Dr Brock Bersaglio

Dr Brock Bersaglio

International Development Department

Contact details

IDD - School of Government
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Brock Bersaglio is a political ecologist who researchers interactions between human and nonhuman life in the context of conservation and development, focusing on Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia. He is also involved in research on global development agendas, policies, and processes. 

Recurring themes in his work on conservation and development include:

  • Agency, structure, and power
  • Belonging, citizenship, and identity
  • Colonialism, imperialism, and justice
  • Land, labour, and livelihoods

Brock also partners with civil society organisations engaged in activism, policy advocacy, and other emancipatory agendas in the places he works – co-producing research and research outputs that contribute to their activities.

This profile contains information about his research, publications, and teaching. If you have any questions about his work or find yourself unable to access something he has written, please feel free to contact him directly.


  • PhD Human Geography 2017
  • MSc Rural Planning and Development 2012
  • BA Political Studies 2009 


Brock Bersaglio was born in British Columbia, Canada, and brought up in the Copperbelt Province of Zambia – although he completed his secondary school education in Kenya. Since finishing his undergraduate studies in 2009, he has worked in Canada, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zambia. He now lives in South Yorkshire, where he enjoys exploring the Peak District with his two dogs in his spare time.

His academic career began with the completion of a master’s thesis on the micro-politics of food aid in Turkana, Kenya, which he carried out through the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development at the University of Guelph. While completing his master’s degree, he also worked for an NGO on land reform and land-based livelihoods in the urban context of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

He later completed a PhD in the Department of Geography at the University of Toronto. His doctoral thesis – entitled “Green grabbing and the contested nature of belonging in Laikipia, Kenya” – was based on over 10 months of fieldwork in Laikipia, Kenya. During his PhD, he also consulted for the Overseas Development Institute on the livelihood impacts of oil and gas development in Turkana, Kenya.

Before joining IDD as a Lecturer, he was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Geography at the University of Sheffield, where he was involved in research on development corridors in East Africa, including LAPSSET in Kenya and SAGCOT and the Central Corridor in Tanzania. During this time, he continued with his previous research on private and community conservancies in northern Kenya whilst beginning research on wildlife management areas in the Greater Ruaha Ecosystem of southern Tanzania. 


Current teaching

  • MSc, International Development
  • International Development
  • Environment and Sustainable Development

Previous teaching

  • Morocco Field Class, Department of Geography, University of Sheffield
  • Key Issues in Environment and Development, Department of Geography, University of Sheffield
  • Development and Global Change, Department of Geography, University of Sheffield
  • Critical Development Geography, Department of Geography and Planning, University of Toronto
  • Political Ecology: Theory and applications, Department of Human Geography, University of Toronto Scarborough
  • Urban Geography, Department of Human Geography, University of Toronto Scarborough
  • Environments and Environmentalisms, Department of Human Geography, University of Toronto Scarborough
  • Africa in the World: An Introduction, Department of Historical and Cultural Studies, University of Toronto Scarborough
  • Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Development, Department of Human Geography, University of Toronto Scarborough
  • Land Reform and Development, Department of Human Geography, University of Toronto Scarborough
  • Social Research Methods, Department of Geography and Planning, University of Toronto
  • Seeds to Market: Intro to Urban Agriculture, University of the Fraser Valley and UN-Habitat


Research interests

His primary research interests include:

  • The socio-ecological impacts of protected areas, including impacts on land use and access, rural livelihoods, and human-nonhuman interactions
  • How novel and/or large-scale investments in land for agriculture, conservation, extraction, and infrastructure are experienced, negotiated, and resisted by diverse groups of actors in rural society
  • The cultural politics of rural change, such as contested notions of belonging, identity/solidarity, and knowledge production

These research interests are motivated by an underlying concern for justice amidst intensifying pressures on the socio-ecological fabrics of societies fuelled by varied forms of capitalist expansion, neo/colonialism and imperialism, and statebuilding exercises – all of which intersect and interact with conservation and development.

He also has a growing interest in researching how nonhuman life factors into socio-ecological change, both as subjects of injustice and as beings whose actions have justice implications for others. Thus far, his collaborative work in this area has focused on tigers in India, rhinos in Kenya, and ‘novel’ natures produced through partnerships between extractive companies and conservation organisations in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Current and recent projects

  • Principal Investigator, British Academy/Leverhulme Trust, Decolonising human-wildlife conflict prevention in Kenya through oral histories of coexistence 2019–2020
  • Co-investigator, Global Challenges Research Fund, Building a global network for research on mega-infrastructure, peace, and conflict in sub-Saharan Africa 2019
  • Co-investigator, Global Challenges Research Fund, Development corridors: Enabling or constraining ‘Water for All’ in East Africa 2018
  • Co-investigator, UONGOZI Institute, The rural livelihood impacts of East Africa’s new development corridors 2017–2018
  • Principal Investigator, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and International Development Research Centre, Green grabbing and the contested nature of belonging in Laikipia, Kenya 2015–2017
  • Co-investigator, Overseas Development Institute, Exploring the implications of oil and gas development for livelihood resilience in Turkana, Kenya 2014–2015 

