Photo of Dr Levi Gahman

Dr Levi Gahman PhD; MA (distinction); BSc & BA (Hons, summa cum laude); FHEA

Reader and ISRF Fellow Geography and Planning


Personal Statement

I began my career and lived in the Caribbean and Central America where I focused on international development, political geography, and participatory methods. Broadly, my work is aimed at resolving exploitation, alienation, ecological ruin, and structural violence. I am also committed to ensuring that research is relevant to and co-authored by communities in struggle who are pursuing material-spiritual wellbeing and freedom. I now work and write alongside social movements and frontline organisers who are defending land, dignity, and self-determination, which I try to approach as responsibly as possible.

Our co-designed projects focus on emancipatory praxis, community health, environmental defence, and gender justice, which employ creative methods rooted in conviviality and accompaniment. Critical pedagogy and political education are cornerstones of our collective approach to research and knowledge production. We value and acknowledge the impact of extra-academic collaborators and non-commercial open access outputs, as well as respect ethical scholarship that refuses corporate journal capture, which reproduces Eurocentric elitism, global inequalities, and bourgeois individualism.

In turn, I draw heavily from Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth (e.g. see Verso essay). My latest book, Building Better Worlds published by Bristol University Press, is a team effort written by first-generation graduates from the Global South and North aimed at promoting emancipatory direct action, asserting "the professional is the political," and providing an accessible entry point into revolutionary politics. For details of my first book, Land, God, and Guns: Settler Colonialism and Masculinity (ZED Scholar), feel free to listen to my interview "Race, Class, and Colonial-Capitalism" with the podcast Surviving Society.

From rural Kansas (ancestral Osage territories), I earned degrees in Psychology and Geography at Pittsburg State University before completing a Master's at the University of Kansas. I was awarded my PhD from the University of British Columbia, where I was also an organiser with Food Not Bombs and Radical Action with Migrants in Agriculture (RAMA) before moving to Chiapas, Mexico and later the Caribbean.

Along the way, I have spent time as a sawmill labourer, farmhand, warehouse worker, substance abuse and trauma counsellor, disability associate, human rights observer, and solidarity brigade member. I previously worked at the University of British Columbia and University of the West Indies' Institute for Gender & Development Studies and Dept of Geography. Perhaps my most meaningful work has been discussing revolutionary Caribbean thought with students in the region. As a teacher-researcher, my goal is to figure out why the world has been arranged the way it is and contribute to changing it for the better.