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Adam Searle

Adam Searle

PhD Student, Department of Geography and King's College

Environmental and cultural geographer interested in the role of genetic technologies in wildlife conservation and the political ecology of extinction

Geógrafo ambiental y cultural interesado en el papel de las tecnologías genéticas en la conservación de fauna y flora y la ecología política de la extinción

Géographe environnemental et culturel intéressé par le rôle des technologies génétiques dans la conservation de la faune et de la flore et par l'écologie politique de l'extinction



  • (2017-) PhD in Geography, University of Cambridge
  • (2017) MSc (Dist.) in Nature, Society, and Environmental Governance, University of Oxford
  • (2016) BSc (Hons., First) in Ecological and Environmental Sciences, University of Edinburgh

Funding and awards

  • (2017-) Vice-Chancellor's and King's Scholarship, Doctoral Studentship
  • (2018) AJ Pressland Award, University of Cambridge Language Centre
  • (2017) Dissertation Prize, School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford
  • (2017) Examination Performance Award, St Edmund Hall, Oxford
  • (2017) St Edmund Hall Research Grant, Oxford
  • (2016) Garton Prize and Medal, The University of Edinburgh
  • (2016) Class Medal, School of GeoSciences, Edinburgh


My research explores conservation in the post-genomic age, focussing on the politics and geographies of 'de-extinction': the restoration of extinct populations through cloning. Combining approaches from more-than-human geography and science and technology studies, my doctoral thesis is grounded in the case of the bucardo, or Pyrenean ibex, examining the historical and cultural elements at play in the politics of the subspecies' life after extinction.

Through a thorough investigation of the bucardo, I speculate on the futures and viabilities of de-extinction as a conservation strategy, considering the multifaceted consequences of extinction's potential reversibility. In considering these themes, I advocate a qualitative methodology to study the agency, materiality, and semiotics of genes from a posthumanist perspective. I hope to engage a broad range of perspectives on de-extinction in an effort to comment on the overarching ethical, political, and ecological issues in question.

I am currently a visiting researcher at the Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (Institute of Environmental Science and Technology), based at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, where I am collaborating on research into socio-ecological systems. Previous geographical projects have included work on the epistemological properties of islands and the role of landscape in science. I have a background in biology and have worked as a field assistant on scientific expeditions, most notably as a member of The University of Edinburgh's St Kilda Soay Sheep project, an experience to which I owe my fascination with genetics.

Broader research interests include: ecological and conservation science; genetics; science and technology studies; existentialism; posthumanism; hauntology; more-than-human geographies; nonrepresentational theories; political ecology; continental philosophy; deconstruction.

Por favor póngase en contacto conmigo para más detalles de mi investigación en castellano.

S'il vous plaît me contacter pour plus de détails de mes recherches en français.


Together with Jonathon Turnbull, I write a quarterly piece called Anthropo(s)cene for the long-standing British philosophy magazine The Philosopher, where we discuss the importance of various philosophical fields for our understandings of the Anthropocene. Thematic writings include 'Posthumanisms' and 'Animals'.

Conference presentations

  • Searle, A., (2019), 'Anabiosis: The liminal geographies of de/extinction", Animal Remains, The University of Sheffield, UK
  • Searle, A., (2018), 'Hauntology and revenants in de/extinction: Liminality, authenticity, and spectres of the animal', Rethinking Animality: International Animal Studies Conference, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Spain
  • Searle, A., (2018), 'La muerte es el espectáculo nacional: Knowing the bucardo through spectre, duende, and spectacle', Association of Contemporary Iberian Studies Conference, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain
  • Searle, A., (2018), 'Metagenomic worlds: Trace DNA and (un)commonality', (Un)Common Worlds: Human-Animal Studies Conference, Turku University, Finland
  • Searle, A., (2018), 'Cloning for conservation: Exploring the opportunities, limits, and ethics of de-extinction', Student Conference on Conservation Science, University of Cambridge, UK
  • Searle, A., (2017), 'Finding Eden, making Adam: John Morton Boyd and the genesis of Hebridean naturalism', 24th AISNA Biennial Conference, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy

External activities