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Eric Spears - Columbus State University

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Columbus State University

headshot of Eric Spears, Ph.D.

Eric Spears, Ph.D.

Associate Professor / Executive Director, Center for Global Engagement

Global Engagement, Center for

Associate Professor

History, Geography, and Philosophy, Department of

Schuster Center 214

Geographic Information Systems, Geography, Latin American Studies

Education and Certifications

Ph.D., Geography, West Virginia University, 2004
M.A., International Political Economy, The University of Warwick, 1995
B.A., Geography, Marshall University, 1992


Dr. Eric Spears is a professor of geography and the Mildred Miller Fort Foundation Eminent Scholar and Chair of International Education. He serves as the executive director of the Center for Global Engagement and the academic head of Spencer House, CSU's study abroad center in Oxford, England. He is academically based in the Department of History, Geography, and Philosophy (College of Letters and Sciences).

Spears coordinates the International Studies Certificate and Geographical Information Science (GIS) Certificate programs for undergraduate students. He also coordinates the Asian Studies minor.

Dr. Spears' regional specialization focuses on Brazil and Latin America. He has extensive research and academic experience in Brazil. In addition, he works in Asian Studies through his service as the vice-president of the Asian Studies Development Program (ASDP) alumni board at the East-West Center in Hawai'i. Spears was also a Fulbright recipient in South Korea in 2010.

Professor Spears presently serves at the University System of Georgia's (USG) chairperson for the System Council on International Education (SCIE). His term ends in the summer of 2026.

Academic Areas

  • Political Economy of Latin America (Brazil)
  • Political Economy of East Asia (China & Korea)
  • Environmental Geography/Political Ecology

Research Interests

Professor Spears is currently writing a book with David Owings (CSU Archives) on the Spencer Map Collection, which is a $1.2 million set of antique maps donated to CSU by Mr. Kyle Spencer. The book is slated for publication by the CSU Press in the autumn of 2023.

Dr. Spears is also researching the political economy of China's foreign direct investment in Brazil and how the country's economic ties reshape China's hegemonic influence at local scales in Latin America's largest economy and population.

His other recent research has focused on sea-level rise on the Georgia coastline and its disproportionate effect on minority urban populations, including Brunswick.

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