Dr Johanna Waters

Associate Professor in Human Geography


Johanna graduated from the University of Oxford (Jesus College), with a First Class (hons.) degree in Geography. She was then awarded a Canadian Rhodes Scholars Foundation Scholarship and went to the University of British Columbia, Canada, where she completed her MA and PhD. During her time at UBC she was awarded an Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Pre-Doctoral Fellowship. In January 2004, Johanna took up the post of Lecturer in Human Geography at the Department of Geography, University of Liverpool. She remained at Liverpool until December 2010, when she was appointed to Senior Lecturer in the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Birmingham. She moved to Oxford in June 2013. Johanna is from Swansea, South Wales and currently lives near Shipston-on-Stour in South Warwickshire with her partner and two young children.


Johanna will be teaching on the MSci in Sustainable Urban Development, developing the DPhil in Sustainable Urban Development, and contributing to undergraduate programmes within the School of Geography and the Environment.

Research interests

Johanna's research interests include international and transnational migration, young people and international higher education, and educational mobilities. She is particularly interested in understanding the ways in which experiences of (higher) education and subsequent employment are being transformed through internationalisation, and the relationship to (im)mobilities. She has recently completed a number of projects in this vein, including one with Rachel Brooks (University of Surrey) on British international students (British Academy, LRG-45489), and with Maggi Leung (Utrecht University) on transnational higher education in contemporary Hong Kong (ESRC and RGC, Hong Kong, RES-000-22-3000). She held an ESRC seminar series (with Rachel Brooks, Alison Fuller and John Holford) on the changing spaces of education, which is now published as an edited collection by Routledge (Brooks, R., A. Fuller and J. Waters (eds.) (2012) Changing spaces of education: new perspectives on the nature of learning). Johanna is currently working on a project on elite school geographies, with friend and colleague in sociology at Surrey Rachel Brooks.


Monographs and books

Brooks, R. and J. Waters (2013) Student Mobilities, Migration and the Internationalisation of Higher Education (paper back edition with new foreword) Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Brooks, R., A. Fuller and J. Waters (eds.) (2012) Changing spaces of education: new perspectives on the nature of learning Routledge

Brooks, R. and J. Waters (2011) Student Mobilities, Migration and the Internationalization of Higher Education (hard back) Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Waters, J. L. (2008) Education, Migration and Cultural Capital in the Chinese Diaspora: Transnational Students between Hong Kong and Canada New York: Cambria Press

Peer-reviewed journal articles

Waters, J. and M. Leung (forthcoming)‘These are not the best students’: continuing education, transnationalisation and Hong Kong’s young adult ‘educational non-elite’ Children’s Geographies

Tse, J. and J. Waters (2013) ‘Transnational youth transitions: becoming adults between Vancouver and Hong Kong’ Global Networks (early view)

Waters, J. and M. Leung (2013) ‘Immobile transnationalisms? Young people and their in situ experiences of ‘overseas’ education in Hong Kong’ Urban Studies 50 (3): 606 - 620

Leung, M. and J. Waters (2013) ‘British degrees made in Hong Kong: an enquiry into the role of space and place in transnational education’ Asia Pacific Education Review 14: 43 - 53

Waters, J. and M. Leung (2013) ‘‘To have a degree is to be normal’: young people and transnational higher education in Hong Kong’ Sociological Research On-line 17 (3)

Waters, J. L. (2012) ‘Geographies of international education: mobilities and the reproduction of social (dis)advantage’ Geography Compass 6 (3): 123 – 136

Waters, J. (editorial) (2012) ‘The socio-spatial fragmentation of higher education: some unexpected consequences of internationalisation’ Geoforum 43 (50): A1 – A3

Brooks, R., J. Waters and H. Pimlott-Wilson (2012) ‘International education and the employability of UK students’ British Educational Research Journal 38 (2): 281 - 298

Waters, J., R. Brooks and H. Pimlott-Wilson (2011) ‘Youthful escapes: British students, overseas education and the pursuit of happiness’ Social and Cultural Geography 12 (5): 455 – 470

Waters, J. L. (2011) ‘Time and transnationalism: a longitudinal study of immigration, endurance and settlement in Canada’ Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 37 (7): 1119 - 1136

Waters, J. and R. Brooks (2011) ‘‘Vive la différence’? The ‘international’ experiences of UK students overseas’ Population, Space and Place 17 (5): 567 - 578

Waters, J. and R. Brooks (2010) ‘Accidental achievers? International higher education and, class reproduction and privilege in the experiences of UK students overseas’ British Journal of Sociology of Education 31 (2): 217 – 228

Waters, J. L. (2010) ‘Becoming a father, missing a wife: Chinese transnational families and the male experience of lone parenting in Canada’ Population, Space and Place 16 (1): 63 – 74

