Personal profile

Scholarly biography

Jason Lim is Senior Lecturer in Human Geography in the School of Applied Sciences. His research addresses the assumptions and implicit backgrounds that shape certain aspects of cultural and political life. One of the major concerns of his research is the role of affect and embodiment in the politics of race, gender and sexuality. In his current research, he considers the role of changing philosophical understandings of the concept of ‘ontology’ in theorisations of racism, sovereign power, borders and migration.

Jason has published in peer-reviewed journals such as Environment and Planning A, Geoforum, Gender, Place and Culture, Feminist Criminology, and Sociological Research Online. He was one of the co-founders of Space, Sexualities and Queer Research Group (SSQRG) of the Royal Geographical Society (with Institute of British Geographers), and has twice served as Secretary for this Research Group. He has also served as a member of the International Scientific Committee for the biennial European Geographies of Sexualities Conference. Within the University of Brighton, he is a member of the Centre for Spatial, Environmental and Cultural Politics, the Centre for Transforming Sexuality and Gender, and the Society, Space and Environment research and enterprise group.

Approach to teaching

I am a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, and I teach a wide range of social, political and cultural geography. In my teaching of first-year undergraduates, I lead a module that provides a broad introduction to an undergraduate human geography curriculum and a module that support students’ development of academic skills. My teaching of second and third-year undergraduates focuses on social, cultural and political geographies – especially as they relate to the themes of racism, postcolonialism, multiculturalism, security, territory and geopolitics. I teach through a variety of methods: lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops and field classes. I design this teaching to help students learn through their own research – whether of academic literature or of their own empirical material.

My teaching encourages students to learn and think independently. I focus on trying to empower students not to take claims about social, economic and political phenomena for granted – to think critically and to question the knowledge, data and representations they encounter. As how we ask questions of the world is crucial in shaping what we can know about the world, I ask students to reflect on the kinds of questions that underpin knowledge claims: what kind of knowledge do they permit, and what kinds do they preclude? This approach helps to develop advanced problem-solving skills by helping students to understand the value of reflecting on how they or others have framed a problem. My teaching not only helps students to develop their ability to make sound judgements about knowledge claims, but also about the effects of knowledge: what does it do in the world; what will they do with it?

Research interests

My research addresses the implicit background to political and ethical practices. In my current research, I attend to the ontological assumptions in political analyses and imaginaries:

Racism, coloniality and ontology

This research interrogates the turn towards the philosophical concept of ‘ontology’ in attempts to understand relations among nature, materiality, technology, agency, change, difference, and the human. I am especially interested in how contemporary theorisations of racism, migration, borders, and sovereign power often draw – directly or indirectly – upon the concept of ontology. I draw upon decolonial critiques of the history of the concept of ontology, examining the relationships between its emergence and the development of colonial and racist cosmologies. This research explores the legacies of these relationships for contemporary theorising.

In my previous research, the kinds of implicit backgrounds I focused on were historically- and geographically-specific modes of embodiment and affect:

The Politics of Race, Ethnicity, Sexuality, and Gender in Everyday Practice

I have developed innovative theorisations of the affective, bodily and ‘machinic’ background to the micro-politics of everyday life. This research builds on my doctoral study to examine how racialised, ethnicised, sexualised and gendered power relations are enacted and embodied in everyday practice. Theoretically, it is informed by Deleuzoguattarian theories of ‘affect’ and ‘machinism’ to explore new ways of thinking about the relationship between the capabilities bodies have to affect and be affected by one another in specific events and broader historically-specific social and political formations.

Sexual Politics in the SlutWalk

Based on empirical work conducted at SlutWalk marches in 2011 and 2012, this project – a collaboration with Alexandra Fanghanel (University of Greenwich) – considered how anti-rape discourses variously contest, negotiate and reproduce dominant constructions of female sexual subjectivity and embodiment and of gendered inequalities in access to urban public space.

Supervisory Interests

I am interested in supervising PhD students in the following areas: critical race theory, de/post-colonial studies, feminist activism, sexualities, trans studies, political philosophy, history of ontology.

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, PhD Geography, University of London

1 Oct 199830 Sept 2003

Award Date: 30 Sept 2003

Master, MSc Society and Space, University of Bristol

1 Oct 199730 Sept 1998

Award Date: 31 Oct 1998

Bachelor, BSc (Hons) Geography, University of Bristol

1 Oct 199330 Jun 1996

Award Date: 30 Jun 1996


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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  • The happiness project

    Higham, E. (PI), Gore, T. (CoI), Thorpe, J. (CoI), Thorpe, J. (CoI), Hullin, V. (CoI), Freedman, B. (CoI), Rutledge, R. (CoI), Lazzaro, S. (CoI), Lim, J. (CoI), Rose, D. (CoI) & Stewart, L. (CoI)


    Project: Research Councils / Government Depts.