|Email: l dot sealey-huggins at warwick dot ac dot uk|
|Tel.: +44 (0)24765 24970|
|Room: R3.29, Ramphal Building|
Twitter: @Leon_Ayo (personal account)
Leon is currently on a career break until the end of August 2023
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 breakdown, with a particular focus on the Caribbean region. In my research I consider the sociology and politics of the climate crisis 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 breakdown.
Teaching and supervision
I am delighted to have been a part of the launch of the GSD programme at Warwick. The programme has offered me the opportunity to bring together the different disciplinary approaches I have worked with (mainly geography, sociology, political sciences) into my teaching. The programme is attracting a very engaged body of students who are a pleasure to work with.
On the GSD programme I am responsible for three modules:
- I convene the core Year One module Social Principles of Global Sustainable Development
- I also convene the Honours-level module Surviving the Apocalypse
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.
I am a committee member of the Warwick branch of the Universities and College Union (UCU) and a Fellow of the Higher Education Association.
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 breakdown 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 the climate crisis 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 breakdown 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 breakdown in the Caribbean; the conditions of contemporary higher education; explorations in activist-scholarship; and the impacts of neoliberalism on contemporary societies.
I am a Committee member of the Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies.
- Along with Black Conscious Coventry, Dr Meleisa Ono-George, Dr Lara Choksey and Dr Nathaniel Tobias C———, I helped to coordinate a European Culture Foundation-funded community research intervention, Windrush Strikes Back! Grounded in the conviction that “We are here, because you were there”, the project recruited local descendants of the Windrush Generation to act as “Decolonial Detectives”, digging deeper into inter-related hidden histories.
- In collaboration with Dr Anja Kanngieser, we co-organised Antipode International Workshop Grant “Frontiers of environmental justice: Building transoceanic solidarity between the Pacific, the Caribbean and the United Kingdom”, University of Warwick, Institute for Global Sustainable Development/Yesu Persaud Centre for Caribbean Studies.
Publications, media and community engagement
Peer-reviewed publications, book chapters & reports
- 2022, co-authored with Sivamohan Valluvan, 'The Rise of Nationalism: Lessons from Europe',
Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies, New York: Center on International Cooperation.
- 2022, Work cited in IPCC's WGII Sixth Assessment Report (Chapter 8: Poverty, Livelihoods and Sustainable Development)
- 2021, ‘Deal or no deal?’ Exploring the potential, limits and potential limits of Green New Deals, Common Wealth
- 2021, 'The socially created a-symmetries of climate change impacts', in Perspectives on a Global Green New Deal, Curated and edited by Harpreet Kaur and Dalia Gebrail,
- 2019, 'Instagram Photography and the Geography Field Course: Snapshots from Berlin', Journal of Geography in Higher Education (CJGH), with Thom Davies and Colin Lorne.
- 2018, ''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 activist networks, community organisations and civil society groups to broaden the conversations on the climate crisis 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
The Ecologist, Billionaires and the climate storm
- Red Pepper, 'On track to what? Colonialism, climate change and COP23', with Nic Beuret 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 2021, Keynote Speaker, British Sociological Association [online]
- August 2020, Labour for a Green New Deal, 'What a real Global Green New Deal looks like' [watch online]
- July 2020, Arms Trade 101 & Intersecting Issues: Panel Event [watch online]
- March 2020, Race + Climate Justice: Collective Conversation, Racial Justice Network, Leeds
- November 2019, Keynote Speaker, Political Ecologies of the Far Right, Lund University [watch online]
- November 2019, Final Plenary, Historical Materialism, SOAS/Birkbeck, 'Disaster Communism, Extinction Capitalism and How to Survive Tomorrow'.
- October 2019, David Nicholls Trust 20th Memorial Lecture, Oxford University
- 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', Inaugural 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