About UsRosa Lehmann

Junior Professor of “Innovation and Sustainability in Ibero-America”

Affiliation: Heidelberg Center for Ibero-American Studies - HCIAS
Co-operation: Faculty of Chemistry and Earth Sciences, Institute of Geography, Heidelberg Center for the Environment

Tel.: +49 (0)6221 54-19336
E-Mail: rosa.lehmann(at)uni-heidelberg.de

Dr. Rosa Lehmann studied Cultural Anthropology and Political Science at Freiburg University, and in 2018, received her Ph.D. in Political Science. From 2016 until 2021, she was a postdoc researcher in the junior research group “Bioeconomy and Social Inequalities”, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and based at the University of Jena in Germany. Since 2012, she has been an associate researcher at the Arnold Bergstraesser Institute (ABI) at the University of Freiburg. She is a member of the editorial team of the journal Peripherie. Politik – Ökonomie – Kultur, an interdisciplinary journal for development theory and politics, and since April 2021, an HCIAS Junior Professor of “Innovation and Sustainability in Ibero-America”.

Complete CV Rosa Lehmann

Jun.-Prof. Dr. Rosa Lehmann


Rosa Lehmann’s research builds on theories and methodologies in the research field of political ecology with a focus on conflicts and inequalities surrounding the energy transition and bioeconomy. She is interested in debates on socio-ecological transformation and just transition, and works analytically with approaches to socio-ecological conflicts, energy justice, scalar politics, and energy spaces.

Rosa Lehmann wants science to take place not only in the ivory tower and concerns herself with the transfer of academic research and debates as well as the communication of research results to both students as well as a wider public.

Research in Progress

  • New Energy Spaces? Discourse, governance, and space in the energy transition in Latin America: The transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources will lead to dramatic social and spatial changes. It implies both the transformation of existing energy spaces and the production of new ones. But which discourses and governance processes will construct these new spaces? How does the design of infrastructure and political programs influence, for example, decisions about the location of green hydrogen production projects? Which actors are involved in these decisions and how? The aim of the project is to analyze the connection between discourses and governance processes in different spatial contexts, and to investigate transregional interdependencies by analyzing selected major projects of the energy transition. The project is located at the interface of political ecology and human geography (economic/social geography), and aims to contribute to the debate within human geography on the spatial dimension of the energy transition, as well as to the interdisciplinary understanding of the processes involved. The regional focus is on Latin America. The project is funded for three years (2024-2026) by Heidelberg University’s „Expanding Internationality“ project within the framework of the Excellence Strategy put forth by the German federal and state governments.
  • The Public Negotiation of Justice in Transitions to Sustainability (JuTSy): The project is particularly interested in the public negotiation of justice in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), a region affected by climate change and pursuing decarbonization policies. The project builds on an interdisciplinary analytical framework, that combines knowledge from human geography, communication science, and political science to further our understanding of how societies negotiate just transitions and how politics both controls and responds to this public negotiation. While a geographical perspective pays attention to how perspectives on justice might differ according to spatial scales, communication research offers insight to understand how transition processes are communicated and framed. Political Science, in turn, helps us to understand what citizens perceive as just and what tenets (procedural, distributive, justice as recognition) are given priority to. The project started in March 2024 and is seed-funded for two years by the Heidelberg Center for the Environment (HCE) within the framework of the Excellence Strategy put forth by the German federal and state governments.
  • ‘Just Transitions’ in countries of Latin America: Joint work with Dr. Pedro Alarcón (University of Gießen & FLACSO Ecuador) which assesses the concept of ‘just transition’ in light of structural dependencies and socioecological conflicts in Ecuador and Mexico.


  • Mining conflicts in Mexico: A joint effort with Rafael Hernández Westpfahl on conflict dynamics in silver and lithium mining in Mexico.


