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Durham University

Department of Geography

Staff Profile

Dr Joe Williams

Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41938
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 41801
Room number: 504

Contact Dr Joe Williams (email at joseph.g.williams@durham.ac.uk)

Biography

I am Assistant Professor in Human Geography with interests broadly encompassing urban studies, political ecology, development, science and technology, and political economy. I engage with contemporary theoretical debates in materialist social philosophy around the politics of relationality, social power, environmental transformation and posthuman thought through two related interdisciplinary research projects:

The politics of water governance, through which I interrogate the multiple and complex relations between ecology, society and technology. My research in this area has so far focussed on the political ecology of seawater desalination as an emerging municipal water supply in Southern California.

Nexus thinking. The ‘water-energy-food nexus’ has emerged over the past decade as an important new approach to environmental governance, which emphasises the interconnections, tensions and synergies between sectors that have traditionally been managed separately. My main engagement with nexus thinking has been to argue that, although the nexus discourse has so far developed along reductionist and de-politicising techno-managerial lines, the politics of the nexus –the historical production of environmental ‘sectors’, the ways in which they are understood to connect, and moreover, the ways in which it is proposed they should interact– matter enormously.

2013-2016: PhD Human Geography, University of Manchester.

2011-2012: MSc Environment and Development, University of Edinburgh.

2008-2011: BA (Hons) Geography, University of Manchester

Research Interests

  • Energy
  • Environmental governance
  • Nexus thinking
  • Political ecology
  • Urban Geography
  • Water

Selected Publications

Journal Article

Edited book

  • Williams, J. & Swyngedouw, E. Tapping the Oceans: Seawater Desalination and the Political Ecology of Water. Edward Elgar; 2018.

Chapter in book

  • Williams, J. Commodifying the Pacific Ocean: Desalination and the neoliberalisation of water in Southern California. In: Williams, J. & Swyngedouw, E. Tapping the Oceans: Seawater Desalination and the Political Ecology of Water. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham; 2018:166 - 186.
  • Williams, J. & Swyngedouw, E. Mobilising the oceans to quench our thirst. In: Williams, J. & Swyngedouw, E. Tapping the Oceans: Seawater Desalination and the Political Ecology of Water. Edward Elgar, Cheltenham; 2018:1 - 23.
  • Williams, J. The Ocean Bountiful? De-salination, de-politicisation, and binational water governance on the Colorado River. In: Menga, F. & Swyngedouw, E. Water, Technology, and the Nation-State. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge; 2018:19-33.

Book review

  • Williams, J. Book review: 'Water: Abundance, scarcity and security in the age of humanity' (Schmidt, J.J., 2017). Water Alternatives. 2017;10:934-936.

Working Paper

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