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Professor Marcus Power

Professor in the Department of Geography
Telephone: +44 (0) 191 33 41828
Fax: +44 (0)191 33 41801
Room number: 238
Fax: +44 (0) 191 33 41801
Professor, Urban Worlds

Contact Professor Marcus Power (email at


One of the key objectives of my research is to radicalise and rethink the ways in which ‘development’ has been understood in Geography and to foreground and underline the importance of geographical perspectives in formulating new and more critical theoretical understandings of ‘development’. In particular, my work has sought to explore the genealogy and degeneration of ‘Tropical’ Geography and the ongoing decolonisation of development geography. This has focused on the potential of post-structural perspectives concerned with the power and dissemination of ‘development’, with particular reference to sub-Saharan Africa.

My work also aims to weave together issues concerning economic geographies of neoliberalism and questions of politico-economic transformations in the post-socialist spaces of the global South. My recent research has focused on the dissemination of neoliberalism through Investment Promotion Authorities (IPA’s) and global development institutions such as UNCTAD and the Commonwealth. Allied to this has been my concern with Geographies of disability and development in Africa (with particular reference to war veterans with physical disabilities in Angola and Mozambique) and a wider interest in the geopolitical imagination of ‘development’ in which I am currently seeking to explore the increasingly influential role of Chinese geopolitical discourses in Africa. This project, due for completion in 2010, seeks to understand China’s evolving political and economic role in Africa and assesses what impacts Chinese aid, trade and investment are having on the politics of specific African countries, and the extent to which it excites geopolitical competition. This is being examined through case studies of Angola and Ghana, which represent different examples of China’s development ‘partnerships’ in Africa.

Much of my research has also been concerned with the former Portuguese empire in Africa and has explored the theorisation and practices of ‘development’ in Lusophone African post-colonial states, primarily Angola and Mozambique. This has involved an interest in the geopolitics of Portuguese imperialism, leading to a number of recent publications concerned with national identity, decolonisation and visual representation in ‘post-colonial’ Portugal (with particular reference to colonial and post-colonial exhibitions and representations of Portugal’s colonial wars and imperial discoveries). A concern with geopolitics and ‘post-colonial’ geographies in the Lusophone world has been an important focus of my research which has explored the relevance and potential of post-colonial theorisations to understandings of the construction of national identity (in Portugal and its former colonies) and to the project of rethinking the geographies of ‘development’ in Africa more generally.

Questions of visual culture have consistently been an important part of my research, with a particular focus on the importance of cinema in shaping popular understandings of geopolitics. Other work has sought to explore the ways in which radio, television and cinema have shaped cultural identities in post-colonial Southern Africa. This has involved work on colonial and post-colonial cinema in Portugal and Mozambique and has focused on the geopolitical reasoning and imaginations that are constructed through film. I am also interested in the importance of contemporary popular video games in the construction of terrorist ‘others’ and in soliciting support for US imperialism and the ‘war on terror’, exploring the ways in which video games promote active participation in a (militarized) culture of violence. I have also written about Hollywood film production in Cold War America and Hollywood film and geopolitics in the context of Gulf War II.

Previous appointments:

Lecturer in Human Geography, School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol.

Lecturer in Human Geography, School of Geography, University of Leeds.

Teaching Assistant in Human Geography, School of Geography, University of Leeds.

Qualifications and Education:

• (1994-1997) ESRC funded PhD research 'Territory, the State and Cultural Identities in 'Post-Colonial' Mozambique' School of Geography, University of Birmingham, (supervised by Dr J D Sidaway).

• (1993-1994) MA in the Geography of Third World Development (with distinction), Department of Geography, Royal Holloway and Bedford New College, University of London.

• (1990-1993) BA Hons. Geography, Department of Geography, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

Research Groups

Department of Geography

Research Projects

Department of Geography

Research Interests

  • Critical geographies and genealogies of (post)development
  • Energy geographies and low carbon transitions
  • Post-colonialism, Portugal and Lusophone Africa
  • Post-socialist transformations in Southern Africa
  • China-Africa engagement
  • Vision, visuality and 'popular' geopolitics

