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Joshua C Gellers

Assoc Professor | International Relations/Comparative Politics

Political Science & Public Administration | College of Arts & Sciences

Areas of Expertise

Environmental Politics, Human Rights, International Relations, Comparative Law, Climate Change, Sustainability, Sustainable Development, South Asia, Technology


PhD, Political Science, University of California, Irvine (2014)

MA, Political Science, University of California, Irvine (2009)

MA, Climate & Society, Columbia University (2007)

BA, Political Science, University of Florida (2005)


Josh Gellers, PhD, LEED Green Associate, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at the University of North Florida, Research Fellow of the Earth System Governance Project, and Honorary Fellow of the Southasia Institute of Advanced Studies. He is also a 2016-17 U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Sri Lanka. In 2015, Josh was a Visiting Scholar-in-Residence in Global Environmental Constitutionalism at Widener University Delaware Law School. His research focuses on environmental politics in the developing world, with an emphasis on environmental rights and development finance. Josh's work has appeared in International Environmental Agreements, Journal of Environment and Development, Journal of Human Rights and the Environment, Journal of Human Rights Practice, Global Environmental PoliticsReview of Policy ResearchSustainability Science, and Transnational Environmental Law, among others. He has served as a researcher for the Global Roundtable on Climate Change, Center for Research on Environmental Decisions, and Earth Institute at Columbia University, and consulted for Sierra Club Green Home and UNDP. Josh runs Enviro Rights Map, a free Google maps-based website which catalogs constitutional environmental rights throughout the world. He is the author of The Global Emergence of Constitutional Environmental Rights (Routledge 2017). Josh's work has been cited in several UN reports: UNDP (2014), UNDP (2015), UNEP (2017), UNGA (2018), UNEP (2019), and UNESCAP (2019). His latest book project focuses on rights and robots (under contract with Routledge).



Fulbright Post-doctoral Scholar Award, U.S. Department of State (2016-17)

Graduate Student Paper Award, Environmental Studies Section, International Studies Association (2013)

US Environmental Protection Agency P3 (People, Prosperity, and the Planet) Grant (2011)


University of North Florida

Outstanding International Leadership Award (2019)

Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award (2017)


University of California, Irvine

Human Security Fellow, Center for Unconventional Security Affairs (2013)

Public Impact Fellow (2013)

Sustainability Science Team Fellow, Environment Institute (2012)


Core Team Member, Global Network for the Study of Human Rights and the Environment

Research Fellow, Earth System Governance Project

Honorary Fellow, Southasia Institute of Advanced Studies, Kathmandu, Nepal

Member, American Institute for Sri Lankan Studies
Member, International Studies Association (Environmental Studies Section)

Member, USGBC Florida

Grants and Contracts Awarded

University of North Florida

Seed Grant, "Public Opinion on Climate Change: Assessing the Impact of Personal Experience," Environmental Center (2020)

Transformational Learning Opportunity Award for Study Abroad Program in Switzerland and France (2018)

Faculty Development Grant, Academic Affairs (2018)

Transformational Learning Opportunity Grant, "Disasters, Public Health and International Cooperation" Study Abroad Program (2018)

Pre-Law Lecture Series Grant, "The Plight of Climate Refugees" (2017)

Faculty Research Enhancement Award, "The Developing World as the Dragon's Den: China's Role as an Emerging Donor" (2015)

Publications & Presentations



Recent Peer-Reviewed Publications


Recent Papers Presented

  • “From Rights of Nature to Rights for Robots.” Earth System Governance Mexico Conference, Oaxaca, MX, Nov. 6-8, 2019.
  • “Experiential Learning Exercises’ Effects on Students’ Attitudes Towards the Global Poor.” Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Commons Conference, Savannah, GA, Jan. 24-25, 2019 (with Robert Nyenhuis).
  • “Sustainable Development Goals and Environmental Justice: Realization through Disaggregation?” Southern Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Austin, TX, Jan. 17-19, 2019 (with Trevor J. Cheatham).
  • "State Capacity and the Implementation of Environmental Rights." International Studies Association Annual Convention, San Francisco, CA, Apr. 4-7, 2018 (with Chris Jeffords).
  • "Towards Environmental Democracy? Procedural Environmental Rights and Environmental Justice." Environmental Justice in the Anthropocene Symposium, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, Apr. 24-25, 2017.
  • "The Developing World as the Dragon's Den: Assessing the Role of Environmental Factors in Chinese Development Finance." International Studies Association Annual Convention, Baltimore, MD, Feb. 22-25, 2017.
  • "Crowdsourcing Global Governance: Sustainable Development Goals, Civil Society, and the Pursuit of Democratic Legitimacy." International Conference of the Society for Human Ecology, Santa Ana, CA, Apr. 12-15, 2016.
  • "Environmental Constitutionalism in South Asia: Analyzing the Experiences of Nepal and Sri Lanka." American Association of Law Schools Annual Meeting, New York, NY, Jan. 6-10, 2016.
  • "Crowdsourcing Sustainable Development Goals from Global Civil Society: A Content Analysis." International Studies Association Annual Convention, New Orleans, LA, Feb. 19-21, 2015.
  • "The Great Indoors: Integrating the Built Environment into Environmental Rights." UNITAR-Yale Conference on Environmental Governance and Democracy, Yale University, New Haven, CT, Sep. 5-7, 2014.


