Friday, 4 October 2013

New paper, new job, new projects

It's been a bit quiet on here from my side over the summer, mostly because I've been working on finishing off and handing in my PhD thesis. I trailed some of my arguments at a few conferences during the summer, including the RGS-IBG in London, the annual Interpretive Policy Analysis conference in Vienna, and the International Congress for the History of Science, Technology and Medicine in Manchester. I managed to hand my thesis in on 20th September, just in time to start a new post at King's College London (see below).

New paper

My thesis is structured around a range of case studies which are in various stages of publication as journal articles (see e.g. here and here). My work on the recent evolution of the science-policy interface in Indian climate politics has recently been published in Social Studies of Science. The paper traces the story of a mistake concerning the likely melting of Himalayan glaciers in the 2007 IPCC report, and analyses the emergence of the new Indian Network for Climate Change Assessment around 2009 and 2010. The latter event offered an important context for a re-assertion of epistemic sovereignty in Indian climate politics, which I argue was closely intertwined with former environment minister Jairam Ramesh's attempts to re-align India's stance in the global climate negotiations during the same period. From a long-standing position of resisting binding emissions cuts, Ramesh and the Indian government began to embrace voluntary approaches to emissions cuts and strategic alliances to countries like the US. I suggest that new, predictive knowledges of national territory provided an important anchor for Ramesh to navigate the choppy waters of shifting political sovereignty. In this way, I suggest that regional climate models have come to occupy an important place in a longer history of state knowledge-making (see here).

New job

This week I took up a new post as a Research Associate in the Department of Geography at King's College London. This will allow me to continue some projects which have spilled-over from the PhD, and to work with Mike Hulme - now Professor of Climate and Culture at King's - on developing some new research ideas. We're looking to make some connections with people at King's and elsewhere in London who are interested in the cultural politics of climate and the anthropocene, to enact some conversations and see what happens. Based on my first few days of meeting people, I'm excited about the prospects for future projects, events and ideas.

New projects

Part of my job will be to follow-up on some projects which spilled over the edges of my PhD. To start with, I'm working on a workshop paper on visual iconographies of climate change-induced migration. I'm interested in the different modes of visual representation employed in projects like Postcards from the Future and the Foresight report into environmental migration, particularly how such representations tap into historical imaginations of, and anxieties about, urban change and decay.

I'm also hoping to get to work on a paper which will attempt to re-conceive the notion of 'geographies of science' in a way appropriate to contemporary politics of knowledge, risk and expertise. This will build upon some of the arguments made in my thesis, but will require some broader reflections on the epistemic geographies of various objects of political debate, like genetic modification, nanotechnology and biodiversity.
I'll also be working on some ideas about anthropocene 'origins stories', along with Helen and some colleagues in Sweden. We hope this will soon spawn a paper, and maybe a subsequent workshop or conference.

So, lots to do, watch this space for updates!


  1. Brittany Montgomery21 October 2013 at 01:22

    At least the thesis project was a big success! It was seldom for some student to have their thesis paper be published for the benefits of others. Anyway, I do hope everything went well with your journey. It may be hard at first, but it would be smooth sailing eventually.

  2. Thanks Brittany. It was one hell of a ride!