Dr Charis Enns

Lecturer in International Development

Charis Enns

Room number: E9
Telephone (internal): 27939
Telephone (UK): 0114 222 7939
Telephone (International): +44 114 222 7939
Email: c.enns@sheffield.ac.uk


Charis is a Lecturer in International Development in the Department of Geography at the University of Sheffield. She is also an Affiliated Researcher at the East African Institute at Aga Khan University. Before moving to Sheffield, Charis was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Political Science and International Development Studies at the University of Guelph in Canada. She completed her PhD at the University of Waterloo. Her doctoral and postdoctoral research were funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


Research Interests:

My research interests lie at the intersection of human geography, critical development studies and political economy and ecology. I am currently researching the impacts of large-scale investments in land and natural resources on rural landscapes and livelihoods. I am also interested in corporate social responsibility and corporate-community engagement practices around sites of investment. Key themes running through my work include governance, citizenship, territory, mobility and livelihoods.

Current Research:

Resource corridors and development through infrastructure

My current research focuses on resource corridors – networks of roads, railways, pipelines, and ports built to transport commodities from sites of production to global markets. Drawing on fieldwork in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Cameroon, this research explores how resource corridors intersect with rural mobilities, livelihoods, economies and landscapes. This research is supported, in part, by a grant from the UONGOZI Institute and is carried out in collaboration with academic and civil society partners in each case study country. More broadly, this research also contributes to debates about the re-emergence of large-scale spatial development initiatives and regional planning strategies in development policy and practice.

Resource extraction and rural lives

I am interested in understanding the impacts of resource extraction on rural people and ecologies. As part of this work, I have examined the impacts of mining and oil and gas exploration and extraction on various rural livelihood systems, including pastoralists, hunter-gatherers and fisher communities residing near sites of resource exploration and extraction. I have also looked at the strategies used by rural people to negotiate and resist extractive investments that fail to serve their interests.

The politics and spaces of corporate social responsibility

I study the politics of corporate social responsibility (CSR). This work looks at the complicated and uneasy relationships that emerge between extractive companies, communities and government actors, as corporations become increasingly involved in social service delivery through CSR. I am also interested in understanding the implications of a growing trend where extractive companies integrate biodiversity conservation into their CSR – often by working in partnership with conservation organizations. Some of this research has been funded by the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Power and politics in global development

My earlier work engaged with the processes through which the Sustainable Development Goals were created, and raised questions around whose priorities these goals ultimately came to reflect.


I currently teach undergraduate and postgraduate course modules on: geographies of development; environment and development; political geography; and research design and methods. I have previously designed and taught courses on: development theory; environment and society; and critical security studies.

In 2017/18, I am involved in teaching the following modules:

Level 2

  • GEO243 - Political Geographies
  • GEO248 - Research Design for Geography and Environmental Science
  • GEO258 - Geographies of Development
  • GEO271 - Human Geography Fieldclass: Berlin


  • GEO6801 - Ideas and Practice in International Development
  • GEO6802 - Research Design and Methods for Development
  • GEO6806 - Key Issues in Environment and Development

I am involved in personal supervision and tutoring of undergraduate and postgraduate students at all levels. I am particularly interested in supervising students conducting research in the field of development geography focused on topics such as: resource extraction; infrastructure; corporate social responsibility and corporate green initiatives; commodity politics; natural resource politics and governance; rural livelihoods; social differentiation in rural societies (e.g. age, ethnicity, gender, youth).


Key Publications:

Enns, C. (2017). Infrastructure projects and rural politics in northern Kenya: the use of divergent expertise to negotiate the terms of land deals for transport infrastructure. The Journal of Peasant Studies.

Enns, C., & Bersaglio, B. (2016). Pastoralism in the time of oil: Youth perspectives on the oil industry and the future of pastoralism in Turkana, Kenya. The Extractive Industries and Society, 3, 160-170.

Enns, C., & Bersaglio, B. (2015). Enclave oil development and the rearticulation of citizenship in Turkana, Kenya: Exploring ‘crude citizenship’. Geoforum, 67, 78-88.

Enns, C. (2015). Knowledges in competition: Knowledge discourse at the World Bank during the Knowledge for Development era. Global Social Policy, 15, 61-80.

Enns, C., Bersaglio, B., & Kepe, T. (2014). Indigenous voices and the making of the post-2015 development agenda: the recurring tyranny of participation. Third World Quarterly, 35, 358-375.

Please see 'Publications List' page for more publications.