Joshua Kirshner
Lecturer in Human Geography



Before joining the Environment Department in 2015, Joshua held appointments at Durham University and Rhodes University in South Africa. He received his PhD from Cornell University in 2009.

His research and teaching covers the fields of development geography, international development planning, and urban and environmental planning. His research is organized in three sub-themes. First it investigates international aid, cooperation and investment in energy, including questions of energy access, equity, sustainability, and the uptake of decentralised and renewable energy systems. He was lead researcher in Mozambique for an ESRC-funded project, The Rising Powers, Clean Development and the Low Carbon Transition in Sub-Saharan Africa, from 2013-15. He is particularly interested in the notion of a ‘just transition’ as an organizing principle. Second, he is pursuing research into changing relations between resource extraction, urbanisation and energy pathways in Mozambique. Conceptually this work draws on political ecology, global production networks and geographies of energy transition.

Third, he is interested in migration, integration and the politics of difference, particularly in cities of the global south. His PhD research, supported by a Fulbright Hays Doctoral Fellowship, explored the intersections between migration, rapid urbanization and the natural gas boom in eastern Bolivia. In this project, he examined the rise of an elite-led movement for regional autonomy and how this created a social climate of exclusion for recent migrants from poorer regions. He argued that recent migrants experienced a form of uneven integration. He has extended this work to other contexts, having been involved in commissioned research on migration, xenophobia and exclusion in South African cities.


Lecturer Environment Department
University of York
Research Associate

Durham University

Lecturer Rhodes University
South Africa
Postdoctoral Fellow University of Johannesburg
South Africa
City and Regional Planning
Cornell University
Urban Planning
University of California
Social Anthropology
Harvard University



Josh is developing a project on the geographies of extractive industry and urban change in Mozambique.

He focuses on Tete province, once a remote ‘outpost’ but now a hub of power generation for southern Africa and an emerging centre of global investment in coal extraction.

One strand of the research involves examining the spatial configurations resulting from coal complex, including regional transport corridors and enclave space.

A second strand of the research involves tracing transnational investments and production networks, including the growing role of Indian and Chinese firms.

An additional part will look at how environmental risk is distributed between and within communities.

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Contact details

Dr Joshua Kirshner
Lecturer in Human Geography
Environment Department
University of York
YO10 5NG

Tel: 01904 324277




  • Global Geographies