Dr Leon Sealey-Huggins
I joined the Global Sustainable Development (GSD) programme in September 2016 from the Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick. Prior to that appointment I worked in the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds.
My work centres on the social and political relations of climate change, with a particular focus on the Caribbean region. In my research I consider the sociology and politics of climate change in the Caribbean, investigating what climate justice means in the context of global historical, and present, inequalities. I am particularly keen to bring a sociological lens to bear upon what are often very unsociological, and depoliticised, discussions of climate change.
I completed my PhD in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Leeds in 2014. The thesis constituted a sociological investigation into the politics of climate change in the Caribbean. It involved conducting ethnographic fieldwork with actors involved in activism, public engagement and policy-making across the region. The thesis found that while there are indeed trends towards depoliticised, and unsociological, responses to climate change in and around the Caribbean, it is impossible to understand these tendencies without reference to the history of the region as a formerly colonised area. Moreover, the current trajectories of development and climate change in the Caribbean need to be understood in relation to more recent shifts towards forms of neoliberal governance.
My general research interests centre on and around: the sociology of climate change in the Caribbean; the conditions of contemporary higher education; explorations in activist-scholarship; and the impacts of neoliberalism on contemporary societies.
teaching and supervision
I was delighted to learn of the GSD programme at Warwick as it offers the opportnity for me to bring together the different disciplinary approaches I have worked with (mainly in geography, sociology, political sciences) into my teaching. I am pleased to say that the programme is attacting a very engaged body of students who are a pleasure to work with.
On the Global Sustainable Development Programme I am responsible for four modules:
- I convene the Core Year 1 module Social Principles of Global Sustainable Development
- I am the academic convener of the Core Year 1 Mini Project research module
- Along with Dr Andrew Jones, I co-convene the 2nd Year optional core module Food Systems: Security, Sovereignty, and Sustainability
- I convene the module Surviving the Apocalypse (not currently running).
Beyond the School, I have a broad range of teaching experience in sociology including having taught on introductory social theory and research methods courses, and more specialist environmental sociology modules.
I have supervised a number of undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations to completion.
I am particularly keen to explore the role of education in pursuit of more equal and sustainable societies, and am trying to adopt pedagogical approaches that will help to achieve this end.
publications, media and community engagement
Peer reviewed publications
- Forthcoming, ''The Climate Crisis is a Racist Crisis': Structural Racism, Inequality and Climate Change', Chapter 10 in The Fire Now: Anti-racist scholarship in times of explicit racial violence,
Edited by Azeezat Johnson, Remi Joseph-Salisbury and Beth Kamunge, Zed Books.
- 2017, 'Whatever happened to the idea of imperialism?', with John Narayan, Third World Quarterly
- 2017, '‘1.5oC to stay alive’: Climate change, imperialism and justice for the Caribbean', Third World Quarterly
- 2016, 'Depoliticised activism? Ambivalence and pragmatism at the COP16', International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy
- 2013, ‘Neoliberalism and Depoliticisation in the Academy: understanding the ‘new student rebellions’’, co-authored with Andre Pusey, in Graduate Journal of Social Sciences, Vol 10 Iss 2
- 2013, ‘Transforming the University: Beyond Students and Cuts’, co-authored with Andre Pusey, ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies, Vol 12, Iss 3
- May 2012, ‘Movements and Moments for Climate Justice: From Copenhagen to Cancun via Cochabamba’, co-authored with Bertie Russell and Andre Pusey, in ACME: An International E- Journal for Critical Geographies, Vol 11, Iss 1, p15-32
I have worked with a number of community organisations and civil society groups to broaden the conversations on climate change and social justice beyond the academy. In conjunction with Black Conscious Coventry I participated in an Ideas Cafe: Caribbean Studies Workshop.
In addition to contributing non-academic publications, I am keen to share my research with as wide an audience as possible. I have appeared as an invited commentator on broadcast media including Al Jazeera (What's behind world's recent extreme weather events? - Inside Story), the BBC, France24, and Talk Radio.
Selected non-academic publications
- Red Pepper, 'On track to what? Colonialism, climate change and COP23', with Nic Buret and Anja Kanngieser
- Novara Media, '3 Ways Inequality is at the Heart of Hurricane Irma’s Destruction'
- Toxic News, '‘‘Dis Da Fi Wee?”: Oil, Conservation and Development in Belize'.
- Discover Society, DS35 August 2016, Imaging the Anthropocene, Policy Briefing: Oil, Conservation and Development in Belize
- Red Pepper, Magazine – ‘Trouble at the sausage factory’, co-authored with Andre Pusey
- Leeds Student, newspaper – contributed various articles (2005 - 2008) including on: climate change; recycling in Leeds; and cycling in Copenhagen.
- Green Guide: Towards Sustainable Living in Leeds – contributed the recycling and water conservation sections. University of Leeds supplied to all first year undergraduate students.
Selected conference papers and invited presentations
- April 2018, 'Climate Justice: An Inequitable Burden', Commonwealth People's Forum, Commonwealth Foundation
- August 2017, 'One point five to stay alive: climate change and the Black British community', Inagurual Deyika Nzeribe Memorial Lecture.
- July 2016, ‘Rethinking Climate Change in the Caribbean: Locating the Politics of Climate Debt’, Gordon K. and Sybil Lewis Plenary Panel: Politics and Philosophies of Reparation, 40th Annual Conference of the Society for Caribbean Studies, Newcastle University Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies
- June 2016, Conference presentation, ‘Rethinking Caribbean Futures: Climate change in the Caribbean’, Caribbean Studies Association Annual Conference, Haiti
- May 2016, Invited discussant, Environmental Justice Panel, Environment and Expertise Workshop, ERC-funded Toxic Expertise project, University of Warwick
- May 2016, Invited presentation, '1.5oC to Stay Alive: Climate-Debt, Reparations and Justice in the Caribbean', at Whatever Happened to the Idea of Imperialism?, Leverhulme-funded symposium, Social Theory Centre, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick
- March 2016, Invited speaker at GRP Global Governance Workshop to Assess the Outcomes of the COP21 Climate Change Talks, presentation entitled 'Climate justice, with particular reference to the Caribbean'