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Department of Geography


Professor Alex Jeffrey MA PhD

Professor of Human Geography and Fellow of Emmanuel College

Alex is a political and legal geographer interested in state-building after conflict, particularly within the former Yugoslavia. His research has sought to contribute to debates concerning critical geopolitics, civil society and transitional justice. Alex is currently Director of Undergraduate Studies.


Over the past fifteen years Alex has sought to examine the nature and consequences of international intervention after conflict, particularly focusing on the former Yugoslavia. There is a short introductory video available. This work has been roughly divided into three areas of inquiry:

  1. Geographies of state formation. This research has explored the role of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in fostering democratic participation after violent conflict. Over several periods of residential fieldwork in Bosnia and Herzegovina Alex has sought to investigate how donors, new state institutions and intervening agencies shape the agendas of NGOs. This work has been funded by an ESRC Studentship (R42200134266), an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship (PTA-026-27-0576) and internal funding from Newcastle University. Key outputs include papers in Political Geography (2006) and Development and Change (2007) and a research monograph entitled The Improvised State: Sovereignty, Performance and Agency in Dayton Bosnia (2013, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford).
  2. The Geographies of Law. This area of research focuses on the question of how proximity matters in the operation of law. Early research in this area funded by the ESRC focused on the experience of Bosnia and Herzegovina, exploring the process of establishing a domestic War Crimes Chamber with jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute crimes undertaken during the 1992-5 war. Following a series of journal articles, this work culminated in the publication of The Edge of Law: Legal Geographies of a War Crimes Court (2020) as part of the Cambridge University Press Series Studies in Law and Society. Alex recently participated in a podcast about this work in the Frontiers of Socio-Legal Studies site.
  3. Citizenship in Divided Societies. This strand of research seeks to explore how ideas of citizenship are negotiated, contested and learnt following periods of political instability. Between 2012-2017 Alex was an Academic Fellow on a European Research Council Advanced Grant entitled Youth Experiences of Citizenship in Divided Societies: Between Cosmopolitanism, Nation, and Civil Society (Principal Investigator Professor Lynn Staeheli, FEC €2.5M) and has co-authored work in edited book collections and Political Geography (2017).

Research supervision

I am interested in hearing from scholars who wish to conduct masters, doctoral or post-doctoral work on state formation, geographies of law and justice, transitional justice, and/or the role of non-governmental organisations after conflict. Please look at my current and recent research interests, my current graduate students and the titles of my past PhD students’ theses and MPhil students’ dissertations, then get in touch with me with your ideas about research topics that I may be able to supervise.


[Publications will load automatically from the University’s publication database…]


  • On sabbatical leave October 2021-April 2022
  • 1A Human Geography: People, Place and the Politics of Difference (Part C: Geopolitics and Political Geography)
  • 1B Citizenship, Cities and Civil Society
  • Part II Legal Geographies
  • Geography Director of Studies at Emmanuel College
  • Recipient of a Pilkington Prize for Teaching in 2018

External activities