Dr Andrew Brooks
Lecturer in Development Geography and Senior Undergraduate Tutor
Tel: +44 (0)20 7848 2571
Department of Geography
Bush House North East Wing, Room 5.20
Dr Andrew Brooks has been a Lecturer in Development Geography since 2011. His teaching and research examines connections between spaces of production and places of consumption. He has researched the clothing sector through case studies which link the global North and South, as well as the geographies of political and economic change, Fieldwork has taken him to India, Papua New Guinea, and across Africa. Research in Africa has included extensive investigations of markets and politics in Malawi and Mozambique as well as Chinese investment in Zambia.
Previously, Andrew had been an undergraduate at King's and received a First Class BA degree as well as the Departmental Prize in Geography. He later worked for VSO for two years (2005-2006) as a social researcher in Papua New Guinea and on programme development in the UK. In 2007 he was awarded an ESRC 1+3 fully funded MSc and PhD studentship at the Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London.
Andrew's first book Clothing Poverty: The Hidden World of Fast Fashion and Second-hand Clothes was published by Zed Books in 2015 and has been widely publicised including features on the BBC Website, BBC Radio 4 (Thinking Allowed), the Guardian and the Globe and Mail.
His second book The End of Development: A Global History of Poverty and Prosperity was be published by Zed Books in 2017.
- Clothing, Fashion and Textile Industries
- Economic and Social Change in Southern Africa
- Second-hand Geographies
- Geographies of Consumption and Production
- Critical Development Studies
Andrew’s research seeks to understand the uneven growth of the world economy and covers three interconnected themes:
Geographies of Consumption and Production
On a theoretical level Andrew has been advancing an understanding of the connections between production and consumption in the global economy. Drawing on the work of Ben Fine and other theories within the traditions of Marxist political economy, Andrew has grappled with how value is produced and re-produced across space in new and used commodities. In particular, focusing on sustainability and the undercurrents of globalization; namely the reverse flows of rubbish and unwanted goods traded from the global North to the South, including case studies of clothing, used cars (Geographical Journal) and electronic waste. The conceptual work on consumption includes a comprehensive review chapter, with Raymond Bryant, in Critical Environmental Politics, a case study on sustainable consumption in the construction industry (Geographical Journal with Hannah Rich), and a new article on systems of provision of clothing and fast fashion (Geoforum), and another study of avocado agriculture in Colombia (with Angela Serrano).
Political and Economic Change in Africa
The dynamics of capital accumulation and uneven development in Africa have led Andrew to cluster his research projects in Southern Africa and enabled him to develop a specialist regional knowledge and he serves as an Editor of the Journal of Southern African Studies. This expertise is being built upon in new work. Field research in Malawi is being analysed using ideas of Antonio Gramsci and his theory of passive revolution (forthcoming in the Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers). While in 2013 he was awarded a £10,000 Regional Studies Association Early Career Grant (BRICS and Region Building in Africa), which is being used to research Brazilian and Chinese engagement in Mozambique. Andrew has also written a book chapter on ethics and research methods in the region (Fieldwork in the Global South) and was awarded £10,365 from the Royal African Society and British Academy in 2015 to organise a conference for early career researchers in Southern Africa. Allied to the research in Southern Africa, but with a different regional focus, he co-authored an article exploring the Politics of Oil and the Resource Curse in Ghana (Review of African Political Economy, with Jon Phillips and Elena Hailwood).
Global Clothing Trade
Andrew’s work on the garment sector began with research in to labour relations in a clothing factory in Zambia (Journal of Southern African Studies). Following that his PhD research and linked publications mapped the global trade in second-hand clothing and in particular the social and economic impacts of used clothing imports to Mozambique (Development and Change, Geoforum). He has also written a chapter for the Handbook of Sustainability and Fashion (with Amanda Ericsson). The various clothing projects Andrew has worked upon have been drawn together and the breadth of his research expanded with the publication of Clothing Poverty, which includes case studies from around the world.
Andrew is interested in supervising students working in the following areas:
- The Clothing Industry
- Political and Economic Change in Southern Africa
- Geographies of Consumption and Production
- BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and their investments in Africa
Prospective students interested in researching these topics and applying for funding, such as ESRC 1+3, should contact Andrew directly.
Impact, innovation and outreach
- 4SSG0141 Geographical Foundations: The Making of the Modern World
From humans and the origins of society through to the rise of civilizations, colonialism and the uneven development of the world economy this course traces connections between geography and economic divergence drawing on Andrew's research.
