Dr James FraserLecturer
My research interests converge on the question of how people can live well - socially and environmentally – in the Anthropocene. My empirical work focuses on peasants and indigenous peoples in rural and forested regions of Amazonia and West Africa. These concerns have developed through two intersecting strands:
The first seeks to comprehend the knowledge(s) and social institutions that shape forest and rural peoples agroecological practices of horticulture and agroforestry and the relationship of these social-ecological systems to sustainability. An interview with me on this research recently featured in Emergence Magazine.
The second is concerned with understanding and supporting forest and rural peoples’ political struggles for recognition, autonomy, and decolonization including rights claims to the common use territories, along with social, environmental and climate justice moments and food sovereignty. An interview with me on this research recently featured in Mongabay.
My most sustained fieldwork engagements are in Brazilian Amazonia, and I have also worked in West Africa (Liberia) and Central America (Nicaragua). I work collaboratively with a variety of scholars and activists, including many from the Global South.
I draw on theory and methods from the disciplines of Geography and Anthropology and from the research programmes of Political and Historical Ecology, Postcolonial and Development Studies. My research is transdisciplinary in that it combines engagement with social movements with both critical and quantitative social science and GIS, along with natural science (ecology and soil science) methods.
I hold a CONFAP UK Academies Fellowship 2019-2021 “Socio-ecological resilience, territory and conflict in Western Pará, Brazilian Amazonia”, based at the Federal University of Pará, Brazil.
I was Visiting Fellow at the Federal University of Western Pará, Brazil, 2016-2019 under the H2020 Odyssea network.
I am convener for:
LEC.322 Environment, Society and Politics in Amazonia (taught with Luke Parry & Jos Barlow)
LEC.320 Africa: Geographies of Transformation (taught with Camilla Toulmin)
I also teach the Environmental Geographies block in the Part 1 module LEC.114 Society and Space, and contribute to the masters module LEC.401 Perspectives on Environment and Development.
I am Part II Director of Studies for Geography
Office B538 in LEC 1 / Green Zone