Selected Publications

Books: authored

Books: edited

Books: sections

  • Sidaway, J.D., Mamadouh, V. & Power, M. (2013). Reappraising Geopolitical Traditions. In The Ashgate Research Companion to Critical Geopolitics. Dodds, K., Kuus, M. & Sharp, J. Ashgate. 165-88.
  • Power, M, & Mohan, G. (2010). China and the Geopolitical Imagination of African ‘Development'. In China-Africa Development Relations. Dent, C. London: Routledge.
  • Campbell, D. & Power, M. (2010). The Scopic Regime of Africa. In Observant States: Geopolitics and Visual Culture. MacDonald, F., Hughes, R. & Dodds, K. London: IB Tauris. 167-198.
  • Power, M. (2009). 'Digital war games and post 9/11 geographies of militarism'. In War Isn't Hell, it's Entertainment: Essays on Visual Media and the Representation of Conflict. Schubart, R., Virchow, F. & White-Stanley, D. London: McFarland. 198-215.
  • Phelps, N, Power, M & Wanjiru, R (2007). 'Learning to compete: communities of investment promotion practice and the spread of global neoliberalism'. In Neoliberalization: States, Networks, Peoples. England, K and Ward, K (eds) London: Blackwell. 83-109.
  • Power, M (2007). National States. In Encyclopedia of Geography. Douglas, I., Huggett, R. & Perkins, C. London: Routledge.
  • Power, M. (2006). ‘War veterans, disability and post-colonial citizenship in Lusophone Africa’. In Gilbert, E. & Cowen, E. London.: Sage.
  • Power, M. (2006). Dependency Theory. In Encyclopaedia of Geography. Wharf, B. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Power, M. (2005). 'Cold War'. In Encyclopedia of International Development. Forsyth, T. Routledge. 88-89.
  • Power, M (2005). 'Decolonization'. In Encyclopedia of Inernational Development. Forsyth, T Routeldge. 138-140.
  • Power, M. (2005). 'Mahbub Ul Haq (1934-98)'. In Fifty key thinkers in development. Simon, D. Routledge. 264-270.
  • Power, M. (2005). 'War'. In Encyclopedia of International Development. Forsyth, T. Routledge. 745-746.
  • Power, M. (2004). ‘Geographies of governance and regional politics’. In Eastern and Southern Africa: Development challenges in a Volatile region. Potts, D. & Bowyer-Bower, T. London.: Pearson. 255-294.
  • Power, M. (2004). 'Worlds apart: global difference and inequality'. In An Introduction to Human Geography: Issues for the twenty-first century. Daniels, P., Bradshaw, M., Shaw, D. & Sidaway, J. Pearson, Prentice Hall. 185-209.
  • Power, M. (2003). 'Exploding the myth of Portugal’s ‘maritime destiny’ A postcolonial voyage through EXPO ’98’. In Post-colonial Geographies. Blunt, A. & McEwan, C. London.: Continuum.
  • Power, M. (2001). 'Enlightenment and the era of modernity’. In The Companion to Development Studies. Desai, V. & Potter, R. London.: Arnold. 65-70.
  • Power, M. & Sidaway, J.D. (1998). ‘Sex and Violence on the wild frontiers: the aftermath of state socialism in the periphery’. In Theorizing the transition: the political economy of change in Post-Communist Societies. Pickles, J. & Smith, A. London.: Routledge. 145-178.

Journal papers: academic

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Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Economics:
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  • International: Politics, institutions & law:
  • International: Business, economy & development:
  • Africa:
  • Conflict and resolution:
  • Policy and politics:
  • Security, territory and boundaries:
  • Government:
  • International politics:
  • Europe: Language, literature & culture:
  • Disability issues:
  • Visual culture:
  • Citizenship, state and governance:
  • Oil and gas:
  • Asia (excluding Middle East):
  • International development:
  • Gaming:


Selected Grants

  • 2012: The rising powers, clean development and the low (£310700.96 from Esrc)
  • 2012: Thorn Lighting Support for 'Energy for Development' (E4DEV) research group (£8333.33 from Thorn Lighting Ltd)
  • 2013: Low Carbon Energy for Development Network (LCEDN) Supplement (£5489.60 from Department for Energy and Climate Change)
  • 2012: LCEDN Project and Conference Sponsorship (£6000.00 from Epsrc)
  • 2012: Low Carbon Energy for Development Network (£29549.38 from Department for Energy and Climate Change)
  • 2011: China's impact in Africa (£15000.00 from Department for International Development)
  • 2011: Low carbon development and the 'rising powers' (£3500.00 from One NorthEast)
  • 2011: Visual Culture; (£29122.00 from The Leverhulme Trust)
  • 2008: CASE-Studentship Partner (Claire Collingwood) (£6152.00 from Mines Advisory Group)
  • 2007: THE POLITICS OF CHINESE ENGAGEMENT (£221630.25 from Esrc)
  • 2006: MOZAMBIQUE AND THE COMMONWEALTH (£5551.00 from The Nuffield Foundation)