- 4SSG1008 Geography Tutorials: Critical Thinking and Techniques
Andrew coordinates the Human Geography teaching and also runs the London Field Week which introduces students to some of the different social, economic and environmental issues found in and around London.
- 5SSG2048 Methods in Human Geography - India Fieldtrip
The Kerala, South India Development Geography Fieldtrip provides an opportunity to research development issues firsthand in the Global South. Andrew has previously supported projects on clothing, trade and mobile phone use.
- 5SSG2044 Development Geography: Livelihoods and Policy Contexts
In this module Andrew draws on both his research and professional experience working in development to introduce students to topics including Trade and Development, China, The rise of the Asian Nations and urban development. This involves taking a critical approach to measuring development and exploring post-development and radical alternatives.
- 6SSG3061 Current Research in Geography
In this seminar new approaches to mapping the global circulation of goods and their Production, Consumption and the making of Waste are introduced drawing on recent research in the e-waste sector.
- 6SSG3037 Economic and Social Change in Southern Africa
Andrew has spent much time researching different social and economic issues in southern Africa and in this module he explores some of the different experiences of Africans. This includes work on labour in clothing industries and an exploration of political change.
- 7SSG5002 Practicing Social Research (MA Environment and Development)
In these tutorials on social science Research Methods Andrew helps support students to understand how and why different research methods are used in various contexts.
- 7SSG5061 Theorising Cities
Theorising cities is an advanced course and in this lecture students learn about the social and economic tensions found in cities in the Global South. Economic Inequalities in Urban Spaces II: Entrepreneurship, Survival Strategies and Revolt.
Andrew is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Southern African Studies and Regional Studies: Regional Science. He also advises Pearson on their development of the Geography A Level curriculum.
East Africa’s used-clothes trade comes under fire, The Economist, 30 March 2016
Forget creativity – fashion needs to talk about sustainability, The Globe and Mail, 9 March 2016
Why East Africa wants to ban second-hand clothes, BBC News, 2 March 2016
Clothing donations undercut entrepreneurs in world’s poorest countries, The Washington Times, 1 June 2015
Review, Clothing Poverty: The Hidden World of Fast Fashion and Second-hand Clothes by Andrew Brooks, Geographical Magazine, 1 May 2015
YouTube 'haulers' get ethical with a new #haulternative campaign for Fashion Revolution Day, The Telegraph, 24 April 2015
Review, Third-world Clothing Con Unmasked, Morning Star, 20 April 2015
Review, Clothing Poverty: The Hidden World of Fast Fashion and Second-hand Clothes, Times Higher Education, 9 April 2015
Review, Andrew Brooks: Clothing Poverty, Herald Scotland, 28 March 2015
Global Clothing and Poverty, Thinking Allowed, BBC Radio 4, 25 March 2015
The hidden cost of second-hand clothing, Geographical Magazine, 20 March 2015
The Ethics of Fast Fashion, Royal Geographical Society, 19 February 2015
Fair Deal, Share Radio, 19 February 2015
The Secret world of Fast Fashion, Arise TV, 19 February 2015
El negocio global de la ropa de segunda mano, BBC Mundo, 14 February 2015
The hidden trade in our second-hand clothes given to charity, The Guardian, 12 February 2015
Richer World, BBC World News, 12 February 2015
Where do your old clothes go? BBC News Magazine, 11 February 2015
Books about fast fashion's issues abound, but what are we really doing to change thing? The Globe and Mail, 11 February 2015
The secret life of your charity shop cast-offs, Daily Telegraph, 21 July 2014
Chinese premier's Africa tour gains international praise, Xinhua (Chinese Television), 12 May 2014
Premier wraps up Africa tour, China Daily, 12 May 2014
From US car parks to Sulaymaniyah's bazaar, Al Jazeera, 7 May 2014
The trouble with second-hand clothes, The Business of Fashion, 10 November 2013
Is your old t-shirt hurting African economies? CNN, 12 April 2013
Carros japoneses percorrem caminho corrupto para chegar a Moçambique [In Portuguese] (Japanese cars follow a corrupt path to arrive in Mozambique), Deutsche Welle – DW (German International Broadcasting Service), 1 August 2012
Africa’s clothes curse, The Guardian, 9 May 2012
Chinese businesses in Africa, CNBC Television, October 2008.