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School of Geography

Dr Carlo Inverardi-Ferri, DPhil (Oxon)


Lecturer in Economic Geography

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 8200
Room Number: Geography Building, Room 109


Carlo is a human geographer whose work is situated at the intersection of political ecology and economic geography. His research focuses on understanding the role that globalised systems of production play in the world economy and the accompanying social and ecological issues. This agenda is carried out through research in several theoretical and empirical areas. In recent years, Carlo has participated in projects focusing on socio-ecological transformations in East Asia, in particular China. This research also informs his teaching.

Carlo joined the School of Geography in January 2020. In 2023, he also joined the National Research Council of Italy as Primo Ricercatore. He has a Doctorate in Geography and the Environment from the University of Oxford; an MPhil in Social Sciences and a BA in Chinese Studies from Inalco in Paris; and a BA in Digital Humanities from the University of Pisa. Before joining Queen Mary, Carlo worked as a Lecturer at the University of Fribourg and as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National University of Singapore. He also held visiting fellowships at Peking University, National Taiwan University, and Efeo. The merits of his work have been verified by several institutions, awarding research grants, most recently by the British Academy and the European Research Council (ERC Starting Grant).

Carlo is Early Career Editor of Territory, Politics, Governance.

Key research themes

  • Ecology and global production
  • Geographies of waste

Carlo's work has appeared in Economic Geography, Progress in Human Geography, and Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, among other publications.

Carlo is a Committee Member of the Economic Geography Research Group of the RGS-IBG

Key publications



Carlo has taught broadly in several areas of human geography, including economic and urban geography, political ecology and environmental geography. His teaching philosophy is motivated by the curiosity in exploring new territories, intellectually and empirically. It is the excitement of engaging with a complex reading, discovering an unknown city or getting in contact with a new informant. Carlo believes that studying and carrying out geographical research is not only a tool but also a privilege that metamorphoses academic work into a life-changing experience, challenging personal assumptions and pushing forward our understanding of the world. In his teaching, he tries to transfer this conviction to students and engage them with academic reading, fieldwork activities, concrete examples from the real world, and a variety of materials such as textbooks, podcasts, newspaper articles, movies, and others. Beyond academia, Carlo has collaborated with educational NGOs to provide local communities with learning opportunities (e.g. the Knowledge Project - Oxford).

Through teaching and supervision Carlo contributes to:

  • GEG4009 Ideas and Practice in Geography
  • GEG4112 Global Worlds
  • GEG5129 Economic Geographies
  • GEG6099 Independent Geographical Study
  • GEG5150 & GEG6150 - New York: Nature and the City
  • GEG7120 Geographical Thought and Practice
  • GEG7131 Global Working Lives
  • GEG7135 Research Design and Methods
  • GEG7139 Dissertation

Some student feedback:

“This field trip itself was very rich in content and experiences that I believe I will not receive again, we got to attend numerous landmarks and buildings that I would not have been able to do on my own. We met very interesting people such as the Director of UNEP at the UN Plaza (this was the stand out part of the trip for me). Being in a room with someone of his profession and being able have all of our questions answered was a once in a life time experience that not many get to have.” (2023 - QMUL)

“The seminars have all covered interesting concepts which one may not expect. Overall, I have really enjoyed the module, so thank you for creating an engaging and interesting module.” (2022 - QMUL)

“Carlo is amazing! He is engaging, interactive, and enormously committed. The lectures are interesting, profound.” (2019 – Unifr)



Research Interests:

Carlo’s research interests focus on the political ecology of globalised systems of production. His work brings theories of global production into conversation with critical strands of political ecology. In past years, his work has contributed to geographical debates on primitive accumulation, urban nomadism, and labour agency. His current research themes include:

Ecology and global production

How do we understand the role of nature in global production? This research theme engages scholarship on global production networks and extends theoretical perspectives that conceptualise these systems of production in light of their ecological risks and distributional effects. Building on a major ERC starting grant (€1.500.000), this strand of research primarily focuses on the linkages between climate change mitigation and illicit economies and the resulting implications for ecological governance. Climate change mitigation and illicit labour are two major challenges of modern times, whose interconnection poses growing concerns for society, such as energy insecurity, toxic waste production, and labour exploitation. Yet this relationship has surprisingly received limited systemic attention in labour studies to date. Through an analysis of the global photovoltaic industry, a major climate change mitigation sector, this strand of research aims i) to cast light on those neglected actors, practices, and processes that operate in the shadow of 'sustainable development' and ii) advance new theoretical perspectives on ecological risk, vulnerability, and mitigation.

