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Robert John

Research Associate
E-Mail: robert.john[at]
Phone: ++49(0)761 203-3570
Room: 02021


Research topics and projects

  • Political Ecology
  • Resource geographies
  • Geographies of Marketization
  • Sand mining
  • Regional focus: Southeast - and South Asia


Scholarships and awards

  • Research-scholarship, granted by the German Academic Exchange Service (04.2018 – 10.2018)
  • PhD-scholarship, granted by the Landesgraduiertenförderung Baden-Württemberg (10.2017 -10.2018)


  • since 11/2018
   Research associate and lecturer at the Institute for Environmental Social Sciences and Geography at the University of Freiburg
  • since 4/2016
   Doctoral Candidate at the Institute for Environmental Social Sciences and Geography, with the topic " Marketization of sand in Cambodia: global networks, conflicts and materialities"
  • 03/2015 – 05/2015
   Research stay at the IIT Madras, Chennai, India
  • 11/2014 – 12/2015
   Research assistant in the international project "Smart Eco Cities: A comparative analysis of European and Chinese cases" (Details (
  • 2013 – 2015 "Environmental Governance" at the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg
  • 2010 – 2011
   Initiation, co-conception and organization of two study excursions and seminars to Kenya (Socioeconomic, Environmental Change and Development in Kenya) and China (Business Ethics Issues in a Transitional Economy: China`s Particular Path)
  • 2009 – 2013
   B.A. in "Philosophy and Economics" at the University of Bayreuth

Marketization of sand in Cambodia: global networks, conflicts and materialities (working title)

The dissertation "Marketization of sand in Cambodia: global networks, conflicts and materialities" is part of the DFG project of the same name. (

The doctoral project regards itself as activist research. There are multiple cooperation’s with different actors on site. These range from simple exchange of information to collaborative investigative work and campaign design. Partners include diverse NGOs, various journalists and individual activists.

In addition, an alternative, non-text-based approach to the research topic should be developed within the framework of the doctoral thesis. This includes an interdisciplinary cooperation with Michelle Reutter, Fine Arts, Bauhaus University Weimar. The first results of the collaboration were presented in the space and sound installation "Floating Sand - Static Land" by Michelle Reutter, from the 12.07 to 14.07.2019, at the annual showcase “summaery”.


  • Participation in the interdisciplinary lecture “Human-Environment Interactions” (master level)
  • Participation in lecture “Geography of economy and development” (bachelor level)


  • Development theories and practices (master level)

Study excursions

  • Two-week excursion to East Germany on the topic of structural changes and transformation processes (Master level)
  • Introduction into methods of human geography (bachelor level)