Community Economies

Julie Graham

Contact Details:

Professor of Geography
University of Massachusetts Amherst 1984-2010
B.A., Smith College, 1968
Ph.D., Clark University, 1984

Research Areas:

Julie Graham 1945-2010

Julie Graham’s profound intellectual contribution was to offer hope in a deeply flawed world. This hope inspired students, national and international colleagues, and community organizers around the globe. Together with her collaborator Katherine Gibson she developed what they came to call a post-capitalist politics: a politics in which the many economic systems and relationships that are different from capitalist exploitation are noticed, made visible, supported, and encouraged.  Once taught to notice this rich complexity, Julie’s students and colleagues began to see possibility and diversity all around them. The role of the academic became not only to critique and analyze, but also to pursue and support possibility. Julie’s life and work were about hope, possibility and caring; what made her so influential was that she tied this to sharp theoretical insight. 

Julie came into the Department of Geosciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst as an Assistant Professor in economic geography in 1984, becoming Associate Professor in 1991, Full Professor in 1998, and serving as Associate Department Head for Geography between 1999 and 2006. At UMass, she also served on many committees for students in Economics, Women’s Studies, Labor Studies, Education, Political Science, and Anthropology. Julie worked closely for many years with Professor Richard Wolff and the late Professor Stephen Resnick in the UMass Economics department, publishing two volumes of edited essays with them. She was a member of the Editorial Board and Advisory Board of the journal Rethinking Marxism. Over the course of her career, at various times, Julie held visiting academic positions at NYU, the University of Oregon, Rutgers University, and in Australia, Monash University, the Australian National University, and the University of Western Sydney. 

Her scholarly achievements included more than fifty publications with co-author Katherine Gibson under the blended pen name J.K. Gibson-Graham.  Gibson-Graham published two major books: The End of Capitalism (As We Knew It): A Feminist Critique of Political Economy (1996), which challenged the conventional understanding of capitalism as necessarily and naturally dominant, and was named a “Classic in Human Geography” in 2009 by the journal Progress in Human Geography; and A Postcapitalist Politics (2006) which reports on efforts to perform alternative economies through action research in Massachusetts, Australia, and the Philippines. The book Take Back the Economy: An Ethical Guide for Transforming Our Communities co-authored by J.K. Gibson-Graham, Jenny Cameron and Stephen Healy was begun before Julie died and published in 2013.

Julie Graham was a dear friend and colleague, a powerhouse of intellect, an inspiration in her battle with physical adversity, a humanist who cared about the victims of mindless capitalism and market forces, and a kind, funny, upbeat presence wherever she happened to be. Her colleagues, close friends, and students miss her greatly.

See an amazing list of messages in memory, celebration, and admiration of Julie Graham.

As students we often talked of being profoundly awakened by Julie. The "politics of possibility" as she referred to it gave us a powerful, often life-changing sense of what we were contributing as thinkers and doers in the world. She let us know that her sense of hope was a vital and rigorous part of her academic breakthroughs. She validated our sense of hope as welcome and necessary to our own life and work.

Written by Ted White, 2010

Download Julie Graham's CV here.


The Global Household: Toward a Feminist Postcapitalist International Political Economy

Julie Graham, Maliha Safri

 The goal of this article is to introduce a new category into international political economy-the global household-and to begin to widen the focus of international political economy to include nonmarket transactions and noncapitalist production. We estimate the aggregate population of global households, the size and distribution of remittances, and the magnitude and sectoral scope of global household production. We briefly explore the possibilities for research and activism opened up by a feminist, postcapitalist international political economy centered on the global household.

Safri, Maliha and Julie Graham. 2011. The Global Household: Toward a Feminist Postcapitalist International Political Economy. Signs 36(1) 99-125.o

Building Community Economies in Massachusetts: An Emerging Model of Economic Development?

Janelle Cornwell, Julie Graham

This chapter explores how Nuestras Raices and the Alliance to Develop Power, two community organizations in Western Massachusetts, are building community economies and unsettling traditional formulas for economic development.

Graham J., and Cornwell, J. 2009. Building Community Econmies in Massachustts: An Emerging Mode of Economic Development? In Amin, A. (ed).The Social Eonomy International Perspectives on Economic Solidarity. 37-65

Building Community Economies: A Postcapitalist Project of Sustainable Development

Julie Graham, Stephen Healy

Explores how the idea of sustainable development might be transformed from an impossible dream (sabotaged at every turn by the force various identified as "capitalism", "the market," "modernization," and "development") into a realistic and attainble project for organizations and communities.

Healy. S. and J. Graham. 2008. Building Community Economies: A Postcapitalist Project of Sustainable Development, in D. Ruccio, ed, Economic Representations: Academic and Everyday. Routledge, New York, 291-314.

Constructing the community economy: civic professionalism and the politics of sustainable regions

Julie Graham, Stephen Healy, kenneth byrne

Outlines the Rethinking Economy action research project in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, highlighting the role of academy-community partnerships in constructing community economies.

 Graham, J., S. Healy and K. Byrne. 2002. Constructing the community economy: civic professionalism and the politics of sustainable regions, Journal of Appalachian Studies 8(1), 50-61.