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School of Geography

School Seminar series 2011-2012

Semester 2 2012

Please note these seminars are open to everyone  

1 February 2012     
Researching trauma and vulnerability. Forced labour in Yorkshire and homosexuality in Uganda
Jo Sadgrove and Hannah Lewis, Stuart Hodkinson and Louise Waite , School of Geography, University of Leeds

This seminar will present reflections from two research projects at the School of Geography. Hannah Lewis, Stuart Hodkinson and Louise Waite will present some of their work within the ESRC funded project "Precarious lives: asylum seekers and refugees’ experiences of forced labour", a collaboration between University of Leeds and Salford. The aim of the study is to gain an in-depth understanding of the experiences of forced and exploitative labour among asylum seekers and refugees living in England. Jo Sadgrove will talk about her research on homosexuality in Uganda which is part of a wider research project recently finished at the School of Geography and funded by the AHRC/ESRC titled Sexuality & Global Faith Networks: A Social Topography . Combining these two research projects the seminar will reflect on the research experience, in particular how researchers and participants construct the experience of trauma and vulnerability throughout the research process.


15 February 2012

Geographies of Wellbeing and Independence in Later Life
Tim Schwanen, University of Oxford
Abstract to be provided soon

7 March 2012
 Reconciliation ecology and urban waterscapes     
 Rob Francis, Kings College London

Urban rivers are often heavily engineered and have suffered a substantial reduction in ecological quality. Because they may appear ecologically poor and offer relatively few opportunities for conservation and restoration of biodiversity and ecosystem services, ecological investigations of such systems are rare. Usually, environmental research and improvements focus on water quality issues, while more detailed research on the habitats and biodiversity of such rivers is generally absent. Most rivers in heavily urbanised areas maintain flood defence walls and embankments as part of their engineering modifications, and which may superficially be considered to be ecologically hostile. However, work along the River Thames through central London has established that the flood defence walls of this highly engineer urban river may support relatively high plant diversity, with 90 species being found along surveyed sections of the wall in 2009. Other investigations have established that the wall plant assemblages and diversity are controlled via a mix of landscape and local factors, including river constriction, wash frequency, wall material type and wall physical complexity. Comparison of seeds transported through the system (the potential diversity) with those species found growing on the walls (expressed diversity) have highlighted that many more species (+50%) could establish on the walls if suitable habitat conditions were present. Consequently, the potential exists for substantial improvement of biodiversity on the walls, if habitat can be ecologically engineered following the principles of reconciliation ecology, whereby modifications ensure that societal use is not compromised by increased availability for nonhuman species."



Earth stewardship:

Sustainability strategies for a rapidly changing planet Ian Terry Chapin, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Earth stewardship is an action-oriented framework intended to foster social-ecological sustainability of a rapidly changing planet. Recent developments identify three strategies that make optimal use of current understanding in an environment of inevitable uncertainty and abrupt change: reducing the magnitude of, and exposure and sensitivity to, known stresses; focusing on proactive policies that shape change; and avoiding or escaping unsustainable social-ecological traps. All social-ecological systems are vulnerable to recent and projected changes but have sources of adaptive capacity and resilience that can sustain ecosystem services and human well-being through active ecosystem stewardship.


2 May 2012

Bringing terrorism home: fear, security and domestic violence

Rachel Pain, Durham University

In this presentation, domestic violence is framed as terrorism. Despite there being a logic to this, it remains that in public, policy and academic analysis, domestic violence is treated as distinct from other forms of violence. I suggest that this is because of its particular geographies; despite the many exhortations to give up on ordering geographies as either global or intimate, public or private, personal or political, spectacular or mundane, we still tend to view the world in that way. Drawing on diverse literatures from political and feminist science, this project is exploring the implications of everyday terrorism. In particular it examines the role that fear plays in intimate violence. It asks how understandings of any kind of terrorism change when fear is framed as having liberatory as well as oppressive potential. I present findings from research with domestic violence survivors, and consider their implications.

For more information and for joining the Geography Seminar series email list contact Dr Sara Gonzalez. s.gonzalez(at)