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Current Postgraduate Research Students

Emma Cardwell supervises 3 postgraduate research students. If these students have produced research profiles, these are listed below:

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Dr Emma Cardwell

Lecturer in Economic Geography

Emma Cardwell

LEC Building



Research overview

I am a lecturer in economic geography in Lancaster Environment Centre, with a specialism in social justice, property rights and food production. I engage with the fields of Science and Technology Studies (STS) and feminist and decolonial theory to understand how we relate to the world through agriculture and food.


PhD supervision

I am available to supervise PhD students interested in working on land, economics, farming, fisheries and food production from feminist or postcolonial standpoints.

Research Interests

I am interested in studying socio-economic organization, and struggles over socio-ecological relationships, particularly around the production of food. This includes: labour and work in food production; property rights; state discipline and violence; land access; community rights and food justice; economic subject formation; the ontological and metaphysical aspects of economy and environment; rural and peasant economies; the legal, economic and political infrastructures of food systems, and what impacts these have 'on the ground'.

My research focuses on the socio-economic relationships that order community and land, and I'm interested in what sub-altern and post-colonial theory can tell us about the 'colonial core'. As such, I conduct research primarily in the UK, but am engaged with Majority World academics, theories and movements, particularly in Brazil and Mexico. With colleagues across Latin America, I am currently working on the UK strand of the project "Socioterritorial Movements in Comparative Perspective" comparing agrarian movements around the world. I work with the Landworkers' Alliance and Solidarity Among Land Trades (SALT). I and am part of the LEC Political Ecology research group.

Current Teaching

I am course convenor of the level 2 Economic Geography module in LEC, which teaches economic geography from feminist and postcolonial standpoints, and level 1 Society and Space, which is an overview of the key themes in human geography. I co-teach Food and Agriculture in the 21st Century with James Fraser.

I also teach the Sustainable Agriculture and Responding to Environmental Challenges modules of the JWL BA in Sustainable Development. This is a free online degree designed for, and delivered to, students in refugee camps across the world. I am currently working with the Land Workers' Alliance to develop socioeconomic and political education for agroecology.

Along with Sally Cawood, I run the Many Worlds Film Club, a LEC funded initiative screening international films and discussions on the topic of environment and social justice at the Gregson Community Centre in Lancaster.

Career Details

I joined Lancaster Environment Centre in 2022 as a Lecturer in Economic Geography. Before this, I was a Lecturer in Human Geography in Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences at Nottingham Trent University from 2020 to 2022, where I led the human geography content of the geography degrees, and a Lecturer in Human Geography at the University of Glasgow from 2018 to 2020, where I designed and co-convened the Earth Futures MSc.

Prior to this, I worked as a research associate on a SARIC-funded project on the socio-ecological metabolisms of nutrient cycling and pollution in UK agriculture in the Sociology Department of Lancaster University, and an an ESRC funded project on the socio-legal infrastructures of UK marine conservation at the University of Bristol Law School.

I studied a DPhil in Economic Geography at the University of Oxford, an MSc in Nature, Society and Environmental Policy also at Oxford, and a BSc in Environmental Policy at the London School of Economics. I won best MSc research dissertation at Oxford, best dissertation in Geography and Environment at LSE, and highest final-year marks university-wide at LSE.

I grew up in a rural mining community in South Yorkshire, and worked for a number of years in minimum wage and informal sector roles in Doncaster, Leeds, York, Nottingham, London and Paris before resitting my A-Levels at evening class in order to join academia in my late twenties. I was the first person in my extended family to attend university: apart from medical professionals and my teachers at school, I did not meet anyone with a university degree until I was in my late teens. I consider these years an important part of my educational trajectory, and passionately believe, and have experience of, rich knowledge systems beyond formally-recognised learning.

I am a qualified Playworker, and have worked with children in a range of play settings. This includes out of school clubs for 5-16 year-olds in South and East Yorkshire, free youth schemes in Edmonton, North London, the family-run Love Kids children's home in Nkoranza, Ghana, the Toybox charity for children of inmates at Barlinnie Prison, Glasgow, and Global Link in Lancaster, working with the children of refugees and asylum seekers. This experience means I am very interested in haptic, experiential and non-traditional learning, among both children and adults, particularly in outdoor settings.

I am a member of the Lune Valley Community Land Trust and Bentley Urban Farm.

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