Ph.D., Energy and Resources, University of California, Berkeley, 2011
M.Sc., Energy and Resources, University of California, Berkeley, 2003
B.A. Oberlin College (Mathematics), 1997

Research Interests: 

My work investigates the politics of land development in the global South, drawing on extensive fieldwork in Laos and, since 2011, Cambodia. Using ethnographic, spatial-analytic, and archival methods, I examine three dimensions of contemporary struggles over access to arable land.

Regional and Thematic Interests: 

Laos, Southeast Asia, China


Michael Dwyer is an Instructor in Geography at the University of Colorado Boulder and an Associated Senior Research Scientist with the University of Bern’s Center for Development and Environment (CDE). A political ecologist by training, Mike has worked on resource governance and development politics in Southeast Asia since 2004, and is particularly interested in the intersection of agrarian change, regulation, and international relations. His work has been published in a variety of journals, books and working-paper series focused on development, geography and resource governance.


Michael Dwyer and Thoumthone Vongvisouk (2017 in press). The long land grab: Market-assisted enclosure on the China-Lao rubber frontier. Territory, Politics, Governance.

Michael Dwyer, Micah Ingalls and Ian Baird (2016). The security exception: Development and militarization in Laos’s protected areas. Geoforum 69: 207–217.

Michael Dwyer (2016). Upland geopolitics: Finding Zomia in northern Laos c. 1875. The Journal of Lao Studies, Special Issue 3: 37-57.

Michael Dwyer (2015). The formalization fix? Land titling, land concessions, and the politics of spatial transparency in Cambodia. The Journal of Peasant Studies 42(5): 903–928.

Michael Dwyer, Emily Polack and Sokbunthoeun So (2015). ‘Better-practice’ concessions: Some lessons from Cambodia’s Leopard Skin landscape. International Development Policy 6.1.

Michael Dwyer (2014). Micro-geopolitics: Capitalising security in Laos’s Golden Quadrangle. Geopolitics 19: 377–405.

Peter Messerli, Markus Giger, Michael Dwyer, Thomas Breu and Sandra Eckert (2014). The geography of large-scale land acquisitions: Analyzing socio-ecological patterns of target contexts in the global south. Applied Geography 53: 449–459.