  • Space and Belonging in Socio-Ecological Conflicts over Land and Natural Resources in Mexico: Subproject B05 of the Collaborative Research Center 1671 „Home(s): Phenomena, Practices, Representations“, which will analyse how the strategic formulation of identity and belonging contributes to political struggles over land and natural resources in the context of climate and energy policies.

Completed Research Projects

  • Climate Politics: Research Project PCG - Interacting Actors in Polycentric Climate Governance (funded by the Heidelberg Center for the Environment): The goal of this project is to understand how transnational forums established in recent years to address climate change affect the discussion, selection, and convergence of climate change policies. To achieve this, we will examine the policy preferences and perceptions of different groups of actors (bureaucrats, civil society actors, and business actors) in Argentina, Chile, and Mexico, determine the impact of cross-level learning on policy convergence, and examine the representation of included and excluded actors. Rosa Lehmann's focus, together with Alejandra Irigoyen, in the project is on municipal administrations in Chile, their involvement in transnational forums that aim to support municipalities in climate policy, and the possibilities and scope for climate policy at local level.

Supervision of Doctoral Dissertation Projects

  • Rafael Hernández Westpfahl: "Energía limpia? The (in)visibilisation of postcolonial dynamics and forced displacement in the context of 'green extractivsm'".  Heidelberg University, HCIAS doctoral research group “Communication and Society in Ibero-America” (Faculty for Chemistry and Earth Science).
  • Alejandra Irigoyen Ríos: Doctoral research project: "Municipalities in Climate Governance", Universität Heidelberg (Faculty for Chemistry and Earth Science).
  • Further supervision as host: Júlia Mascarello, University of Santa Catarina, Brazil, former HCE junior fellow and HCIAS visiting doctoral fellow (September 2022 until June 2023).

Recent Presentations and Media Contributions

Las políticas de la transición energética

At the Escuela de Verano Internacional Energía y Cambio Climático: Actualidad y Desafíos para América Latina organized by the Universidad del Sur, Bahia Blanca, Argentina, which took place on February 19-23, 2024.

Together with HCIAS doctoral researchers Alejandra Irigoyen & Rafael Hernández Westpfahl, Júlia Mascarello (Doctoral researcher at the Universidade de Santa Catarina, former junior fellow HCE and HCIAS) & Dr. Johanna Höhl (Geography, Heidelberg University).

Spatialities of energy transition(s) – The making of (uneven) hydrogen spaces via strategies and export visions

With Dr. Johanna Höhl, Institute of Geography, Heidelberg University. As part of the panel: „Grüner Wasserstoff in der Energiewende: Mehr Energiegerechtigkeit oder grüner Extraktivismus?“ at the “Deutschen Kongress für Geographie” on September 21, 2023 in Frankfurt am Main.

Teaching and supervision

Summer Semester 2024

  • Contested Resources for a Low-Carbon Economy: Biomass, Minerals, Land, and Water
  • Debates across World Regions: Socio-Ecological Transformations in Energy and Food
  • Geographien von Biodiversitätsverlust und Klimawandel: Sozialräumliche und politökonomische Dimensionen (open for BA students)

HCIAS Course Catalog Summer Semester 2024

Topics for final theses (BA, MA)

  • Conflicts around renewable energies and so-called transition minerals in German- and Spanish-speaking regions (from the Odenwald to the Upper Rhine Graben to southern Mexico and central Chile)
  • Spatial analysis of climate, bioeconomy, and energy policies
  • Debates and policies related to energy justice and just transition


Jun.-Prof. Dr. Rosa Lehmann

Heidelberg Center for Ibero-American Studies | HCIAS
Brunnengasse 1, 69117 Heidelberg

Tel.: +49 (0)6221 54-19336
Email: rosa.lehmann(at)uni-heidelberg.de

Visiting address: 
Bergheimer Str. 58a, 69115 Heidelberg
Room 118 (4311.01.118)

Office Hours

For the summer term 2024: Wednesdays 8.00 - 9.00 AM. 

No office hours on May 29, 2024.