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Department of Geography

 

Geographies of Knowledge

Geographies of Knowledge

Research in this group studies how knowledge about the world is made, contested, authorized and used with particular regard to situated historical, cultural and political processes. The group seeks to understand and explain the spatially differentiated ways in which different knowledge claims emerge, become institutionalised and travel; and how they are then transformed, vernacularized and disputed by diverse actors and challenged by other ontologies. We are particularly interested in how different knowledges - for example lay, scientific, western, non-western - gain ascendancy and enter into policy processes, especially in relation to topics such as (currently) poverty alleviation, reducing climatic risks, resource allocation and sustainability or balancing national budgets.

We undertake this work at a variety of multiscale sites across the global North and South, embracing plural ontologies and diverse epistemic practices such as narrative, observation, modelling, elicitation and deliberation. Research in the group draws on approaches from science and technology studies, geographies of science, poststructuralism (esp. postcolonial/decolonial traditions), historical geography and critical political economy and we have expertise particularly in fields of development, climate change, polar politics, scientific advice and the politics of expertise.

Our work aims to contribute to more inclusive knowledge production, democratic decision-making and active citizenship and it engages with contemporary debates about the changing roles of expertise in the public sphere and in pedagogy.

Research projects

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

Themes

Environmental knowledges

Environmental knowledges

Our work in this sub-theme examines the politics of environmental knowledges, with particular thematic foci on climate change, biodiversity and volcanic risks. We study how diverse expertise - for example, lay, scientific, western, non-western - is mobilised in global environmental assessments, environmental controversies, risk management protocols and advisory processes. This sub-theme lies at the interface between the human and physical geographies of environmental risk.

Arctic knowledges

Arctic knowledges

Research in this sub-theme is concerned with knowledge construction in and of the Arctic, with regards to ethnographies of science, histories of geographical thought, indigenous cosmologies and ontologies, polar geopolitics, cryopolitics and regional governance. A key interest is to problematize what is understood, framed and articulated as "the Arctic" in public, political, and scientific discourses. Many projects in this sub-theme are associated with the Scott Polar Research Institute.

Knowledges for development

Knowledges for development

Group members in this sub-theme are interested in understanding the political, cultural, institutional and post/de-colonial geographies of (international) development knowledges and practices. This research recognises the pluralising landscape of global development politics and how different knowledges - for example, lay, scientific, western, non-western - gain authority in this landscape. Main areas of research include the (re-)emergence of South-South cooperation, transition of the so-called 'traditional' donors, financialisation and private sector-led development, and the role of civil society.

Group members

Dr Michael Bravo Indigenous ontologies, geographies of mobility, cultures of navigation; Narratives of the Arctic
Dr Amy Donovan Cultures of risk; science, knowledges and politics in hazardous environments; dynamics of transborder risk
Professor Mike Hulme
Convenor
Cultures of climate — knowledges, representations and politics
Dr Emma Mawdsley Global development politics; South-South Cooperation; India
Professor Susan Owens Environmental governance: policy processes; knowledge and policy learning; environmental planning
Dr Richard Powell Cultural and political geographies of science and knowledges; Circumpolar Arctic
Dr Corine Wood-Donnelly Maritime law and governance of the Arctic

Graduate students

The following graduate students are also associated with the group:

Henry Anderson-Elliott
Convenor
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
Katarzyna Baran International Development Cooperation from below: recipients' perceptions of development cooperation in Haiti
Han Cheng
Convenor
Politics of knowledge construction in China's international development cooperation.
Ragnhild Dale Local content or dreams at sea? The performance of resource management in Sápmi and the Norwegian North.
Sebastian Haug Investigating liminality: Turkey and Mexico in global development.
Victoria Herrmann Art, Technology, and Political Agency in Arctic Governance and Development: an analysis from Bipolar competition to International co-operation
Cameron Mackay Indigenous knowledge and Arctic climate change
Natalia Magnani Materiality, Memory, and Identity in Finnish Lapland
Jamie Sandall Art and Arctic climate change
Morgan Seag Equal Opportunities on Ice: Gendered institutional change in 20th century Antarctic science
Makoto Takahashi The Improvised Expert: examining how expert authority is claimed and contested in conditions of low public trust, with empirical reference to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster
Laura Trajber Waisbich Accountability politics in South-South Development Cooperation: The case of Brazil as a partner in/for development