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Biography

Dr Deborah Potts has a Geography degree (BSc First Class) and a PhD from University College London. From 1979-2001, she taught and researched in the Geography Department at the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London.

She joined King’s in 2001 when SOAS’s Geography Department merged with that at King's. She was a Senior Lecturer in Geography at King’s.

She has twice been an Honorary Research Associate at the University of Zimbabwe. She is on the editorial board of the Journal of Southern African Studies, Africa (Journal of the International African Institute) and the Canadian Journal of African Studies. She has published extensively on sub-Saharan and Southern Africa. 

Research

  • Rural urban migration
  • Urbanisation
  • Structural adjustment and the urban poor
  • Land tenure and reform – Southern Africa

Deborah works in the broad research field of urbanisation and migration in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly southern Africa. She also works on land and environmental issues in the region in the context of political ecology. Her research on rural-urban migration in sub-Saharan Africa examines migration rates and motivations, rural-urban linkages, urban-rural movements, migrants' land rights and analytical approaches to migrancy and migrants within the Africanist literature.

In terms of urbanisation, she is interested in the nature of urban growth and has done extensive research on demographic trends in urbanisation across sub-Saharan Africa, arguing for a recognition of how the rates at which societies are becoming more urban has waxed and waned in different countries in line with macro-economic changes, in opposition to the more usual assumptions about undifferentiated experiences of rapid urbanisation.

Further details

See Deborah's research profile