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Dr Thomas Simpson

Dr Thomas Simpson

Research Associate

History of climate sciences and associated field sciences

Biography

Career

  • Research Associate, Making Climate History, 2020-2024
  • Research Fellow, Gonville and Caius College, 2015-2020
  • Teaching Fellow, Royal Holloway, University of London, 2016-2017

Qualifications

  • PhD in History, University of Cambridge, 2015
  • MSc in History of International Relations, London School of Economics, 2010
  • BA in International History, London School of Economics, 2009

Research

Making Climate History

My current work on this Leverhulme-funded project focuses on two elements: first, the history of climate cartography and spatial imaginaries of climate; and, second, oral histories of climate scientists active from c.1960 to 1990. I have particular interests in the role of European and Asian empires in creating and communicating climate knowledge, the intersection of 'imperial' and 'indigenous' understandings of climate and environment, and theories of climate that cross multiple scales. I am currently working on two articles: one looks at theories of desiccation in Central Asia around the turn of the twentieth century; the other, in collaboration with Prof. Mike Hulme, explores concepts and representations of 'regions' in climate maps during the twentieth century.

The Frontier in British India

My PhD research and one component of my postdoctoral research to date focuses on ideas and practices that constituted frontier regions in colonial India. My research in this area examines borders, violence, administration, cartography, and anthropology as tools of frontier-making. In a pair of articles and a book, The Frontier in British India: Space, Science, and Power in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge University Press, 2021), I show how frontiers became arenas for distinctive modes of power and knowledge in the era of high imperialism.

Historical geographies of knowledge in upland spaces

I have produced a series of articles and book chapters on knowledge of and in mountainous regions. I am especially interested in the Greater Himalayan region during the colonial and postcolonial eras. My work pays particular attention to water and ice as materials put to work within various cosmologies and scientific disciplines.

Publications

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Teaching

  • Seminar leader, MPhil in Anthropocene Studies
  • Dissertation supervisor, MPhil in Anthropocene Studies