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Department of Geography


Natures, Cultures, Knowledges

Natures, Cultures, Knowledges

Understandings of nature are plural, complex, and divergent. In the Department, research into nature - and the way it is understood, experienced and engaged with - is diverse and draws on concepts from political ecology, science and technology studies, policy analysis, animal geographies, poststructuralism (including feminist and post humanist traditions), among other intellectual currents. Much of the work examines how different 'ways of knowing' are linked, oriented and embodied across a diversity of social, cultural and economic spaces, times and scales. A shared priority is, broadly speaking, to employ geographical analysis to reveal more equitable and sustainable pathways to negotiate present and future engagements with nature.

The research group takes as a starting point the appreciation of Natures, Cultures and Knowledges as fundamentally interwoven phenomena. Understanding of the value attached to different forms of knowledge and expertise, for example, helps us to understanding the power of metrics to set and regulate the terms of our engagement with biological life. Another strand of research includes how the study of non-human agencies provides new explanations for how political ecological dynamics play out in, for example, conservation settings and agricultural policies. The group also has strong research links to the Societies, Markets, States and the Cambridge Cultural and Historical Research Groups in the Department, as well as with the Cambridge Conservation Research Institute, the Cambridge Conservation Initiative, and the Centre for Science and Policy in Cambridge.

Natures Cultures Knowledges

Research projects

Research projects being undertaken by members of the group show the range of research themes.

Group members

The Natures Cultures, Knowledges thematic group consists of the following members:

Professor Bill Adams The political ecology of socially constructed natures
Professor Ash Amin Urban sentience and human being; and resilient states and subjects.
Professor Tim Bayliss-Smith Agroforestry, intensification and social institutions in Melanesia
Dr Michael Bravo Indigenous ontologies; geographies of mobility; cultures of navigation
Dr Clement Feger Ecological accounting, ecosystem governance, business and biodiversity
Professor Matthew Gandy Landscape, infrastructure, and urban bio-diversity.
Dr Philip Howell Animal geographies
Dr Eszter Kovàcs Political ecology of agriculture, water and mobility
Professor Nigel Leader-Williams Conservation policy and human-animal conflicts
Dr Emma Mawdsley Environmental politics in India
Dr Iris Möller Scientifically-informed coastal management; scientific underpinning of coastal ecosystem service, risk, and uncertainty assessments.
Dr David Nally The politics of global food provisioning
Professor Clive Oppenheimer Volcanic risk management and the human ecology of volcanic regions.
Professor Susan Owens Knowledge, expertise & policy; planning and the politics of sustainability
Dr Richard Powell Cultural and political geographies of science and knowledges; Circumpolar Arctic
Professor Sarah Radcliffe Postcolonial cultures and subaltern knowledges
Dr Chris Sandbrook Political ecology; market-based conservation; role of evidence in conservation
Dr Ivan Scales Political ecology of resource use and environmental change
Dr Judith Schleicher
Exploring the relationships between the environment and human wellbeing and poverty
Professor Tom Spencer Hydrodynamics, sediment dynamics, ecological processes and human interactions in coastal ecosystems
Dr Bhaskar Vira Political economy of natural resources, ecosystem services and development
Dr Piers Vitebsky Indigenous cosmologies and ontologies in the Arctic and tropical forests
Dr Liz Watson
Coping with risk and uncertainty in the Horn of Africa
Dr Corine Wood-Donnelly Maritime law and governance of the Arctic

Graduate students

The following graduate students are also associated with the group:

Gregory Akall Adapting to Drought and Building Resilience: Irrigation Development in Kenya (1960-2013).
Henry Anderson-Elliott To re-frame the conservation of polar bears in Svalbard, looking at the socio-cultural norms and values that structure the human relationships with the species
Tina Andersson Livelihoods, ecosystem services and conservation in a tropical CM-SES setting
Albert Arhin Empowering vulnerable communities through climate policy: A comparative case of REDD in Ghana and Tanzania
Clare Elizabeth Bissell The Political Ecology of Trees and Birds in Ghana: People, power and perspectives driving landscape change in Kwahu East.
Libby Blanchard The Political Economy of Reducing Emissions
Adam Bobbette Mediums, Controversy, Knowledge: Living on a Volcano
Lander Bosch On shape and being shaped: the link between overweight and obesity in London's school children and the chartacteristics of their built public places
Peadar Brehony Socio-ecological systems and drought in East Africa
Grace Burchell From Nature to Culture: Ladies and their lapdogs in Georgian England
Josephine Chambers Investigating the impacts of market-based agricultural interventions for biodiversity conservation
Han Cheng Politics of knowledge construction in China's international development cooperation.
Alexander Conway Inside' and 'Outside' spaces: imagined geographies of real and symbolic violence
Hannah Cubaynes Whales from space: studying ballen whales by satellite
Peter Damerell Coexisting with large carnivores: understanding how perceptions of risk and vulnerability pertain to rewilding in Europe
Penelope Goodman Change and continuity in Kalaallit Nunaat
Annette Green A political ecology of conservation and development corridors in Kilombero Valley, Tanzania
Jonathan Hanson Snowleopards and sustainability: participatory conservation and development in the annapurna region of Nepal
Katy Jeary Land sparing and its impact on local forest biodiversity, local land users and their food security
Natalia Magnani Materiality, Memory, and Identity in Finnish Lapland
Jasper Montana Expertise at the Interface: Insights from emerging international governance arrangements for biodiversity and ecosystem services
Marcus Nyman
Foraging in the city’s margins: understanding urban nature through food gathering practices in London
Thomas Pryke Nature Conservation: Living with Environmental Change on the Suffolk Coast, United Kingdom
Nida Rehman Urban Vectors: The Politics and Practices of Public Health in Lahore
Mathilda Rosengren Wastelands of difference? Urban nature and more-than-human difference in Berlin and Gothenburg
Thérèse Rudebeck Power, Politics and Public-Private Partnerships in Global Water Governance
Morgan Seag Equal Opportunities on Ice: Gendered institutional change in 20th century Antarctic science
Anca Serban Decoding the goverance of nature in the world's largest protected area network
Sipke Shaughnessy The politics of conservation, identities and livelihoods in Mukogodo Forest, Kenya
Olivia Shears Coastal conservation and management: the implications of framing for conservation priorities at sedimentary coasts
Natasha Watts 'Serious business to solve serious poverty': Finance and farming in the Southern Highlands of Tanzania
Lana Whittaker Food Sovereignty in India

Meeting series

Political Ecology Group

Political Ecology Group

The Political Ecology Group is interested in all aspects of the symbolic and material politics of socially constructed natures. Its interests span the industrialized and developing world. Some members of the group are active in the Cambridge Conservation Initiative.