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Meet the Team


Dr Alice Mah: Principal Investigator

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Dr Alice Mah is an urban, political, and environmental sociologist. Her wide-ranging research interests lie at the intersection of critical political economy, multi-sited ethnography, and science and technology studies.

Alice holds a PhD in Sociology from the London School of Economics. She is the author of Industrial Ruination, Community, and Place (2012), winner of the 2013 BSA Philip Abrams Memorial Prize, and Port Cities and Global Legacies (2014). She has conducted comparative, mixed-method sociological research in the UK, France, Russia, the US, and Canada.

Alice is the Principal Investigator of Toxic Expertise. This project builds on themes from her previous research on the toxic legacies of abandoned chemical industries in Niagara Falls and on petrochemical pollution in the Mississippi Chemical Corridor. Alice will be conducting research across the project as a whole, focusing particularly on the global and participatory levels.

You can contact Alice via email on A.A.Mah@warwick.ac.uk

Dr Thom Davies: Research Fellow

tom.jpgDr Thom Davies is a human geographer and photographer interested in issues related to environmental justice, marginalisation, exclusion and risk perception. Before joining Warwick, Thom completed his CEELBAS funded PhD at the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham in 2015. His thesis research involved in-depth ethnographic research with communities who live around the Chernobyl Nuclear Exclusion Zone in north-central Ukraine, where he employed a number of visual and participatory research methods. In 2014 Thom was awarded a scholarship from the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) to conduct comparative qualitative research in Fukushima with communities afflicted by the 2011 nuclear accident. During his JSPS scholarship he was based at the University of Tokyo, and interviewed evacuees, NGOs, clean-up workers and farmers who have refused to leave the Fukushima Exclusion Zone. More recently, Thom was awarded urgency funding from the ESRC to research the ‘new Jungle’ refugee camp in Calais, northern France. He worked with public health experts and NGOs to produce the first academic study of the informal migrant camp, looking at environmental health conditions in the camp including microbiological risks and air pollution.

Thom is now working as a post-doctoral Research Fellow on the ERC-funded project ‘Toxic Expertise’ in the Sociology Department at Warwick University. During this project he will be researching the contested expertise surrounding the petrochemical industry in Europe and the USA, with a special ethnographic focus on fenceline communities who live in ‘Cancer Alley’, Louisiana. He is interested in interviewing policy makers, NGOs, grass-roots activists, corporate representatives and communities impacted positively and negatively by the processes of the petrochemical industry.

You can contact Thom via email on T.Davies.5@warwick.ac.uk

Dr Cynthia Xinhong Wang: Research Fellow

cynthia.jpgDr Cynthia Wang completed her PhD in Social Sciences (China Studies) at the Centre for East Asian studies, University of Turku, Finland. She also holds an MSc (International Human Rights Law) Åbo Akademi, Finland, and an LLB (Chinese Law) Tsinghua University, China. Her doctoral dissertation is entitled "Open Environmental Information Upon Disclosure Request in China: The Paradox of Legal Mobilization". In her dissertation, she took a realist view that law is part of politics and argued that Chinese citizens and environmental organizations have been actively engaged themselves in utilizing the new information disclosure laws to push government agencies to comply with the laws, thus constituting a legal mobilization and making social and political changes.

At present, Cynthia is a post-doctoral Research Fellow on the ERC-funded project “Toxic Expertise” at the Department of Sociology, University of Warwick. She will examine how people from different backgrounds, inter alia, petrochemical representatives, scientific and legal professionals, citizens and activists, think, talk, and act regarding the environmental impact of petrochemical plants, as well as environmental pollution and environmental justice in China. Her research interests include open government information, environmental law, environmental justice and human rights law.

You can contact Cynthia via email on X.Wang.39@warwick.ac.uk

Mrs India Holme: Administrator

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India has worked in various project management/administration roles since 2009 and has been at the University of Warwick since 2011. India provides all the administrative support for the project. India completed her BA in Politics and Philosophy and MA in Global Politics and Law both at the University of Sheffield. Whilst not actively involved in any academic research, India's interested in some of the philosophical questions/arguments that are related to the existence of areas such as 'Cancer Alley'. She has interests in social justice, global/distributive justice, human rights and cosmopolitanism. Having worked in administrative and project management roles outside of the social sciences since leaving university, India is enjoying re-engaging with academic literature.

You can contact India via email on India.foster@warwick.ac.uk