Dr James Palmer

BA(Cantab.), MPhil(Cantab.), PhD(Cantab.)

  • BS8 1SS


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Personal profile

Research interests

My research examines resource-making practices associated with new bioenergy economies and infrastructures, the relationships between nonhuman (especially vegetal) natures, labour and value production, and the politics of environmental knowledge controversies relating to urban air pollution and climate geoengineering.

VC Fellowship Project—Putting plants to work? The Political Ecology of 'Advanced' Bioenergy

My Vice-Chancellor’s Fellowship research explores the implications—both political-economic and ontological—of the development of new forms of so-called ‘advanced’ bioenergy. In particular, it examines efforts to derive such energy from trees growing in the 'working forests' of the US South region, and from new varieties of sugar cane and miscanthus which have been genetically engineered to produce greater volumes of oil. The research will also explore how these developments, in reconfiguring the materialities and temporalities of plants and trees, complicate the roles played by non-human, vegetal life-forms within capitalist processes of value generation and wealth accumulation. As such, the project aims to advance a critical framework both for deliberating the terms under which advanced bioenergy should be developed and governed, and for rethinking the categories of labour, growth, ‘nature’, and indeed life itself within contemporary theories of capitalism.


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