Lecturer in Environmental Humanities
Office: 1.03, 34 Tyndalls Park Road
Phone: 0117 33 10829
I am an environmental historian of modern Britain, with research interests that span militaries, rivers, waves, orchards and outdoor recreation.
My doctoral research explored environmentalism as understood and deployed by the British military. My thesis (published in 2012) identified the ‘greening’ of the MoD during the twentieth century through external pressures and internal re-evaluation of the meaning and purpose of the training estate. This area of my work has contributed to an international body of knowledge that extends understanding of military environments beyond battlefields to home territories, and highlights the significance of preparation in broader narratives of war.
My recent research has taken water as its focus. It recognizes the rise of recreation in the modern age as a critical shift in how we imagine, use and protect ‘natural’ spaces. Within the ‘Power and Water’ project, it focuses on British rivers, with a case study of the Severn.
It counters declensionist narratives by arguing that, whereas, for example, commercial river use has declined, recreational use has forged cultures and identities that give new and alternative life to rivers (and other environments, watery and terrestrial). It also reflects the creative ways in which marginalized interests (in the case of the Severn barrage proposals, bore surfers and fishermen) respond to environmental and social change, which can be overlooked by policy-makers and academics.
My second monograph project has emerged from my work on the Severn Bore (a tidal river wave) and extends questions of human relationships with place to the unstable and shifting setting of transient environments such as winds, and especially, waves.
I am also interested in environmental history methodology, particularly the role of experiential and sensory knowledge in knowing place, and of oral history in accessing alternative environmental narratives. I have authored two walks around UK military training areas for the RGS-IBG’s Discovering Britain series.
Wild Things: Humans and Other Animals in the Modern World (1st year Special Topic)
The Age of the Anthropocene (2nd Year Lecture Response Unit)
Beyond the Battlefield: Environment and Conflict (co-taught with Daniel Haines) (3rd Year Lecture Response Unit)
Leisure Landscapes of Modern Britain (3rd Year Special Subject)
Bringing Historians Down to Earth (3rd year Reflective Unit)
Public History in Theory and Practice (MA option)