Brooks, R. and J. Waters (2010) ‘Social networks and educational mobility: the experiences of UK students’ Globalisation, Societies and Education 8 (1): 143 – 157 

Brooks, R. and J. Waters (2009) ‘A second chance at ‘success’: UK students and global circuits of higher education’ Sociology 43 (6): 1085 – 1102

Waters, J. L. (2009) ‘Immigration, transnationalism and ‘flexible citizenship’ in Canada: an examination of Ong’s thesis ten years on’ Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie 100 (5): 635 – 645 [invited contribution to celebrate 100th issue]

Brooks, R. and J. Waters (2009) ‘International higher education and the mobility of UK students’ Journal of Research in International Education 8(2): 191 – 209

Waters, J. L. (2009) ‘In pursuit of scarcity: transnational students, ‘employability’ and the MBA’ Environment and Planning A 41 (8): 1865 – 1883

Waters, J. L. (2009) ‘Transnational geographies of academic distinction: the role of social capital in the recognition and evaluation of ‘overseas’ credentials’ Globalisation, Societies and Education 7(2): 113 – 129

Waters, J. L. (2007) ‘“Roundabout routes and sanctuary schools”: the role of situated educational practices and habitus in the creation of transnational professionals’ Global Networks 7 (4): 477 – 497

Featherstone, D., R. Phillips and J. Waters (2007) ‘Introduction: spatialities of transnational networks’ Global Networks 7 (4): 383 – 391

Waters, J. L. (2006) ‘Emergent geographies of international education and social exclusion’ Antipode 38 (5): 1046 – 1068 

Waters, J. L. (2006) ‘Geographies of cultural capital: education, international migration and family strategies between Hong Kong and Canada’ Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 31 (2): 179 – 192

Waters, J. L. (2005) ‘Transnational family strategies and education in the contemporary Chinese diaspora’ Global Networks 5 (4): 359 – 378

Waters, J. L. (2003) ‘Flexible citizens? Transnationalism and citizenship amongst economic immigrants in Vancouver’ The Canadian Geographer 47 (3): 219 – 234

Waters, J. L. (2002) ‘Flexible families? ‘Astronaut’ households and the experiences of lone mothers in Vancouver, British Columbia’ Social and Cultural Geography 3 (2): 117 – 134

Peer-reviewed book chapters

Brooks R. and J. Waters (2013) ''Global graduates', student mobility and the funding of higher education'. in Heller D, Callender C (eds.) Student Financing of Higher Education: a comparative perspective Routledge.

Waters, J. (2013) 'Mobilities' in Sage Handbook of Human Geography, Sage.

Waters J. and R. Brooks (2013) 'Accidental achievers? International higher education, class reproduction and privilege in the experiences of UK students overseas'. in David M, Naidoo R (eds.) The Sociology of Higher Education: Reproduction, Transformation and Change in a Global Era

Waters, J. (2012) ‘Geography and learning’ in P. Jarvis (ed.) The Routledge International Handbook on Learning Routledge

Brooks, R. and J. Waters (2010) ‘Young Europeans and Educational Mobility’ in M. Worsching and J. Leaman (eds.) Youth in Contemporary Europe, Oxford: Routledge: 85 – 102

Waters, J. L. (2009) ‘Immigration’, in R. Kitchen and N. Thrift (eds.) International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, Vol. 5 Oxford: Elsevier: 297 – 307

Waters, J. L. (2009) ‘Internationalization of education’, in R. Kitchen and N. Thrift (eds.) International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, Vol. 5 Oxford: Elsevier: 548 – 554

Waters, J. L. (2009) ‘Cultural capital’, in R. Kitchen and N. Thrift (eds.) International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, Vol. 2 Oxford: Elsevier : 404 – 406

Waters, J. L. (2004) (with D. Ley) ‘Transnational migration and the geographical imperative’, in P. Jackson, P. Crang and C. Dwyer (eds.) Transnational Spaces London: Routledge: 104 – 121

Waters, J. L. (2003) ‘‘Satellite Kids’ in Vancouver: transnational migration, education and the experiences of lone children’, in M.W. Charney, B.S.A. Yeoh and T.C. Kiong (eds.) Asian Migrants and Education, Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers: 165 – 184

Book reviews

Waters, J. L. (forthcoming) J. W. Salaff, S. Wong, and A. Greve ‘Hong Kong Movers and Stayers: Narratives of Family Migration’. Reviewed for Social Forces.

