Professor Paul Routledge

Professor Paul Routledge


I was awarded the 2016 James Blaut Award, by the Association of American Geographers.

  • 2013- Professor in Contentious Politics and Social Change, University of Leeds
  • 2000-2013 Reader in Geography, University of Glasgow
  • 1994-2000 Lecturer in Geography, University of Glasgow
  • 1993-1994 PDR Fellow, University of Bristol
  • 1991-1993 PDR Fellow, Harvard University


‘Space Invaders: radical geographies of protest’ Royal Geographical Society/IBG regional lecture, University of Leeds
‘Space Invaders: radical geographies of protest’ Agro-cultural Territories in the Amazon conference, University of Cardiff  
Keynote Speaker, ‘Climate Games: Spatial Strategies of Protest’  AHRC Conference, ‘Revolt ion the Square: spatial modeling of conflict and urban conditions’ University of Leeds 
‘Space Invaders: Spatial Strategies of Protest during Climate Games, Paris’ Visiting Fellow Research Seminar University of Sydney 
Postgraduate Workshop on scholar activism, University of Sydney 
‘Space Invaders: a spatial politics of social movement practice’ Paper given at Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA), Sydney, Australia
Panellist on ‘Inequalities in South Asia’ and ‘Climate Change’ sessions ASAA, 


‘Spaces of Climate Justice: Towards an Ethical Politics of Intervention in the Anthropocene’ 2nd Peaceful Coexistence Colloquium: Reimagining Ethics and Politics of Space for the Anthropocene, June 6-9, 2017, University of Lapland, Finland
‘Space Invaders:  Spatial Strategies and Sites of Intervention in Urban Commons’ Contested Cities International Forum, Michael Cacoyannis Foundation, Athens
‘Feeling out of Place: Performing politics and ethical spectacles’ Contested Cities International Seminar, Michael Cacoyannis Foundation, Athens 


‘Climate Games: Under the Cobblestones, the Beach’ Jim Blaut Memorial Lecture, Association of American Geographers Conference in San Francisco,Climate justice and spaces of intervention at the University of Auckland
Research Workshop: Spatial strategies and sites of intervention at University of Otago
Keynote Speaker, Critical Geography Conference on situated solidarities, University of Kentucky
‘Climate Games: Power, politics and protest’ University of Colorado, Boulder, 


Convergence Space Revisited: situated solidarities, and practices of scholar-activism’ Department of Geography, University of Sheffield
Panellist ‘Resourcing Scholar Activism: reflections, challenges and 'post-reflexivity' Association of American Geographers Conference in Chicago
‘Territorializing Movement: the politics of land occupation in Bangladesh’ COSMOS (Centre on Social Movement Studies) European University Institute, Florence, Italy.
Territorializing Movement: the politics of land occupation in Bangladesh’ International Lecture Series ‘Uneven Worlds’ Katholische Universität Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Germany, 2/11/15


  • Study Abroad Coordinator

Research interests

My research interests include critical geopolitics, climate change, social justice, civil society, the environment, and social movements. I have long-standing research interests concerning development, environment and the practices of social movements in the Global South, particularly South Asia and Southeast Asia, and in the Global North. In particular, my research has been concerned with two key areas of interest: the spatiality of social movements in the Global South and Global North; and the practical, political and ethical challenges of scholar activism.

The Spatiality of Social Movements in the Global South and Global North

My research has been particularly focused on how spatial processes and relations of social movement practices are manifested across a variety of scales; how the particularities of specific places influence the character and emergence of various forms of conflict; how social movement practices are constitutive of different relationships to space; how social movement behaviours and practices are symbolically and materially mediated through discourses and images created by the social movements themselves and by the mass media; and the operational logics of social movement networks. My research here has taken two distinct paths. First, it has focused upon peasant movements resisting destructive neoliberal development in the Global South. My research has incorporated the political economy of development in South Asia (particularly, India, Nepal and Bangladesh); the role of multinational and transnational organisations in the development process; the economic, political, ecological and cultural effects of development upon societies at the national, regional and local levels; the popular response to this process in the form of social movements; the mediation of social movement agency by the specifics of place; and the identities created by those engaged in resistance practices.

My research has encompassed: (i) deforestation in the Himalayan foothills of Uttar Pradesh, India; (ii) development and displacement of communities in Orissa, India; (iii) tourism development in Goa, India; (iv) development of dams in the Narmada valley, Madhya Pradesh, India; (v) the practices of global justice networks as articulated by social movements in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Borneo; (vi) climate change and food sovereignty in Bangladesh and Nepal; (vii) climate justice practices and discourses (in UK, Europe, Asia, and South Africa).

ESRC funded research in collaboration with Professor Andrew Cumbers, Glasgow, was focused upon People’s Global Action, a transnational network of social movements from Asia, Latin America, Europe, and North America, that was concerned with resistance to neoliberal capitalism. My research was focused upon the Asian regional component of the network, working in collaboration with social movements in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Thailand, Borneo and Indonesia. This resulted in an agenda-setting book (Global Justice Networks: Geographies of Transnational Solidarity. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 'Perspectives on Democratic Practice' Series, 2009) recently reviewed in the Canadian Journal of Sociology as 'essential reading' and as ‘an important milestone’ in Cultural Geographies. A second strand of my research has focused on urban-based rebellions and initiatives such as the anti-roads movement and environmental justice networks in Glasgow, Scotland; and revolutionary movements in Kathmandu, Nepal. To this end, I recently edited a special issue of Urban Studies journal on Cities and Conflict (2010).

Scholar Activism

My research involves politically engaged and committed research that is practice-based and conducted in horizontal collaboration with social movements. This implies both an immersion in the ‘field’ – in the various sites of research or places of encounter – as well as immersion in the practices that one is conducting research on. This necessitates critical engagement with social movements in specific places that constitute embodied ‘terrains of resistance’. Hence, I have participated in, and written about: the anti-roads movement in the U.K.; anti-tourism struggles in Goa India; the anti-dam resistance of the Narmada Bachao Andolan in India; the People’s Global Action network in Asia; land occupation struggles of the Bangladesh Krishok Federation; the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army; and climate justice struggles in Europe and South Asia.

I am currently commencing collaboration with the international farmer’s network, La Via Campesina and the Climate Justice Now! network particularly in South Africa and Thailand (with Focus on the Global South). Recent ESRC funded research (in 2010-11) used popular education and social theatre to address issues of poverty and environmental justice in Scotland. The research involved participation from economically marginalised urban communities and was designed to enhance their ability to build effective, productive connections and solidarities between themselves concerning their responses to environmental injustice.

My current research is concerned with the nexus of climate change, economic inequality and social justice. In particular, the research focuses upon the role of social movements (and other civil society organisations) in both Global North and Global South contexts in creating innovative responses to contemporary environmental, political and economic challenges. I am currently in collaboration with farmer’s movements in South Asia who participate in the international farmer’s network, La Via Campesina (The Peasants’ Way: around issues of climate change and food sovereignty. To this end, I attended the Sixth International Conference of La Via Campesina in Jakarta, Indonesia in June, 2013. More recently I have drawn together both key strands of my research in Space Invaders: radical geographies of protest (Pluto Press, 2017).

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD, Geography (Syracuse)
  • MSc, Geography (LSE)
  • BSc, Geography (Kingston)

Student education

I am currently teaching on the MSc in Sustainable Cities; and BA Geography modules in Creating Alternative Futures; Geographies of Global Insecurties (Module Leader); Political and Development Geographies; and People, Place and Politics.

Research groups and institutes

  • Social Justice, Cities, Citizenship
<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>