Charis is a Presidential Fellow in Socio-Environmental Systems at the Global Development Institute. Her research interests sit at the intersection of critical development studies, human and environmental geography, and political ecology, focusing on the impacts of large-scale investments in land and natural resources on rural landscapes, ecologies and socialities. Her most recent projects have looked at investments in biodiversity conservation in East Africa, and the impacts of large-scale infrastructure development on rural areas in East and Central Africa.
Charis is interested in how contemporary investments in land and natural resources are shaped and made possible by the past, including processes of colonial land alienation, enclosure, displacement, and settlement. Her work also looks at changing human-environment relations around sites of land and natural resource investment. Key themes running through her work include: coloniality, knowledge, expertise, mobility, governance and more-than-human relations. Her approach to research is politically engaged and influenced by the scholar-activism tradition, placing emphasis on collective learning, reflection and action.
Before coming to the University of Manchester, Charis was a Lecturer in International Development in the Department of Geography at the University of Sheffield and a SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Political Science at the University of Guelph in Canada.
Charis welcomes enquiries from potential PhD students interested in researching: the impacts of land and natural resource investments on rural areas; the coloniality of new investments in land and natural resources; the implications of investments in land and natural resources for more-than-human relations; changing human-environment relations; and rural movements in response to environmental crises, such as climate change and biodiversity loss.