Waters, J.  L. (2011) C. Jeffrey, P. Jeffery and R. Jeffery ‘Degrees without freedom? Education, masculinities and unemployment in North India’,. Reviewed for Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 41: 3, 439 – 441

Waters, J. L. (2008) B. A. Ruble 2005 Creating Diversity Capital: transnational migrants in Montreal, Washington, and Kyiv, Baltimore, The John Hopkins Press. Reviewed for National Identities 10 (2): 237 – 246

Waters, J. L. (2008) R. Edwards and R. Usher 2008 Globalisation and Pedagogy: Space, Place and Identity (2nd edition) (Routledge: London and New York), pp. 191. Reviewed for International Journal of Lifelong Education 27 (5): 599 – 607

Waters, J. L. (2005) K. Mitchell 2004 Crossing the neo-liberal line: Pacific Rim Migration and the Metropolis Philadelphia: Temple Press. Reviewed for Annals of the Association of American Geographers 96 (1): 212 – 241

Waters, J. L. (2005) A. Ong 2003 Buddha is Hiding: Refugees, Citizenship, The New America California, University of California Press. Reviewed for Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 23 (6): 925 – 938

Waters, J. L. (2005) D. S. Massey and J. Edward Taylor (eds.) 2004 International Migration: Prospects and Policies in a Global Market Oxford: Oxford University Press. Reviewed for Population Studies, 59 (1): 119 – 134

Waters, J. L. (2004) E. Ostergaard-Nielsen (ed.) 2003 International Migration and Sending Countries: Perceptions, Policies, and Transnational Relations, Palgrave, Macmillan. Reviewed for Population Studies, 58 (2): 247 – 257

Waters, J. L. (2001) K. Willis and B. Yeoh (eds.) 2000 Gender and Migration, Edward Elgar Publishers. Reviewed for Journal of International Migration and Integration, 2 (1): 144 – 145

Working papers

Waters, J. L. and S. Y. Teo (2003) ‘Social and cultural impacts of immigration: an examination of the concept of ‘social cohesion’ with implications for British Columbia’ Vancouver Centre of Excellence, Research on Immigration and Integration in the Metropolis Working Paper Series: No. 03-03, 47pp (http://riim.metropolis.net)

Bauder, H., J. L. Waters and S. Y. Teo (2001) ‘Economic, demographic and geographic impacts of immigration to British Columbia’ Vancouver Centre of Excellence, Research on Immigration and Integration in the Metropolis Working Paper Series: No. 01-17, 115pp (http://riim.metropolis.net)

Waters, J. L. (2001) ‘The flexible family? Recent immigration and astronaut households in Vancouver, British Columbia,’ Vancouver Centre of Excellence, Research on Immigration and Integration in the Metropolis Working Paper Series: No. 01-02, 52pp (http://riim.metropolis.net)

Waters, J. L. (2001) ‘Migration strategies and Transnational Families: Vancouver’s Satellite Kids’ Vancouver Centre of Excellence, Research on Immigration and Integration in the Metropolis Working Paper Series: No. 01-10, 39pp. (http://riim.metropolis.net)

Research/policy reports and blog entries

 GlobalHigherEd Blog entries:

o  Waters, J. ‘UK-China partnerships and collaborations in higher education’

 http://globalhighered.wordpress.com/2008/04/23/uk-china-partnerships/ April 23 2008

o  Waters, J. ‘Private Canadian education firm buys community college and expands existing links with China’

http://globalhighered.wordpress.com/2008/02/18/private-canadian-education-firm-buys-community-college-and-expands-existing-links-with-china/  Feb. 18 2008

o  Waters, J. ‘Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University and Liverpool International College’

http://globalhighered.wordpress.com/2007/12/19/xi%e2%80%99an-jiaotong-liverpool-university-and-liverpool-international-college/  Dec. 19 2007

o  Waters, J. ‘Offshore schools as ‘feeders’ to the Canadian higher education system’

http://globalhighered.wordpress.com/2007/11/28/offshore-schools-as%e2%80%98feeders%e2%80%99-to-the-canadian-higher-education-system/  Nov. 28 2007  

Waters, J. L. and S. Y. Teo (2001) ‘Social and Cultural Impacts of Immigration: An Examination of Research into Social Cohesion with Implications for British Columbia’ for B.C. Ministry of Multiculturalism and Immigration, Canada

Bauder, H., J. L. Waters and S. Y. Teo (2001) ‘Economic, Demographic and Geographic Impacts of Immigration to British Columbia’ for B.C. Ministry of Multiculturalism and Immigration, Canada

Waters, J. L. (2000) Policy Research Conference ‘Rethinking the Line: the Canada-US border’, October 22nd – 25th, Vancouver, B.C. (published in conference proceedings)

Waters, J. L. (2000) ‘Urban Diversity: Managing Multicultural Cities’ March 27th, Robson Square Conference Centre, Vancouver