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Andreas Malm

  • Programme Manager for Master's in Human Ecology
  • Teaches on 3 courses

Current research project

Why did our economy become so dependent on fossil fuels? What roles have they played in the historical development of capitalism? What are the forces perpetuating this dangerous thing we refer to as business-as-usual – and how can they be defeated? These are, broadly, the issues I try to approach in my research. More specifically, I am looking at the rise of coal as a source of mechanical energy in industrial production and transportation in nineteenth-century Britain and her Empire. My PhD thesis, Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam-Power in the British Cotton Industry, c. 1825-1848, and the Roots of Global Warming, defended in February 2014, examines the transition from water-wheels to steam-engines in the cotton-mills of northern England and Scotland and draws some lessons for today: to make a very long story very short, capital required a source of energy amenable to concentration in space and acceleration in time. It still seems to do so. In the fall of 2015, Verso will publish my Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming, based on the thesis.
I am currently working on a sequel, provisionally entitled Fossil Empire, on how Britain deployed steamboats, railroads and their shared foundations – mines and depots of coal – to create, subordinate and penetrate the peripheries of the nineteenth-century world economy. I focus on Egypt/the Levant, India, China and West Africa. As it happens, these regions hold most of the people vulnerable to the impacts of global warming – particularly sea level rise – now and in the near future. I have conducted research on the political ecology of vulnerability and adaption to sea level rise in the Nile Delta; having a long-standing interest in the Middle East and North Africa, I am part of a research team that will look into the politics of renewable energy in the region – focusing on Morocco this time – and the fate of the Desertec project. I am, in short, interested in the power relations of a rapidly warming world in urgent need of cooling down.


(fetched from Lund University's publications database)


Human Ecology
E-mail: andreas [dot] malm [at] hek [dot] lu [dot] se

Associate senior lecturer

Human Ecology


The Department of Human Geography
and the Human Ecology Division

Address: Sölvegatan 10,
223 62 Lund
Phone: 046-222 17 59

Faculty of Social Sciences