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Joshua Kirshner
Senior Lecturer in Human Geography



Joshua Kirshner joined the Department of Environment and Geography in 2015 as Lecturer in Human Geography though is now a Senior Lecturer, having previously held appointments at Durham University and Rhodes University in South Africa. His research focuses on the links between development, spatial planning, energy systems and the politics of urban change. He is Co-investigator on a British Academy-funded project (2016-2018) that examines electricity and fuel access in urban Mozambique, with Vanesa Castán Broto at Sheffield and Idalina Baptista at Oxford. He is also Co-investigator on a project that explores the social impacts and co-production of knowledge around new bio-refineries in northern Brazil, supported by the British Academy’s Knowledge Frontiers programme, with Eleanor Brown and several other academics at University of York (2018-2019). Along with his work on energy, Joshua has a long-term interest in migration and social inclusion, particularly in urbanizing and resource-rich contexts. This research has focused on the reduction of economic and environmental inequalities, access to services and sense of belonging in cities.

Joshua has carried out extensive field research in southern Africa and Latin America, particularly Mozambique, South Africa and Bolivia, on large-scale infrastructure, extractive industries, commodity frontiers, off-grid energy, low carbon transitions, transnational cooperation in energy systems, urbanization, migration and social exclusion. He earned his PhD from Cornell in city and regional planning, MA from UCLA in urban planning, and his BA at Harvard in social anthropology.

PhD opportunities: I am happy to supervise students interested in energy geographies, including questions of energy access and poverty, energy justice, popular energy sovereignties, or related issues. I can also supervise PhDs on urban and regional development and migration.


Lecturer Department of Environment and Geography
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, Los Angeles (UCLA),
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.


Contact details

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

Tel: 01904 324277



  • Global Geographies