Skip to main content

Professor Philip Steinberg


Professor in the Department of Geography+44 (0) 191 33 41945
NINE DTP Director and Durham Arctic Director in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Health 
Associate Fellow in the Institute of Advanced Study 


I came to Durham in Autumn 2013 after sixteen years in Florida State University’s Department of Geography, punctuated by one-year interludes at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers (2002-2003), the University of California, Santa Cruz’ Center for Cultural Studies (2005-2006), and Royal Holloway, University of London’s Department of Geography (2012-2013). Prior to Florida State, I attended Clark University’s Graduate School of Geography (1990-1996), where I received my MA and PhD degrees, as well as teaching briefly in Bucknell University’s Department of Geography (1997).

My research focuses on the historical, ongoing, and, at times, imaginary projection of social power onto spaces whose geophysical and geographic characteristics make them resistant to state territorialization. These spaces include the world-ocean, the Arctic, and the universe of electronic communications. Within these spaces, I study everything from artistic depictions to governance institutions to the lifeways of individuals who inhabit (or cross) their expanses. In addition to these major research themes, I frequently conduct research in complementary areas including urban planning politics; utopianism (especially as projected onto islands); critical theories of development and nature; and the links between art, cartography, visualisation, and representation.

For more on my research in all of these areas, as well as links to relevant publications and a complete c.v., please visit my personal web page.

Current Editorships & Responsibilities

Director, International Boundaries Research Unit (Durham University)

Associate Editor, Political Geography

Editorial Board Member, Island Studies Journal, Journal of the Indian Ocean Region, GEO: Geography and Enviroment, Shima: The International Journal of Research into Island Cultures, Rowman & Littlefield series on Island Rethinking the Island

Board Member, International Geographical Union Commission on Islands

Major Grants Held

Leverhulme Trust Doctoral Scholarships Programme to support Interdisciplinary Understanding for a Changing Arctic (PI): £1,050,000 (2018-2023)

European Commission COST Action on Ocean Governance for Sustainability (Co-leader of Seabed Working Group): €400,000 (2016-2020)

Leverhulme Trust International Networks Programme grant to support Project on Indeterminate and Changing Environments: Law, the Anthropocene, and the World (The ICE LAW Project) (PI): £124,925 (2016-2018)

Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship to support project on Global Alternatives for an Interconnected Arctic (GAIA) (PI): €223,038 (2012-2013)

U.S. National Science Foundation Fellowship to support project on Territorial Imaginaries and Arctic Sovereignty Claims (PI): $376,779 (2009-2013)

Florida Energy System Consortium to support project on Energy Efficiency Video Public Service Announcements (co-PI): $249,800 (2009-2010)


Authored book

Book review

Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article


Newspaper/Magazine Article

Other (Digital/Visual Media)

Other (Print)


Supervision students