Professor Jonathan Oldfield PhD

Professor Jonathan Oldfield

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Professor in Russian Environmental Studies
Head of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Contact details

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Jon Oldfield’s research is primarily focussed on an exploration of Russian understandings of physical natural systems. His current research has three main strands: Soviet climate science and its intellectual legacies, the science of geoengineering in the Soviet /Russian contexts, and Russian engagements with the Anthropocene as an empirical and conceptual entity. This research is funded by the AHRC, ESRC, Leverhulme Trust, and British Academy.


BSc (Hons), PGCE, PhD


  • Various teaching at Years 1 and 2
  • Most recently, Jon Oldfield has taught a Year 3 module - 'Nature-Society Relations: The Ecological Century'.

Postgraduate supervision

Jonathan Oldfield's research explores Russian understandings of physical natural systems with a specific focus on the work and ideas of Russian physical geographers during the late tsarist and Soviet periods. He is currently examining the development of Soviet climate science via the work of the climatologist M.I. Budyko. His research is funded by the ESRC, AHRC and British Academy.

Other activities

  • Editorial Board, New Area Studies
  • National Advisory Board, Europe-Asia Studies
  • Peer Review College member (academic), Art & Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
  • Peer Review College member (academic), Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • Executive Committee (Secretary), UK Association for Area Studies Associations


Recent publications


Oldfield, J 2021, The Soviet Union and Global Environmental Change: Modifying the Biosphere and Conceptualizing Society-Nature Interaction. Routledge Studies in the History of Russia and Eastern Europe, 1st edn, Routledge, London.

Oldfield, J & Shaw, D 2015, The development of Russian environmental thought: scientific and geographical perspectives on the natural environment. Routledge Contemporary Russia and Eastern Europe Series, 1st edn, Routledge.


Oldfield, J & Poberezhskaya, M 2023, 'Soviet and Russian perspectives on geoengineering and climate management', Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change.

Oldfield, J 2018, 'Imagining climates past, present and future: Soviet contributions to the science of anthropogenic climate change, 1953-1991', Journal of Historical Geography, vol. 60, pp. 41-51.

Oldfield, JD 2016, 'Mikhail Budyko's (1920-2001) contributions to Global Climate Science: from heat balances to climate change and global ecology', Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, vol. 7, no. 5, pp. 682–692.

Oldfield, JD & Shaw, DJB 2015, 'A Russian geographical tradition? The contested canon of Russian and Soviet geography, 1884–1953', Journal of Historical Geography, vol. 49, pp. 75-84.

Oldfield, J & Shaw, D 2015, 'Conceptualizing and utilizing the natural environment: critical reflections from imperial and soviet Russia', Slavonic and East European Review, vol. 93, no. 1, pp. 1-15.

Shaw, DJB & Oldfield, J 2015, 'Soviet geographers and the Great Patriotic War, 1941–1945 : Lev Berg and Andrei Grigor'ev', Journal of Historical Geography, vol. 47, pp. 40-49.

Oldfield, J 2013, 'Climate modification and climate change debates among Soviet physical geographers, 1940s-1960s', Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, vol. 4, no. 6, pp. 513-524.

Shaw, DJB & Oldfield, J 2013, 'V.I. Vernadskii and the development of biogeochemical understandings of the biosphere, c.1880s–1968', The British Journal for the History of Science, vol. 46, no. 02, pp. 287-310.


Oldfield, J 2021, Russia and Eurasia. in M Domosh, M Heffernan & C Withers (eds), The SAGE Handbook of Historical Geography. 1 edn, vol. 1, SAGE Publications, pp. 100-116. <>

Oldfield, J 2019, Second World. in International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, Second Edition. Elsevier Korea, pp. 113-118.

Oldfield, J & Doose, K 2018, Natural and anthropogenic climate change understanding in the Soviet Union, 1960s–1980s. in M Poberezhskaya & T Ashe (eds), Climate Change Discourse in Russia: Past and Present. Routledge.

Oldfield, J & Tickle, A 2017, Foreign economic relations and the environment: A historical approach. in Foreign Direct Investment and Regional Development in East Central Europe and the Former Soviet Union: A Collection of Essays in Memory of Professor Francis 'Frank' Carter. Taylor and Francis, pp. 123-139.

Oldfield, J, O'Hara, S & Shaw, D 2016, Environment and environmentalism. in East Central Europe and the former Soviet Union: The Post-Socialist States. Taylor and Francis, pp. 137-160.

View all publications in research portal


Russian environment; climate change; politics of climate science; environmental policy