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Key Profile Area: Global South Studies

Prof. Mary Lawhon, PhD

Member of the Global Faculty

Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, School of Geoscience, University of Edinburgh

Mary Lawhon is Senior Lecturer in Human Geography in the School of Geoscience at the University of Edinburgh. She graduated from Clark University in 2011 and has worked at the Universities of KwaZulu-Natal, Cape Town, Pretoria and Oklahoma.

Mary is a political ecologist whose work focuses on environmental politics and processes in African cities. She is am currently pursuing two lines of inquiry. The first is the examination of heterogeneous infrastructure configurations of waste and sanitation, including thinking through how such configurations work, are being reworked, and redistribute risk and power.  Her second focal area is the politics of work and distribution in the context of green transitions and high unemployment. She am interested in the possibilities generated by cash transfers (including Universal Basic Income) to rework ongoing political ecological challenges and enable alternatives futures. She also continues to be invested in clarifying and advancing debates about theorizing about and from southern contexts, including in her book Making Urban Theory: Learning and Unlearning through Southern Cities. 

Sample publications:

  1. Lawhon, Mary with contributions from Lené Le Roux*, Anesu Makina* and Yaffa Truelove. (2020) Making Urban Theory: Learning and Unlearning through Cities of the Global South. Routledge.
  2. Nsangi Nakyagaba*, Gloria, Mary Lawhon, Shuaib Lwasa, Jonathan Silver, and Frederick Tumwine. (In press). Power, politics and a poo pump: Contestation over Legitimacy, Access and Benefits of Sanitation Technology in Kampala. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography.
  3. Lawhon, Mary and Tyler McCreary. (2020) Beyond jobs vs the environment: On the potential of universal basic income to reconfigure environmental politics. Antipode. 52(2): 452-474.
  4. Lawhon, Mary, Nate Millington and Kathleen Stokes*. (2018) A labour question for the 21st century: Perpetuating the work ethic in the absence of jobs in South Africa’s waste sector. Journal of Southern African Studies. 44(6): 1115-1131.
  5. Lawhon, Mary, David Nilsson, Jonathan Silver, Henrik Ernstson and Shuaib Lwasa. (2018) Thinking through heterogenous infrastructure configurations. Urban Studies. 55(4) 720-32.