Recent Invited Talks

  • “Rights for Robots.” Lifelong Learning Lecture Series, Cypress Village, Jacksonville, FL, Feb. 8, 2019.
  • "The Nuts and Bolts of Climate Change Politics and Policy." Speaker Series Luncheon, League of Women Voters of Jacksonville First Coast, Jacksonville, FL, May 2, 2018.
  • "Sustainable Development Goals and Environmental Justice: Realization through Disaggregation?" Wisconsin International Law Journal Annual Symposium, Sustainable Development Goals and International Law: Intersections of Environmental Law, Human Rights and Environmental Justice. University of Wisconsin Law School, Madison, WI, Apr. 6, 2018 (with Trevor J. Cheatham).
  • "Climate Policy in the United States and the World." Changing the Climate of Our Conversation, Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, Jacksonville, FL, Mar. 3.

  • "Whaling: International Law, Institutions, and Adaptation to Climate Change." Climate Change Impacts on Ocean and Coastal Law Seminar, FAMU College of Law, Orlando, FL, Feb. 19, 2018.

  • "Land Conservation and Climate Change Mitigation." Explore Northeast Florida’s Special Places: Natural History, Ecology and Scenic Beauty, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL, Nov. 17, 2017.

  • "Sustainability in a Thriving Economy: Global Trends." EPB/UNF Environmental Symposium, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL, Oct. 4, 2017.

  • "Environmental Impact Assessment in Sri Lanka: State of Knowledge and New Directions." Verité Research, Colombo, Sri Lanka, Jul. 27, 2017.

  • "Understanding Academic Expectations and Academic Integrity." US-Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission, Colombo, Sri Lanka, Jul. 27, 2017.
  • "Chinese Investment in the Developing World." US-Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission, Colombo, Sri Lanka, Jul. 25, 2017.
  • "Tweaks, Nudges, and Disruptions: How Innovation Can Help Solve Environmental Problems." Environmental Studies Brown Bag Lecture Series, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY, Apr. 14, 2017.
  • "The Study and Practice of Environmental Law." UF Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, Nov. 1, 2016.
  • "Sri Lanka: An Introduction." UNF Model UN, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL, Oct. 16, 2016.
  • "Poverty, Environmental Degradation, and Human Rights: Exploring the Nexus." Sustainability II, University of California, Irvine, Irvine, CA, Apr. 13, 2016.
  • "Whaling and International Relations: Challenges and Prospects for Cooperation." Animal Law and Policy, Florida A&M University School of Law, Orlando, FL, Oct. 5, 2015.
  • "Climate Refugees: Uncertainty and Insecurity." International Studies Senior Seminar Lecture Series, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL, Sep. 25, 2015.
  • "Nepal: A Brief History." UNF Model UN, University of North Florida, Jacksonville, FL, Sep. 16, 2015.
  • "Environmental Rights, Environmental Justice, and Democracy." Environmental Law Distinguished Speaker Series, Widener School of Law, Wilmington, DE, Mar. 16, 2015.
  • "Indoor Environmental Quality, Human Rights, and Green Buildings." 16th Northeast Florida Environmental Summit, Florida Coastal School of Law, Jacksonville, FL, Feb. 26, 2015.
  • "Sustainability and the Law: Foundations, Manifestations, and the Challenges of Collaboration." Facets of Sustainability, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, Sep. 23, 2014.

Contact Information

(904) 620-2849


Office Hours

Tu/Thu: 1pm-4pm, or by appt.