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Department of Geography

Some Recently Completed PhD Projects

Some Recently Completed PhD Projects

  • Landslide processes in Hong Kong
    Coastal mountainous areas in much of East Asia are affected by the frequent passage of typhoons, each of which deposits very large amounts of rainfall. The most intense events for example often lead to over a metre of rain falling in less than 48 hours. One of the impacts of these events is the triggering of landslides, which have proven to be extremely destructive to communities in their paths. Perhaps surprisingly at present we understand very poorly the mechanisms of these landslides. This research used simulation techniques to investigate the ways in which these landslides start, and in particular the linkage between rainfall and movement patterns. The outcome is that landslides can now be better managed in Hong Kong and in the rest of East Asia, and the potential exists for developing reliable warning systems.
  • Deforestation in Bangladesh
    Using satellite remote sensing, this thesis traced the decline since 1962 of one of the last remaining patches left in central Bangladesh. In addition to computer analysis of a series of images, the research involved talking to local people in order to understand the factors undermining sustainability. The overall conclusion was that the removal of vegetation had progressed much further that the Forest Department was willing to admit. This type of study is vital if we are to influence governments in developing countries about their environmental policies.

Current and Proposed PhD Projects, these need your financial support

  • HIV / AIDS in Bangladesh
    This PhD, now entering its third year, is a unique study of the medical geography of Bangladesh. Rather than attempting to model the spread of the disease by computer, the student has chosen to interview people in the at-risk categories. His fieldwork has been with long-distance truck drivers and sex workers, yielding insights into their attitudes and their lifeworlds. The complex social and cultural picture emerging shows that government policies will need to be sophisticated if they are to prevent the further of the disease. This research will inform the key thinkers and we hope that it will make a contribution to saving lives in the future.
  • Water allocation of trans-boundary water aquifers: the case of Palestine and Israel
    This project will investigate the issue of access to water in the border region between Israel and Palestine. The topic is of great political relevance. It has been at the heart of many conflicts over resources in the region in the last two decades. Access to water is crucial for the wellbeing of people living on both sides of the border and has major consequences for farming and the wider economy. The student is fluent in Arabic, English and French and has trained in Palestine, the USA and France.
  • Bangladeshis in the UK and their migration from Sylhet
    The Sylheti community is one of the largest and longest-standing ethnic minority groups in the north east of England. In contrast to Muslim communities elsewhere in the UK, very little is known about this group, and this especially applies to the lives of women migrants within these communities. This research will track their trajectories and experiences of migration to the UK across space and time, in so doing charting their social, economic and emotional geographies. It will locate movements that are usually reduced to statistical analysis within personal and collective stories and life-courses. The student who intends to take up this PhD is fluent in Bengali, and will use cutting-edge qualitative and participatory techniques. This will allow close examination of these women's experiences, both in the context of the internal dynamics of Bengali society in the region of origin, and within the Sylheti community and wider society in north east England. Using this intensive approach will allow a much deeper understanding of migration than has been achieved to date, as well as making visible and audible the experiences and voices of a group who occupy a marginalised position in relation to UK society and academic research.