Gustav Cederlof

Gustav Cederlof


Personal profile

Biographical details

Gustav Cederlöf is a PhD candidate in the Department of Geography at King’s College London. He has a BA in Development Studies from Uppsala University (2010) and an MSc in Human Ecology from Lund University (2013), both awarded with distinction. He has also studied philosophy, environmental impact assessment, GIS, and musicology.

Gustav has been awarded funding for undergraduate and postgraduate fieldwork by the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), The Wenner-Gren Foundation, the Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography, and Sida.

Before joining King’s, he worked with the Society for the Promotion of Himalayan Indigenous Activities (SOPHIA) and The Swallows India Bangladesh in Dehradun, India, at the contentious nexus of indigenous livelihoods, forest conservation, and national development in the Himalayas.

Research interests (short)

  • Energy policy and development (esp. in the global South)
  • Social and environmental impacts of modern and alternative energy systems
  • Infrastructure, natural resources, and political conflict
  • Urban agriculture and agroecology
  • Cuba and Latin America

Member of the Contested Development research group.

Research interests

Gustav’s research examines the history of energy use and electrification in revolutionary Cuba; a country that within a few years in the early 1990s experienced an 85 percent decline in oil supply when the Soviet Union collapsed. In the mid-2000s, after more than a decade of permanent energy shortage, the Cuban energy systems were radically overhauled in a national ‘energy revolution’, which markedly decarbonised the Cuban economy.

The research interweaves ethnographic everyday experiences of energy use with the history of Cuban energy policy and global political economy. Based on archival and ethnographic fieldwork, it examines

  • The role of energy and centralised energy systems in modernist and nationalist ideologies
  • Local and national responses to fossil-fuel deficiency in the context of wider development goals, as well as their social, political, and environmental implications
  • How centralised and decentralised energy infrastructures (dis-)empower different social groups, and
  • The emergence of alternative notions of energy use and ‘progress’ in post-Soviet Cuba

The research is funded by the King’s College London Graduate School, with additional support for fieldwork in Cuba from The Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research and the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG).



King's College London

Environmental Actors and Politics, Department of Geography (PGT, 2016/17, 15/16, 13/14)

Geographical Research Skills, Department of Geography (UG, 2016/17)

The International Politics of Energy, Department of Political Economy (UG, 2013/14)


London School of Economics

Sustainable Development, Department of Geography & Environment (UG, 2015/16)

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy

Education/Academic qualification

Master of Science, A Farewell to Oil: Low-Carbon Ecology and Social Power in Cuban Urban Agriculture, Lund University

Award Date: 1 Jan 2013

Bachelor of Arts, Uppsala University

Award Date: 1 Jan 2010


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