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Department of Geography


Vital Geographies

Vital Geographies

Research in this group explores the production, politics and governance of different forms of life.

In the context of the challenges faced in the Anthropocene, the research examines the relationships between human and non-human agencies, broadly conceptualised to include, for example, plants and animals, disease vectors, environments and natural hazards. It asks how different forms of agency are conceptualised, produced, differentially positioned, regulated, and intervened in, and explores the nature of outcomes from these processes. It investigates the processes that make life, its nature and quality, and those that attenuate that life.

Current interests include geographies of agriculture, food and nutrition; demography, health and wellbeing; animal geographies; and political ecologies and conservation. Drawing on approaches from quantitative as well as qualitative social science, and, amongst others, from critical political economy, feminist, and poststructuralist approaches (including postcolonial and posthumanist traditions), a shared priority is to make reflective contributions that promote lives that are good and flourishing across the globe.

Research projects

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

Group members

Professor Bill Adams The political ecology of socially constructed natures
Dr Evangelia Apostolopoulou Political ecology, neoliberal conservation, production of nature and space, Marxist political economy
Dr Rachel Carmenta Research description to follow.
Dr Romola Davenport The urban mortality transition in north-west Europe in the period 1700-1850, including the geography of smallpox epidemics in Britain before vaccination.
Dr Joseph Day Identifying the causes of the heterogeneity of demographic experience observed among proto-industrial populations.
Dr Philip Howell The cultural and historical geography of prostitution, gender and sexuality in Victorian Britain and its empire; changing animal geographies.
Hannaliis Jaadla Research description to follow.
Dr Eszter Kovàcs Political ecology of agriculture, water and mobility
Professor Nigel Leader-Williams Conservation policy and human-animal conflicts
Dr Piero Montebruno Research description to follow.
Dr Francesca Moore Historical-political geographer with research interests in population politics, the regulation of reproduction and public health.
Dr David Nally Geographical dimensions of colonisation, the geopolitics of subsistence crises, and the politics of famine relief measures, for example the Irish Famine; the politics of global food provisioning
Gill Newton Mortality and disease transmission in urban Britain, especially London, in the sixteenth to nineteenth century.
Yuan Pan Incorporating biodiversity into Natural Capital accounting, by using ecological and economical approaches.
Dr Olga Petri
Research description to follow.
Dr Alice Reid Infant, child and maternal mortality in British populations in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, including the role of doctors and midwifery.
Dr Chris Sandbrook Political ecology; market-based conservation; role of evidence in conservation
Dr Max Satchell Historical geography, occupational structure and transport networks using GIS, and leprosy in Britain since c.1000.
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
Dr Harry Smith Research description to follow.
Professor Richard Smith Welfare and demography in England c. 1300-1834, the geography of poor relief, and a re-assessment of the Mortality Revolution and Epidemiological Transition models for England, western Europe and Asia.
Dr Carry van Lieshout Research description to follow.
Professor Bhaskar Vira Political economy of natural resources, ecosystem services and development. Has a particular focus on political economy and institutional change in contemporary India. He studies justices and injustices that result from economic change, including India's new service economy, and changes in land use and land ownership.
Dr Liz Watson
Coping with risk and uncertainty in the Horn of Africa. Research in northern Kenya has examined links between identity, landscape, peace and violence. Other recent work is interested in the ways in which ongoing large-scale environment and development projects relate to national governance projects, such as ethnic federalism (in Ethiopia) and a new modernization (in Kenya).
Dr Nicholas Wilkinson Research description to follow.

Graduate students

The following graduate students are also associated with the group:

Tina Andersson Livelihoods, ecosystem services and conservation in a tropical CM-SES setting
Clare Elizabeth Bissell The Political Ecology of Trees and Birds in Ghana: People, power and perspectives driving landscape change in Kwahu East.
Adam Bobbette Mediums, Controversy, Knowledge: Living on a Volcano
Lander Bosch On shape and being shaped: the relation between overweight and obesity in London's schoolchildren and the energy-expending characteristics of their built environment
Peadar Brehony Socio-ecological systems and drought in East Africa
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.
Peter Damerell Coexisting with large carnivores: understanding how perceptions of risk and vulnerability pertain to rewilding in Europe
Lucy Goodman Large scale water-management infrastructure in Central and South Asia - to what extent have policies been based on flawed or incomplete economic analysis driven environmental
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
Edward Kiely Research description to follow.
Marcus Nyman
Foraging in the city’s margins: understanding urban nature through food gathering practices in London
Tobias Nyumba Flagships or Battleships? Understanding "Hidden" Aspects of Human Elephant Interactions and their Impacts on Human Wellbeing in Trans Mara District, Kenya.
Francisco Oliveira Filho A new paradigm for the Brazilian Amazon: environmental law enforcement, land use dynamics and the rural environmental registry (CAR)
Mathilda Rosengren Wastelands of difference? Urban nature and more-than-human difference in Berlin and Gothenburg
Morgan Seag Equal Opportunities on Ice: Gendered institutional change in 20th century Antarctic science
Adam Searle The political ecologies of post-nationalism: framing borderless conservation and the discursive construction of "pre-national" space at the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park
Anca Serban Decoding the goverance of nature in the world's largest protected area network
Saba Sharma The state and ethnic violence in Assam, India
Sipke Shaughnessy The politics of conservation, identities and livelihoods in Mukogodo Forest, Kenya
Trishant Simlai The political ecology of conservation militarisation in India: Social and political implications of using surveillance technologies for conservation
Emma Tait Research description to follow.
Yifu Wang Identifying conservation solution in data-poor environments - the Yangtze finless porpoise as a conservation case study (an advertised project)
Karen Wong-Pérez Understanding the links between the Natural Environment and local perceptions of Poverty, Human Well-being and Environmental fairness in San Felipe, Yucatan, Mexico.