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Anna Guasco, BA, MSc

Anna Guasco, BA, MSc

PhD student

Interdisciplinary researcher working across cultural and historical geographies, animal geographies, environmental history, environmental justice, conservation social science, and political ecology.



  • 2019 – present: PhD Student, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
  • 2016 – 2017: MSc Student, School of Geosciences, University of Edinburgh
  • 2012 – 2016: National Park Ranger, Interpretation and Education, Channel Islands National Park
  • 2015 – 2016: Public Scholarship and Academic Civic Engagement Fellow, Center for Civic and Community Engagement, Carleton College
  • 2015: Environmental Justice Research Intern, Office of Mayor Pro Tem and City Councilmember Carmen Ramírez


  • MSc in Environment, Culture and Society, with distinction, University of Edinburgh, 2017
  • BA in American Studies, summa cum laude, Carleton College, 2016

Awards and scholarships

  • Gates Cambridge Scholarship, University of Cambridge, 2019
  • Ocean Discovery Fellow, National Forums on Ocean Exploration, 2018
  • Best Overall Contribution to the Programme, University of Edinburgh, 2017
  • Avangrid Foundation Scholarship for Energy and Environment Postgraduate Studies, University of Edinburgh, 2016
  • Departmental distinction for degree and senior thesis, Carleton College, 2016
  • Noyes Prize (for academic achievement), Carleton College, 2016
  • Phi Beta Kappa, junior induction, Carleton College, 2015
  • Class of 1966 Diversity of Achievement Award, Carleton College, 2015
  • Honors in Independent Study, Carleton College, 2015


Dissertation: Narrating Cetacean Conservation: Histories, Justice, and Stories of Gray Whale Migration Along the North American Pacific Coast

My dissertation examines histories, narratives, and justice issues surrounding the migration and conservation of the Eastern North Pacific (ENP) gray whale along the North American Pacific Coast. I analyse how the transnational, oceanic migration of ENP gray whales generates particular narratives. By examining narratives constructed about – and with – gray whales, I bring together issues of animals' historical geographies, storytelling ethics, various forms of environmental and social justice, and conservation across borders. My approach is interdisciplinary, drawing on historical, cultural, literary, and animal geographies; environmental history; political ecology; environmental justice; narrative theory; and border studies. My guiding question is: How are gray whale histories and contemporary encounters narrated in different spaces and places along the whale's migration, and what are the ramifications of these narratives? I plan to analyse how human-gray whale relationships have developed over time and to assess how gray whale histories, contemporary encounters, and conservation issues are narrated throughout the interconnected geographies of the whales' migration. I further aim to assess whether and how these processes of memory, narration, and biocultural historical inheritance have consequences for various forms of justice.

Broader research interests include: conservation narratives, environmental justice, environmental history, animal and more-than-human geographies, museums, ocean/coasts, political ecology of conservation, community/public engagement.


Peer-reviewed publications

  • Guasco, A. (2020) 'As dead as a dodo': Extinction narratives and multispecies justice in the museum. Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space. DOI:
  • Guasco, A. (2015) (De)constructing Los Angeles: Spatial Injustice and Memoirs. Undergraduate Journal of Humanistic Studies, 1(1), pp. 1-12.

Other academic writing

Selected presentations and invited talks

  • 'Narrating Embodied Environmental Histories Through Indicator Archives', with Diane Borden. Animal History Group: Animal Archives Conference (July 2021)
  • 'Encountering Digital Whales: Affect, Spectacle, and the Mundane in Cetacean Geographies'. Digital Ecologies Conference. (March 2021)
  • 'Terraqueous Border-'lands': Grey Whale Migration Along the North American Pacific Coast'. British Animal Studies Network Meeting: Animal Borderlands (September 2020)
  • 'From Devil-Fish to Friendly Whale: Stories of the Grey Whale'. International Women's Day, Museum of Zoology, University of Cambridge (March 2020)
  • 'Access and Accessibility in National Parks'. Invited guest speaker presentations for Channel Islands National Park employees (May, June 2019)
  • 'Oceans and Access'. In: 'Lightning Talks'. 2018 National Ocean Exploration Forum. M.I.T. Media Lab (November 2018)
  • 'From Devil Fish to Friendly Leviathan: Guilty Wildlife Histories and American Gray Whale Ecotourism in Baja'. In: 'Material Creatures' Panel: Environment, Space and Place Working Group. 2016 Cultural Studies Association Conference. Villanova University (June 2016)
  • 'Anacapa and the American Sublime: Perceptions and Representations in Channel Islands National Park'. Centennial 'From Shore to Sea' Lecture Series (2016) and Invited Lecture (2014), Channel Islands National Park (April 2016; December 2014)


  • Guest Lecturer, MPhil Anthropocene Studies ('Extinction Narratives') (2020)
  • Guest Lecturer, Part II, Political Appetites: Geographies of Food and Power ('Harvesting the Ocean') (2021)
  • Supervisor, Part IA, Society, Environment and Sustainable Development (2020-2021)
  • Supervisor, Part II, Political Appetites: Geographies of Food and Power (2021)
  • Supervisor, Part II, Geographies of Postcolonialism and Decoloniality (2021)

External activities

  • Vital Geographies and Geographies of Knowledge research groups
  • Political Ecology and Decolonial Research reading groups
  • Learning for Purpose Co-Director, Gates Cambridge Learning for Purpose Programme (2019 – 2020)
  • First Year Human Geography PhD Co-Representative, Graduate Student Committee, Department of Geography (2019 – 2020)
  • Graduate Forum Co-Convenor, Department of Geography (2019 – 2020)