Lorenza Fontana



On Burning Ground: Wildfire Politics in Sub-Saharan Africa

Over the past decades, wildfires have been growing in size and frequency worldwide. Humans are mostly responsible of this increase through their impact on climate and land use changes. In this context, the nexus between wildfires, political factors and human actions remains poorly understood. Through a comparative politics approach and a mixed-methods design, this project will produce pioneering knowledge on wildfire politics in Sub-Saharan Africa, one of the world regions most impacted by wildfires. …

Read more →

FIREPOL – The Politics of Wildfires

The Politics of Wildfires: A Comparative Study of Norms, Power and Conflict in the Global South

[ERC Starting Grant (2023-2028)]


Extreme wildfires have been on the rise across the globe due to climate change and other human actions. Despite the abundant literature on fire ecology and a recognition of the linkages of wildfires to global warming, a patchy understanding of the relationship between fire and anthropogenic actions and their political drivers persists. …

Read more →

Recognition Politics in the Andes

This is a long-term project that started with my PhD and went through multiple steps and phases. The general goal has been to study the impact of recognition politics (particularly indigenous rights) on social communities across the Andean region, the debates that led to the implementation of new right frameworks and, more specifically, the consequences of the implementation of those rights on people’s lives. …

Read more →

‘Playing with wildfire’

The project Playing with Fire funded by a Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)/ Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Urgency Grant (2020/22) is situated at the interface between theatre-based artistic practice and social science research. It proposes to use Forum Theatre (FT) to conduct research and generate community-based responses to multi-layered conflicts (cultural, political, distributive, environmental) in communities most affected by recent wildfires in Bolivia. …

Read more →

The Politics of Human Rights

Over the past 60 years, a broad set of international norms gained importance as instruments to regulate a globalising world. Enshrined in human rights conventions, these norms contribute to strengthen a platform for social mobilization and voice. The introduction of human rights standards at the domestic level, however, has also been responsible for the generation of new tensions on the interpretation and application of these norms. …

Read more →

Sustainable Development Goals

The identification of Sustainable Development Goals in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and a new agenda for global development to be achieved by 2030 have been unique opportunities for research and engagement. Soon after the SDGs were agreed in 2015, with colleagues at the Sheffield Institute for International Development (Johan Oldekop and Jean Grugel), we led a public international consultation to identify 100 key research questions for the 2030 Agenda. …

Read more →

Bolivian Politics

When I first landed in Bolivia, it was not to conduct research or to stay any longer than an 11-month fellowship to work at the United Nations. A week after I arrived in La Paz, on the 25th January 2009, an historical referendum approved a new Constitution. Alongside a multitude of Bolivians, huipalas (the Andean flag) and occasional tourists, I was in the Plaza Murillo that evening to listen to the speech of President Evo Morales. …

Read more →