Other activities

Research fellowships and professional appointments:

  • Research Fellow, Greenmentality: A political ecology of the green economy in the Global South, Norwegian University of Life Sciences 2017–Present  
  • Research Fellow, Biodiversity and Security: Understanding environmental crime, illegal wildlife trade, and threat Finance, University of Sheffield 2017–Present
  • Adjunct Researcher, East Africa Institute, Aga Khan University Kenya 2014–Present
  • SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Geography, University of Sheffield 2017–2019
  • Research Fellow, Sheffield Institute for International Development, University of Sheffield 2017–2019
  • SSHRC Doctoral Fellow, Department of Geography, University of Toronto 2012–2017
  • Doctoral Researcher, International Development Research Centre 2015–2016
  • Early Career Researcher, Overseas Development Institute 2014–2015


Recent publications


Bersaglio, B & Enns, C 2024, 'Settler Ecologies and the Future of Biodiversity: Insights from Laikipia, Kenya', Conservation and Society, pp. 1-13. https://doi.org/10.4103/cs.cs_25_23

Bersaglio, B 2023, 'Grounding drones in political ecology: Understanding the complexities and power relations of drone use in conservation', Global Challenges, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 47–67. https://doi.org/10.1332/HNEK4485

Enns, C, van Vliet, N, Muhindo, J, Nyumu, J, Bersaglio, B, Massé, F, Cerutti, PO & Nasi, R 2023, 'Vulnerability and coping strategies within wild meat trade networks during the COVID-19 pandemic', World Development, vol. 170, 106310. https://doi.org/j.worlddev.2023.106310

Enns, C, Bersaglio, B & Karmushu, R 2022, 'Disaster management takes to the skies: How new technologies are reconfiguring spatialities of power in desert locust management', Political Geography, vol. 98, 102732. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2022.102732

van Vliet, N, Muhindo, J, Nyumu, J, Enns, C, Massé, F, Bersaglio, B, Cerutti, P & Nasi, R 2022, 'Understanding Factors that Shape Exposure to Zoonotic and Food-Borne Diseases Across Wild Meat Trade Chains', Human Ecology, pp. 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10745-022-00361-1

Bersaglio, B & Margulies, J 2021, 'Extinctionscapes: Spatializing the commodification of animal lives and afterlives in conservation landscapes', Social and Cultural Geography. https://doi.org/10.1080/14649365.2021.1876910

Bersaglio, B, Enns, C, Karmushu, R, Luhula, M & Awiti, A 2020, 'How development corridors interact with the Sustainable Development Goals in East Africa', International Development Planning Review, vol. 0, pp. 1-26. https://doi.org/10.3828/idpr.2020.7

Enns, C & Bersaglio, B 2020, 'On the coloniality of 'new' mega-infrastructure projects in East Africa', Antipode, vol. 52, no. 1, pp. 101-123. https://doi.org/10.1111/anti.12582

Enns, C, Bersaglio, B & Sneyd, A 2019, 'Fixing extraction through conservation: on crises, fixes and the production of shared value and threat', Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, vol. 2, no. 4, pp. 967-988. https://doi.org/10.1177/2514848619867615

Bersaglio, B & Cleaver, F 2018, 'Artisanal mining in Southern Tanzania: Preliminary reflections on a ‘green squeeze’', Extractive Industries and Society, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 274-277. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exis.2018.06.001

Margulies, J & Bersaglio, B 2018, 'Furthering post-human political ecologies', Geoforum, vol. 94, pp. 103-106. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2018.03.017

Bersaglio, B & Cleaver, F 2018, 'Green grab by bricolage: the institutional workings of community conservancies in Kenya', Conservation and Society, vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 467-480. https://doi.org/10.4103/cs.cs_16_144

Chapter (peer-reviewed)

Enns, C, Bersaglio, B & Luhula, M 2022, Mediating the Infrastructure State: The Role of Local Bureaucrats in East Africa’s Infrastructure Scramble. in The rise of the infrastructure state: How US–China rivalry shapes politics and place worldwide. Bristol University Press. <https://bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/the-rise-of-the-infrastructure-state>

Enns, C & Bersaglio, B 2019, Negotiating pipeline projects and reterritorialising land through rural resistance in Northern Kenya. in J Devlin (ed.), Social Movements Contesting Natural Resource Development. Routledge, pp. 49-59. <https://www.routledge.com/Social-Movements-Contesting-Natural-Resource-Development/Devlin/p/book/9781138064737>

Bersaglio, B 2018, Green violence: Market-Driven Conservation and the re-foreignization of space in Laikipia, Kenya. in S Mollett & T Kepe (eds), Land Rights, Biodiversity Conservation and Justice Rethinking Parks and People. Routledge, pp. 71-88. <https://www.routledge.com/Land-Rights-Biodiversity-Conservation-and-Justice-Rethinking-parks-and/Mollett-Kepe/p/book/9781138217720>

View all publications in research portal