Josie Wittmer

Postdoctoral Research Fellow 
Institute of Geography and Sustainability
University of Lausanne

  • PhD (2020) in Geography and International Development Studies, University of Guelph
  • MA (2014) in Geography, University of Guelph
  • BA (2008) in Environmental Studies, Carleton University


I am a feminist urban geographer focused on precarious work, urban development/ change, and environmental health. I work across the fields of feminist political ecology, global development studies, urban studies, and discard studies and use an ethnographic approach to study the connections between urban waste landscapes and socio-political processes of urban transformation in South Asia and Canada.

My research examines the ways that power operates through urban imaginaries and governance mechanisms to perpetuate and create new inequalities in the visioning and transformation of urban spaces, infrastructures, and experiences of citizenship. I am fundamentally concerned with social, spatial, and environmental inequalities and justice and center these themes in my research and teaching praxis. I therefore look to/emphasize the expertise of urban inhabitants who are marginalized in urban development processes to investigate the gendered, classed, casted, and racialized dimensions of urban development and change in my research. I frequently use solid waste management and informal work as lenses through which to investigate the uneven social and political (re)production of urban spaces, infrastructures, and experiences of citizenship in the city. My teaching focuses on global cities, urban infrastructures and development, political economy/ecology, environmental justice, and feminist/anti-colonial research methodologies.

Although I am fascinated by the urban, I currently live in the small town of Smiths Falls, ON where my partner and I run a small, justice-oriented coffee roastery. When I’m not working or sampling fresh coffee roasts (a very important job), I am usually spending time with our border collie and two cats, sewing my own clothing, playing/watching basketball, and enjoying the company of family, friends, and community.

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