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Joshua C Gellers

Assoc Professor | Environmental Governance

Political Science & Public Administration | College of Arts & Sciences

Areas of Expertise

Environmental Politics, Human Rights, International Relations, Comparative Law, Climate Change, Sustainable Development, South Asia, Foreign Aid, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, 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 Core Team Member of the Global Network for Human Rights and the Environment. 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, human rights, and technology. Josh's work has appeared in numerous peer-reviewed journals and cited in several UN reports: UNDP (2014), UNDP (2015), UNEP (2017), UNGA (2018), UNEP (2019), UNESCAP (2019), and UN (2019). 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 that catalogs constitutional environmental rights throughout the world. He is the author of The Global Emergence of Constitutional Environmental Rights (Routledge 2017) and Rights for Robots: Artificial Intelligence, Animal and Environmental Law (Routledge 2020).



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)



Green Teacher of the Year Award (Higher Education), USGBC Florida, North Florida Chapter (2020)


University of North Florida

Outstanding International Leadership Award (2019)

Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award (2017)


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, "Rights for Robots: Lessons from Animal and Environmental Law" (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

  • "Greening the Machine Question: Towards an Ecological Framework for Assessing Robot Rights." Robophilosophy Conference, Aarhus, DK, Aug. 18-22, 2020 (virtual).
  • "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.


Recent Invited Talks

  • "Academic Expectations and Academic Integrity." Fulbright Pre-Departure Orientation, US-Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission, Colombo, Sri Lanka, Aug. 10 (virtual).

  • "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.

Contact Information

(904) 620-2849


Office Hours

On sabbatical fall 2020