- Programme Manager for Master's in Human Ecology
- Teaches on 3-6 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 its 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 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 2016, Verso published my book Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming, based on the thesis. It received the Isaac and Tamara Deutscher Memorial Prize for that year.
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 subjugate and integrate 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 some of the people most vulnerable to the impacts of global warming – particularly sea level rise – now and in the near future. I have recently made forays into environmental philosophy; in 2017, Verso will publish my The Progress of This Storm: Nature and Society in a Warming World, a theoretical essay on how to understand nature and society and their intertwinement in the light of climate change, criticising currents such as constructionism, hybridism, new materialism and post-humanism and advocating a more activist, dialectical alternative anchored in historical materialism. I have also dabbled in ecocriticism; a forthcoming paper in Forum for Modern Language Studies proposes a new way of reading of fossil fuel fiction. I have conducted research on the political ecology of vulnerability and adaption to sea level rise in the Nile Delta, as well as on solar-power in Morocco. I am working on a book about the politics of wilderness in a changing climate and involved in a collective project on geoengineering. I am, in short, interested in a wide range of aspects of the power relations of a rapidly warming world in urgent need of cooling down.
Retrieved from Lund University's publications database
- Fossil Capital : The Rise of Steam Power and the Roots of Global Warming
- Marx on Steam: From the Optimism of Progress to the Pessimism of Power
- Who Lit this Fire? Approaching the History of the Fossil Economy
- Yes, it is all about fetishism: A response to Daniel Cunha
- ”Green fix” as crisis management. Or: In which world is Malmö the world’s greenest city?
- Fleeing the Flowing Commons: Robert Thom, Water Reservoir Schemes, and the Shift to Steam Power in Early Nineteenth-Century Britain
- Fossil Capital: The Rise of Steam-Power in the British Cotton Industry, c. 1825-1848, and the Roots of Global Warming
- Tahrir Submerged? Five Theses on Revolution in the Era of Climate Change
- The geology of mankind? A critique of the Anthropocene narrative
- Reversing the arrow of arrears: A primer on the concept of “ecological debt” and its value for environmental justice
- The Origins of Fossil Capital: From Water to Steam in the British Cotton Industry
- Ways In and Out of Vulnerability to Climate Change: Abandoning the Mubarak Project in the Northern Nile Delta, Egypt
- China as Chimney of the World: The Fossil Capital Hypothesis
- Doubly dispossessed by accumulation: Egyptian fishing communities between enclosed lakes and a rising sea
- Phantom Islam. Scapegoat Fetishism in Europe Before and After Utøya.
- Sea Wall Politics: Uneven and Combined Protection of the Nile Delta Coastline in the Face of Sea-Level Rise
- Steam: Nineteenth-century Mechanization and the Power of Capital