Gustav Cederlöf

Universitetslektor, biträdande

School of Global
Visiting address
Konstepidemins väg 2
41314 Göteborg
Postal address
Box 700
40530 Göteborg

About Gustav Cederlöf

Associate Senior Lecturer in Human Ecology

I am an environmental geographer whose research examines the politics and cultural dimensions of environmental change. I focus on questions of property, unequal access and conflict in the context of energy use and low-carbon development. I have done extensive fieldwork in Cuba and have a particular interest in lived experiences of radical development practices.

I joined the School of Global Studies in 2021 following eight years at King’s College London. I received a PhD in Geography from King’s and was later a Teaching Fellow in the university’s Department of International Development. In 2018–19 I held an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship in a collaboration between King’s College London, Imperial College London and Queen Mary University of London, after which I took up a lectureship in Liberal Arts & Geography at King’s. I previously also taught in the Department of Geography & Environment at the London School of Economics.


  • 2010 BA in Development Studies, Uppsala University
  • 2013 MSc in Human Ecology, Lund University
  • 2017 PhD in Geography, King’s College London

Research themes

(i) Geographies of energy transition and low-carbon development

My main area of research focuses on how the uses of different energy sources, such as fossil fuels, enable particular spatial patterns of social and economic activity. The question is then how an energy transition upsets and reconfigures these patterns in (often) socially unequal and politically contentious ways. I am especially interested in the links between energy production and land use, infrastructure and state formation, and energy use and urban form.

The monograph The Low Carbon Contradiction, forthcoming with the University of California Press in 2023, develops this research theme via an in-depth study of Cuba’s dramatic energy history and how the country’s deep energy crisis in the 1990s reconfigured the socialist state.

(ii) Radical development and urbanisation

I have a longstanding interest in radical development paradigms with a special focus on Marxist politics and the Cuban revolution. I have expertise in Cuban and Latin American history more widely and have explored this theme in relation to Cuban “anti-urban” planning, nuclear power and urban agriculture.

(iii) Energy, materiality and knowledge

A third theme involves research on the elusive concept of “energy”. I have examined different ontological assumptions about what “energy” is, and especially the implications of a thermodynamic understanding of energy for social theory. This combines with an interest in the epistemological problems that arise when we produce knowledge about the environmental impacts of energy sources and energy technologies.

(iv) Political ecology

Finally, writing for a broader audience, I am currently working on a new foundational textbook for the field of political ecology (with Dr Alex Loftus). Discovering Political Ecology (Routledge, 2023) will introduce key concepts and themes in the field by engaging with decolonial debates, seeking to move beyond an established Anglo-American canon.


I teach and supervise dissertations across the School’s offering in human ecology and global studies. I currently convene the following modules:


  • GS1422 Project Management and Evaluation
  • HU1221 Sustainable Cities
  • HU1232 The History of Sustainable Development


  • ESD400 Economy, Global Inequality and Pathways to Sustainability
  • (PhD level) Political Ecology: Conflict, Power and Sustainability