Associate Professor
Associate Head of Undergraduate Program
University of British Columbia, 2011, PhD
University of British Columbia, MA
University of Victoria, BSc


My research and teaching focus on environmental politics. In geography this often goes under the label of political ecology, which refers to much more than the government or the state. It includes consideration of how environmental politics is shaped by and shapes economics, science, culture, history, gender, racism, colonialism, social movements and more. Those working in political ecology, including me, aim to better understand urgent problems – biodiversity loss, drought, poverty, ongoing dispossessions, gendered and racialized violences, climate change – but recognize that diagnosing the causes of these problems, and understanding the relationships between them, is complex and always political. In my research I focus especially on trying to understand how biodiversity loss continues despite the proliferation of international, national and regional conservation laws, policies and advocacy efforts. It seems as thought biodiversity loss has a kind of momentum of its own: but from where does that momentum stem? My current major research projects focus on 1) developing a political economic explanation of extinction, centered on an investigation of Canadian wildlife, and 2) examining dominant, increasingly economic and financial approaches to conservation. My research is in dialogue with diverse methodologies and literatures, including political ecology, feminist political economy, economic geography, science studies, and green finance.


DEMPSEY, J. and BIGGER, P. 2019 ‘Intimate Mediations of For-Profit Conservation Finance:  Waste, Improvement, and Accumulation’ Antipode 51(2), 517-538.



COLLARD, R. C. and DEMPSEY, J. 2018 ‘Accumulation by Difference-Making: an Anthropocene story, starring witches’ Gender, Place and Culture 25(9), 1349-1364         


BIGGER, P. and DEMPSEY, J. 2018 ‘The ins and outs of neoliberal natures’ Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space 1(1-2), 1-51



COLLARD, R. C. and DEMPSEY, J. 2017 ‘Capitalist natures in five orientations’ Capitalism, Nature, Socialism 28(1), 78-97



DEMPSEY, J. 2016 Enterprising nature: economics, markets and finance in global biodiversity politics (London: Wiley-Blackwell)

DEMPSEY, J. and SUAREZ, D. C. 2016 ‘Arrested Development? The Promises and Paradoxes of “Selling Nature to Save It”‘ Annals of the American Association of Geographers 106, 653-671  http://doi: 10.1080/24694452.2016.1140018



DEMPSEY, J. 2015 ‘Fixing biodiversity (loss)’ Environment and Planning A 47(12), 2555-2572

COLLARD, R. C., SUNDBERG, J. and DEMPSEY, J. 2015 ‘Abundant futures manifesto’ Annals of the American Association of Geographers 105(2), 322-330

Winter 2019

GEOG313 Environmental Justice and Social Change Sections

Economic, social, political and cultural structures and institutions that shape contemporary socioecological challenges.

Winter 2019

GEOG419 Research in Environmental Geography Sections

Details available from Geography Undergraduate Advisor. Not necessarily offered each year.

Winter 2019

GEOG520 Themes and Interpretive Issues in Modern Human Geography Sections

Themes and interpretive issues in modern human geography. Students from outside Geography require the permission of the Head of the department.