Jon Unruh

War affected land rights regimes; The peace process and recovery from armed conflict; The intersection between land rights and environmental change

Associate Professor in the Department of Geography

Department of Geography
McGill University
805 Sherbrooke Street West,
Montreal, QC H3A 2K6

Tel.: (514) 398-8989
Fax.: (514) 398-7437

jon.unruh [at] (E-mail)


Academic background

PhD Geography, University of Arizona (1997)


Research interests

My research, applied and policy work over the past 20 years has focused on the human geography of war affected countries. My particular interest is the recovery of war-affected land and property rights systems. Past work has dealt with Islamic, traditional, legal and warlord approaches to land rights in war-torn scenarios. My experience includes work in war-affected countries of Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, and I occasionally work with the United Nations, donors and a variety of governments to rebuild land and property rights systems after war.


Current projects

  • Land tenure and Islamic Law
  • Current conflicts with historical ties in The Indian Ocean World: The Making of the First Global Economy in the Context of Human-Environment Interaction
  • Formes de l’asservissement dans l’Océan Indien : origines, structures et transformations
  • Postwar Land and Property Rights: Reconciling Multiple Rule of Law Tenure Systems


Some recent publications

Unruh JD and Abdul-Jalil MA (2012) Land rights in Darfur: institutional flexibility, policy and adaptation to environmental change. Natural Resources Forum, 36:274-284.

Unruh JD and Shalaby M (2012) A volatile interaction between peacebuilding priorities: road infrastructure (re)construction and land rights in Afghanistan. Progress in Development Studies 12: 47-61.

Unruh JD (2006) Land tenure and the ‘evidence landscape’ in developing countries. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 96: 754-772.