Dr Gemma Sou

Lecturer in Disaster Studies

Full contact details
View graph of relations


My research focuses on postcolonialising disaster studies. I'm interested in the everyday lives and experiences of people living with disaster risk, as well as the challenges of disaster risk policy-making processes in postcolonial societies. I also work on the media representations of human vulnerability, and am interested in the representational practises of alternative technologies.

I'm currently working on two active projects: First, a longitudinal study of household disaster recovery in Puerto Rico. I'm using in depth interviews to follow 20 families as they recover from the impacts of Hurricane Maria (2017). Second, I'm exploring the challenges of disaster recovery policy-making processes in postcolonial societies, looking at the Caribbean following Hurricane Irma (2017). 

I am on the editorial board for the Journal of Humanitarian Affairs, and am Secretary for the Developing Areas Research Group at the Royal Geographical Society. I am also a Fellow of the Humanitarian Innovation Initiative at Brown University, U.S.A.


I am interested in supervising doctoral students on postcolonial approaches to disaster studies, grassroots disaster risk reduction and media representations of human vulnerability.


  • Global south, Postcolonial theory, Disaster risk reduction, Media representations , Socio-cultural approaches to disaster risk management, Risk perceptions, Human vulnerability

Education / academic qualifications

  • 2015 - Doctor of Philosophy, Development studies, Global Development Institute
  • 2009 - Master of Planning, Urban Development Planning in the Global South, The University of Manchester
  • 2008 - Bachelor of Arts, International Relations and Politics, The University of Sheffield
  • 2007 - Bachelor of Arts, Political Science (study abroad year), Virginia Tech

Related information