Geographies of waste

Carlo’s enduring interest in the geographies of waste builds upon his doctoral research Invisible Spaces. His sixteen months ethnographic fieldwork among communities of migrant workers in Beijing brought to light value struggles around waste recycling, highlighting the conflicting social interests and uneven power relations at play in this geography. Through the stories of marginal places, the people who inhabited them, and their recurrent evictions, Invisible Spaces gave an account of contemporary processes of primitive accumulation. In so doing, it critically engaged with the work of several political ecologists - in combination with new insights into the politics of recycling and informality - to explore the socio-natural implications of waste. It demonstrated that contrary to commonplace notions of discarded materials as a redundant part of consumption, waste has to be conceptualised as a socio-natural object, in relation to circuits of production (and destruction), to the meanings that consumers attach to commodities, and to the everyday practices that people perform in different socio-natural landscapes.


Journal articles

Dodds K., Taylor Z., Akbari A., Castán Broto V., Detterbeck K., Inverardi-Ferri C., Lee K. O., Mamadouh V., Ramutsindela M. & Woon C. Y. (2023), The Russian invasion of Ukraine: implications for politics, territory and governance, Territory, Politics, Governance in Territory, Politics, Governance. 11(8):1519-1536. doi:10.1080/21622671.2023.2256119

Inverardi-Ferri, C. (2022), Overtime: The cultural political economy of illicit labor in the electronics industry in Economic Geography. 99(2):140-160 doi:10.1080/00130095.2022.2142111.

Inverardi-Ferri, C. & Brown, T. (2022), Territories, politics, and governance of the Covid-19 pandemic in Territory, Politics, Governance. 10(6):751-758. doi:10.1080/21622671.2022.2129469.

Inverardi-Ferri, C. (2021), Towards a cultural political economy of the illicit in Progress in Human Geography. 45(66):1646-1667. doi:10.1177/03091325211013378.

Inverardi-Ferri C. (2018), The enclosure of ‘waste land’: Rethinking informality and dispossession in Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 43(2):230-244. doi:10.1111/tran.12217.

Inverardi-Ferri C. (2018), Urban nomadism: Everyday mobilities of waste recyclers in Beijing in Mobilities. 13(6):910-920. doi: 10.1080/17450101.2018.1504665.

Inverardi-Ferri Carlo (2017), Variegated geographies of electronic waste: policy mobility, heterogeneity and neoliberalism in Area Development and Policy. 2(3):314-331. doi:10.1080/23792949.2017.1307091.

Tong X., Feng L., Tao D., & Ferri C. (2016), 面向行為改變的社區垃圾分類模式研究 (Community-Based Tools: Targeting Behaviour Change in Garbage Sorting Activities) in Ecological Economics (生態經濟), 32(2):52-56.

Tao D., Tong X., & Ferri C. (2014), 從“廢品村”看城鄉結合部的灰色空間生產 (The Production of Grey Space of “Waste Villages” at the Rural-Urban Fringe) in Urban Planning International, 142(5):8-14.

Book chapters

Inverardi-Ferri, C. (2020), Field Systems and Enclosure in A. Kobayashi (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Human Geography (Second Edition), 91-96. Oxford: Elsevier.

Inverardi-Ferri C. (2018), Sitting Amid a Pile of Jewels: Youth Unemployment and Waste Recycling in China in Tamar M., Sujata M., and McCallum J. (Eds), The Crisis of Global Youth Unemployment. London: Routledge. 156-167.

Ferri C. (2012), Tianjin in Bost F., Carroué L., Colin S., Girault C., Humain-Lamoure A., Sanmartin O. et Teurtrie D., Images Économiques du Monde 2013. Paris: Armand Colin, 377-379.

Ferri C. (2010), Introduzione in Nencini D., Visconti F., Menegatti F., Capozzi R. (Eds), L’Architettura Italiana per la Città Cinese, Rome: Gangemi Editore, 6-17.

Shorter articles

Inverardi-Ferri C. (2023), The global flow of e-waste in Geography Review, 37(2):22-24.

Inverardi-Ferri C. (2017), Commons and the right to the city in contemporary China in Made in China, 2:38-41.

Inverardi-Ferri C. (2016), Rifiuti comuni, recinzione delle terre e dominazione ecologica: Accumulazione da spoliazione e riciclo informale a Pechino in Memorie Geografiche, 14:333-338.

Media and outreach

Ferri C. (2012), Il Dilemma della Nuova Cina in AffarInternazionali.

Ferri C. (2012), Un Principe Rosso alla Guida della Cina in AffarInternazionali.


Prospective Graduate Research Students

Carlo welcomes informal enquiries from students wishing to study topics that fall within his research interests in the areas of political ecology and economic geography.

Current Graduate Research Students

Rosie Rawle (joint with Electronics Watch) (ESRC LISS DTP-funded)

Public Engagement

In recent years Carlo has worked with environmental activists to waste recycling initiatives (e.g. Hongfuyuan pilot project). He participated in conferences and seminars organised by the Zero Waste movement and other environmental actors (e.g. Nature University NGO – Beijing) contributing to public policy debates (e.g. CHEARI EPR annual conference). Also, he has collaborated with educational NGOs to develop and deliver teaching materials to local communities (e.g. the Knowledge Project - Oxford).

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