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Richard Saunders

Richard Saunders

Faculty Fellow, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies

Faculty Fellow

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Richard Saunders is associate professor in the Department of Politics in York's Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies. Prior to joining to York in 2002, he lived for two decades in Southern Africa, where he worked as a journalist and researcher with community-based and not-for-profit organizations. He maintains strong research links with academic and civil society researchers in East and Southern Africa and has drawn on these connections to support the work of current graduate students to facilitate research collaborations between York and African partners. Richard’s research and supervision areas involve themes of state-society relations in the Global South in the contemporary period of neoliberal globalization. A recurring theme of his work involves the innovative forms of resistance and compliance mounted by social constituencies in the face of pressures associated with neoliberal restructuring, including alternative approaches to community health, and challenges to negative public health impacts of key industries, notably the extractives sector. Since the 2010s his research has used these lenses to explore the terrain of extractives sector reforms in East and Southern Africa.

He currently leads a four-year research partnership, “The Return of Resource Nationalism to Southern Africa” (2020-2024), funded by SSHRC Partnership Development Grant , and recently launched a six-year Partnership Grant project, “African Extractivism and the Green Transition” (2023-2029), for which he serves as the Project Director. His African extractives research includes investigations into the health impacts at community level of mining and mining taxation instruments, and his partnership team includes African population health researchers.

Research keywords:

Resource governance; critical minerals; just transition; extractives industry; taxation; mining; East and Southern Africa; community health; environment


Planetary Health



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