Dr Elspeth Oppermann

Ph.D (Geography), M.A. (Security and War), B.A. (History and Politics)

University fellow

Elspeth is a human geographer specialising in adaptation to extreme weather and climate change. As an Early Career Researcher, she leads a number of projects on managing labour-intensive work in hot and humid environments, specifically Australia’s tropical monsoon zone. Elspeth collaborates with several academic and industry partners, recently establishing the Heat Stress Research Partnership MOU to explore how the labour-intensive workforce deals with extreme heat and humidity in Australia’s tropical monsoon zone.

Elspeth’s case studies explore how heat stress is shaped by everyday practices in hot and humid conditions: the habits and beliefs of employees, locations and processes of work, divisions of labour across teams or sites, and workplace culture. The resulting analysis seeks to be responsive to the daily realities of the people, place and purposes of that workplace, and to their capacity to make decisions and be responsive to change. This in-depth understanding of social practices at worksites and of workers will inform the analysis of how adaptations to extreme heat and humidity might be enabled.

Research Interests

  • Heat stress - social practices, governance and the tropical monsoon zone
  • Climate change adaptation - resilience, transition and transformation
  • Post-structural political theory - governmentality, biopolitics of security
  • Knowledge systems - genealogy, discourse analysis and discourse theory

Professional Positions, Memberships & Awards

  • Visiting International Fellow.  July 2016 – October 2016
    Dynamics of Energy, Mobility and Demand (DEMAND) ESRC Research Centre, Lancaster University, United Kingdom
    Successful application for a competitive 3-month fellowship to co-author publications with senior UK-based researchers and secure international collaboration for a DECRA and ARC Linkage application. Proposal title: ‘Governmentality, Co-production and Social Practice: contributions to the analysis of demand by theorizing heat stress and cooling at work and home in northern Australia’. 
  • Visiting Scholar/Collaborative Research Network Secondment. March 2016
    Centre for Urban Research, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University, Melbourne, Australia
    2-week Visiting Scholar position at the Centre for Urban Research (CUR), working with the co-directors of the Beyond Behaviour Change Programme. Preparation of a co-authored paper for the Royal Anthropological Institute conference ‘Anthropology, Weather and Climate Change’. The paper will be subsequent submitted to a peer-reviewed journal. CUR are members of the Heat Stress Research Partnership and intended partners in developing a CRC-Project in 2016 and an ARC Linkage application in 2016-2017.
  • 3-Year Competitive Fees and Living Allowance PhD Scholarship. 2007
    Faculty of Science and Technology, Lancaster University, United Kingdom
  • Mahindra Naraine Prize for best MA Dissertation. 2006/2007
    Department of Politics and International Relations, Lancaster University, United Kingdom
  • Penultimate Year School Prize for Best Department of Politics Student. 2004
    School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, United Kingdom
  • Association of American Geographers 2014 - present
  • European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST)
  • Publons: https://publons.com/a/1207957/
  • Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts (2016)
  • Security Dialogue (Sage). Impact Factor: 1.952, ranked 7/82 in International Relations (2014)
  • E-Politikon Political Science Quarterly (2013)
  • Book chapter in Scheffran, J. et al., (2012) Climate Change, Human Security and Violent Conflict: Challenges for Societal Stability. Hexagon Series on Human and Environmental Security and Peace, Volume VIII. Springer-Verlag: Berlin Heidelberg
  • Book chapter in Methmann, C., Rothe, D., and Stephan, B. (2012). (De)Constructing the Greenhouse: Interpretive Approaches to Global Climate Governance. London: Routledge.

Link to Research Publications

Dr Elspeth Oppermann


T: +61 8 8946 7649
E: elspeth.oppermann@cdu.edu.au

Darwin NT