Dr Ben Coles

Lecturer in Economic Geography

School/Department: Geography Geology & The Environment, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 3838



I am an economic geographer who researches commodities markets and cultures of consumption and their connections to resource extraction and production landscapes on the other. Prior to my appointment to the University of Leicester I worked at the University of Sheffield.

I hold degrees in Geography from the University of London (PhD) and the University of Kansas (MA/BSc). 


Funded by the ESRC my research focuses particularly on the geographies of commodities especially the nexus of food water and energy as they intersect with ‘the’ marketplace to shape/reshape political-economic space.

More broadly I have conceptual and methodological interests in place space and scale as well as in 'nexus' and ‘critical nexus thinking’ as a means to interrogate social-spatial interconnectivity address the moral assumptions associated with notions of 'ethical' and redress the implicit contradictions of resource economies

I utilise these perspectives in variety of political and economic contexts in the UK EU Latin America (Brazil) to examine a diverse array of geographical questions about the ‘geographies’ of commodities (esp. food) their production/consumption/in-between (markets farms and factories) and their underlying nexus of interrelated and interconnected resources (e.g. water/energy).

I’m currently focused on the policy implications of these relationships as they pertain to ‘one company’ towns in Brazil ("



Coles, B (2021). Buzzing Market: Place, Topo/graphy and the Making of a Marketplace. Palgrave Macmillon 

Jackson, P., & The CONANX Group (Coles, B). (2013). Food Words: essays in culinary culture. London: Bloomsbury Academic

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles:

Coles B (in review) Anthropocene Chicken: A Geography of and Towards a Geography for the Anthropocene. Geography Journal

Coles B Evans D and Maye D (in review). Food Geographies of, for and in the Anthropocene. Introduction to Special Issue of Geography Journal.

Walker, C. and Coles B (2021). Points of Convergence: deploying the geographies of critical nexus-thinking. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space.

Morris, C., Kaljonen, M., Aavik, K. Coles B. et al. (2021) Priorities for social science and humanities research on the challenges of moving beyond animal-based food systems. Humanities and Social Sciences Communication 8, 38. 

Zara, C., Coles, B., Hadfield-Hill, S., Horton, J., Kraftl, P., (2020) Geographies of food beyond food: transfiguring nexus-thinking through encounters with young people in Brazil. Social and Cultural Geographies

Bennett, C.E., Thomas, R., Williams, M., Zalasiewicz, J., Edgeworth, M., Miller, H., Coles, B., Foster, A., Burton, E.J. and Marume, U., 2018. The broiler chicken as a signal of a human reconfigured biosphere. Royal Society open science, 5(12), p.180325.

Kraftl, P., Balastieri, J.A.P., Campos, A.E.M., Coles, B., Hadfield-Hill, S., Horton, J., Soares, P.V., Vilanova, M.R.N., Walker, C. and Zara, C., 2019. (Re) thinking (re) connection: Young people, "natures" and the water-energy-food nexus in São Paulo State, Brazil. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 44(2), pp.299-314.

Coles, B. (2016). Mixing space: affinitive practice and the insurgent potential of food. Geographica Helvetica, 71(3), 189-197.



I am happy to supervise PhD students on topics pertaining to the cultures of production and consumption of commodities (esp. food) ; the 'nexus' of food water energy and the relationship(s) between these resources and markets/marketplaces


I contribute teaching to the Human Geography programmes (both BA and BA Human) and Masters degrees. At the undergraduate level I convene YR1 Introduction to Leicester Geography YR2 Economic Geography (Economy Society and Space) and YR3 Economic Geography (Geographies of the Market/Place). At the MA level I convene Geographies in/of/for the Anthropocene.

Press and media

I'm happy to address media inquires pertaining to food/food policy and Latin American resource extraction and agribusiness
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