Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies

Staff Profile

Dr Jonathan Pugh

Reader in Island Studies




·      Small Islands and Archipelagos 
·      Anthropocene 
·      Contemporary Caribbean 
·      Participatory development
·      Changing nature of critique


To download publications




Jonathan’s main areas of research are islands and archipelagos. He has more than 70 publications and is particularly noted for his development of what has come to be known as the 'relational turn' in islands studies, producing a number of influential publications examining how contemporary scholarship disrupts insular and isolated island geographies. He has held visiting fellowships, given many international keynote addresses, and/or invited lectures, including at Princeton, Harvard, Virginia Tech, London, Cornell, Vienna, Zurich, Trinity College Dublin, Rutgers, California, University of West Indies and National Taiwan Normal University. 

Jonathan's present work focuses upon the figure of the island in the Anthropocene and he has launched the 'Anthropocene Islands' initiative (https://anthropoceneislands.online). This gains its initial impetus from the book (2021) 'Anthropocene Islands: Entangled Worlds', which Jonathan has co-written with David Chandler (University of Westminster). It explores the widespread turn to working with islands for the generation of new approaches to critical thinking, knowledge and policy practices associated with the Anthropocene. Through establishing a monthly reading group, early career group, a special 'Anthropocene Islands' section of Island Studies Journal, streams at conferences, workshops, and producing agenda-setting publications and talks (see Anthropocene Islands website), the 'Anthropocene Islands' initiative examines why and how engaging islands has become important for the generation of some of the core frameworks of Anthropocene thinking. A useful addition to the approach is also outlined in the (2021) Dialogues in Human Geography paper and discussion forum: 'Anthropocene Islands: there are only islands after the end of the world'. 

Jonathan has been involved in a range of practical and transformative participatory programmes in the islands of the Caribbean. For example, co-initiating a seven-country programme employing 128 Caribbean fisherpeople funded by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office to stimulate the development of fishing community networks across the eastern Caribbean archipelago. Drawing upon such practical programmes, Jonathan has published a number of theoretical critiques of participatory approaches (Environment and Planning D: society and space, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers/Royal Geographical Society; Annals of the Association of American Geographers; Progress in Human Geography; Antipode; Area; Geoforum; Geography Compass, for examples).

Finally, such concerns often intersect with Jonathan's general interest in the changing nature of critique. In 2004 Jonathan launched the 'Spaces of Democracy' network with Chantal Mouffe and Doreen Massey. The network ran until 2014, involved 17 institutions worldwide and examined the changing character of radical politics today. Throughout this time Jonathan launched and was editor of the online magazine Radical Politics Today. In 2009 Jonathan edited the book ‘What is Radical Politics Today?’, which was covered in a range of popular media and launched by the British Council at Canada House, Trafalgar Square.



Jonathan is interested in supervising PhD's on the following topics:-

· Small Islands and Archipelagos 
· Anthropocene (relational ontologies and epistemologies, resilience, posthumanist and speculative ontologies, Critical Black and Indigenous Studies)
· Contemporary Caribbean 
· Participatory approaches
· Changing nature of critical theory




  • Beth Robertson (2018-) 
  • Carl Olsson (2019-)
  • Ben Bowsher (2019-)  
  • Sean Turner (2020-)




  • Voted by PhD and Masters students studying at the Faculty of Humanities of Social Sciences, Newcastle University, to give the annual plenary lecture to PhD and Masters students in the Faculty (19th June, 2014).
  • Nominated three times by undergraduate students for a Newcastle University Teaching Award.
  • Innovation Fund for Teaching, Newcastle University: Pugh, J. Hewett, C. Williams, A. Tate S. and Large, A. Developing Discursive Skills for the workplace: piloting an interactive seminar series. Quality in Learning and Teaching (QuILT) (£4995) [2012].





To download publications



Undergraduate Teaching

Globalisations, Culture and Development (GEO2103)

Dissertations (GEO3099).


Postgraduate Teaching

Nature of Explanation and Enquiry (HSS8007)