Professor Mike Meadows

    Room: 4.12
    Tel: 021- 6502873

    BSc (Hons) (Sussex), PhD (Cambridge)

Academic Profile

Mike Meadows is a Physical Geographer who has been at the University of Cape Town since 1983. Originally hailing from Liverpool, UK, Mike obtained his BSc Honours at the University of Sussex and his PhD the Department of Geography at the University of Cambridge.

Promoted to Professor in 2003, he was Head of Department from 2001 to 2017.  At the end of 2019, Meadows stepped down from his academic teaching position and was appointed as Senior Research Scholar in the department.  He still supervises graduate students and is Director for a semester study abroad programme run in collaboration with three US Colleges (Macalester, Pomona, Swarthmore).

He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Sussex and a PhD from the University of Cambridge, UK.  Meadows has authored or co-authored more than 200 peer-reviewed research articles and edited several special editions of international journals.  Major works include the co-edited Southern African Geomorphology (Sun, 2012) and Geomorphology and Society (Springer, 2016).  His research interests are in the area of physical geography, more specifically concerning Quaternary environmental change and the geomorphological and biogeographical impacts of natural and human-induced climate change.  Meadows was Secretary-General and Treasurer of the International Geographical Union (IGU) from 2010-18 and was elected as IGU President for the period 2020 to 2024. He is a Fellow of the Society of South African Geographers (2000), of the Royal Geographical Society (2016), of the Royal Society of South Africa (2016) and of the African Academy of Sciences (2019) and was recently elected to Membership of the European Academy.  Meadows is also Distinguished Professor at East China Normal University, Shanghai, Jian Feng Professor at Zhejiang Normal University, and visiting Professor at the Institute of Geographical Research and Natural Resources Research of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Current Teaching:

Mike Meadows is supervising several MSc and PhD students both in the department and also at East China Normal University in Shanghai. 

Research Interests

Meadows is an NRF B-rated scientist and has a broad range of research activities under the umbrella Physical Geography. He is currently working with a variety of international collaborators from Universities in the United Kingdom (Oxford), France (Montpellier II), Germany (Jena), China (East China Normal University, Zhejiang Normal University, South China Normal University and Beijing Normal University). Key research interests focus on the reconstruction of Quaternary palaeoenvironments using a range of proxies and sediment types, including dassie (Hyrax) middens and wetlands. He has explored issues around environmental change and human activity in places as far afield as Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and China.  Through collaboration, Meadows has expanded his research interests to encompass remote sensing records of land use change and also in the field of sustainability education.  Meadows has an active group of and PhD students working under his supervision.

All Meadows publications are listed on his Google Scholar profile: