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.