Closeup of protesters at Ginowan protests by Nathan Keirn/Wikimedia CC2.0

Photo by Ian Klinke

The Political Worlds research cluster asks how politics and power are constituted in and across space and place. We seek to develop novel and critical understandings of the relationship(s) between geographical knowledges and regimes of discipline and violence.

The cluster links research on relationships between geographical knowledges and regimes of power, geographies of the South, and postcolonial, feminist, decolonial and anti-racist work. Cluster members pursue theoretically informed research that tackles these questions through a range of scales, from the body to the global, and from the household to the nation-state. We draw on ethnographic fieldwork, visual methods, interviews, archival research and more in a range of different locations and routes. Our researchers work in Cameroon, Germany, India, Tanzania, the UK and elsewhere. While diverse, our work converges around four sets of questions.

1. Life, death and wellbeing in 20th and 21st century geographiesCritical engagements with being and nonbeing in place, over time. Current research projects challenge liberal approaches to peace and post-conflict in East Africa, offer new insights for understanding youth wellbeing in colonial India, and challenge dominant narratives of extraction in Central Africa.
2. Violence, nonviolence and discipliningHow does (non)violence emerge in, over and through space and time? How do we make sense of the changing relationships between people, territory and displacement in a techno-capitalist, colonial, gendered and militarist present? Current research projects examine norms of governance at geopolitical margins, and relationships between global capitalism and international humanitarianism in East Africa.
3. Politics, power and geopoliticsHow is territorial sovereignty enacted and resisted? How do political worlds come to matter through bodily performance, language, technology and the built environment? How do subaltern geopolitics and politics at the margin challenge Eurocentric frames and offer alternatives? Current work in the cluster looks at histories of squatting in Europe and North America, geographies of dissent in Central Africa, the visual mediation of urban spaces, and material landscapes of the Cold War.
4. Geographical knowledgesWhat are the political and social patterns and practices through which geographical knowledge is produced, created, consumed and circulated? What ‘counts’ as geographical knowledge and who gets to speak for Geography? What are the politics of studying particular world regions? How are politically charged knowledge claims made in a digital world? How do we contribute to the project to decolonise geographical knowledges? Ongoing work in the cluster asks ethical questions about building digital archives using materials from colonial contexts, how non-Western epistemologies might be used to challenge the coloniality of knowledge production in Geography, and political discourse emerges from geopolitical margins.

You can explore Danny Dorling's work on spacial inequalities here.

Upcoming Events

Histories of Geography in Africa: South African geographers and apartheid in the 1970s and 1980s

Friday, 14 May at 3pm

Dr Ruth Craggs, Senior Lecturer in Cultural and Historical Geography, King's College London

Reading Group

Indigenous Epistemologies Reading Group

The Indigenous Epistemologies Reading Group brings together researchers and students from across the University departments interested in engaging with indigenous perspectives and epistemologies in their work and research. This reading group is a weekly gathering in which we critically explore the mechanisms and methods of knowledge production that we engage in our own research through the lens of indigenous methods of world-knowing and world-making. We share and discuss indigenous scholarship, its intersection with the "Western" academy, national politics, and corporate interests. We explore questions of sovereignty, epistemic oppression, relational worldviews and performative knowledge-making.

Interested in joining the reading group? Please contact:

Past Events

Racial capitalism and care under COVID

Friday, 5 March at 3pm

Dr Patricia Lopez, Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, Dartmouth College

Tourism Troubles: Feminist political ecologies of land and body in the making of residential tourism space in Panama

Friday, 19 February at 3pm

Dr Sharlene Mollett, Associate Professor, Human Geography and International Development Studies, University of Toronto

Discussant: Dr Negar Behzadi, School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol

Further details:

(Anti)Blackness and Dual Power: Thinking from Durban, South Africa

Friday, January 22 at 3pm

Dr Yousuf Al-Bulushi, Assistant Professor, Department of Global and International Studies, University of California, Irvine

Discussant: Dr Adam Elliott-Cooper, University of Greenwich

Covid-19 & mobilities in understanding the lived reality and framing of diasporic Blackness

All School Seminar, Friday, 21 January 2021

Dr Lioba Hirsch, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Decolonial Queering Aesthesis: Unsettling Spaces of Zionist Sensuality

Friday, February 5 at 3pm

Dr Walaa Alqaisiya, LSE Fellow of Gender, Conflict and Sexuality, Department for Gender Studies, London School of Economics

Discussant: Hashem Abushama, DPhil Candidate, School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford

Book Panel: 'Intimate Geopolitics: Love, Territory, and the Future on India's Northern Threshold' by Sara Smith (Rutgers University Press, 2020)

Book Panel, 7 September 2020

In Intimate Geopolitics: Love, Territory, and the Future on India's Northern Threshold' (Rutgers University Press, 2020), Sara Smith asks how love and marriage are bound up with global and regional geopolitical processes that make territory. Focusing on Ladakh, a region located on India's Northern frontier, the book asks how territory is made every day in marriage and birth ceremonies, in the kitchen, in the rearing of babies, and in everyday experiences of childhood, youth and religious life. Organised by Sneha Krishnan.

South Asia from Afar: Conversations on Research in the Region

Online Seminar Series, June - September 2020

This series seeks to draw attention to the complex power dynamics at play in studying the South Asian region in this moment, when the COVID-19 Pandemic and ongoing struggles against increasingly right-wing states in the region have all complicated the terms on which research can be done. The title 'South Asia from Afar' references the panic that overtook the many institutions for South Asian Studies research in Europe, the UK and North America where a significant part of the research on this region is done, with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. However the Pandemic has also made distances within South Asia larger as scholars increasingly rely on remote modes of research instead of in-person fieldwork in this moment. Address this convergence of many crisis points, we ask our speakers to consider how research on the region might be reimagined. The series is co-organised by Sneha Krishnan and Nayanika Mathur.

Co-sponsored by the Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme.

Digitising Critical Pedagogies Amidst COVID-19

An Online Roundtable Discussion

6 May 2020, 15:00-16:30 BST

The global pandemic of COVID-19 has exposed vulnerabilities in our in-person teaching models and pressed us to quickly move content online. Yet, thoughtful efforts must be made to ensure that rapid digitisations do not reify long-standing educational and knowledge inequalities. In this webinar, we consider how scholars are engaging with critical pedagogies, including anti-racist and anti-imperialist approaches, in the time of COVID-19. Panellists joining the discussion:

  • Derek Ford (Education, DePauw)
  • Holly Oberle (Political Science, Wenzhou-Kean University)
  • Farhana Sultana (Geography, Syracuse)
  • Sayan Dey (English, Royal University of Bhutan)
  • Lesley Nelson-Addy (Education, Oxford)

The event is co-organised by Dr Amber Murrey, Associate Professor of Human Geography at Oxford ( and Dr Steven Puttick, Associate Professor of Education at Oxford ( To register, please contact Amber.

Political Worlds is co-coordinated by Dr Sneha Krishnan and Dr Amber Murrey. For questions and enquiries, please contact the postgraduate secretary Britain Hopkins at

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