Professor Sarah Whatmore
- Head of School of Geography and the Environment
- Professor of Environment and Public Policy
- Fellow of Keble College, Oxford
- Co-ordinator of the Technological Natures: Materialities, Mobilities, Politics research cluster
Sarah is a graduate of University College London where she gained a BA (Geography) in 1981; an M.Phil. (Town Planning) in 1983 and, after a stint working for the Greater London Council, a PhD (Geography) in 1988. She spent 12 years teaching in the School of Geographical Sciences at the University of Bristol, where she was promoted to a Chair in Human Geography in 1999 and awarded a DSc for published research in 2000. She moved to the Geography Discipline at the Open University in September 2001 as Professor of Environmental Geography. Sarah has also held visiting appointments in several institutions overseas including the University of California, Santa Cruz and the University of Wisconsin, Madison (USA); the University of Newcastle, (Australia); and the University of Trondheim (Norway).
A Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) for nearly 20 years, Sarah was elected to the Council of the RGS/IBG and to membership of the Research Committee in June 2004 for 3 years. She is also an elected member of the Academy of Learned Societies in the Social Sciences and a Fellow of the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce). She is currently an editor of Environment and Planning, A (Pion) and of the Blackwell Dictionary of Human Geography (5th edition), and serves on the editorial boards of several journals.
Her research focuses on relations between people and the material world, particularly the living world, and the spatial habits of thought that inform the ways in which these relations are imagined and practiced in the conduct of science, governance and everyday life. She has published widely on the theoretical and political implications of these questions in two main directions.
First, developing 'more-than-human' modes of enquiry that address (i) the material and ecological fabric of social life and (ii) the politics of knowledge through which this fabric is contested and re-made. These concerns are informed by an interest in a range of philosophical resources (e.g. the creative tensions between bio-philosophy and feminist theories of the bodily) and experiments in transdisciplinary research practice that work against prevailing divisions between natural and social science, 'expert' and 'lay' knowledge (notably those associated with new fields like Science and Technology studies and with disciplines that pre-date these divisions like geography, anthropology and archaeology).
Second, interrogating the relationship between science and democracy particularly in terms of (i) environmental knowledge controversies and geo-political technologies of risk management (eg flood risk modelling / mapping; regulating the movement of GM plant materials); and (ii) collaborative research practices which bring the different knowledge competences of social and natural scientists into play with those of diverse publics engaged in common matters of environmental concern. Current projects include work with hydrological modellers on the science and politics of flood risk management (RELU programme - ESRC/NERC/BBSRC); with sociologists and political scientists on sustainable consumption (ANR, France); and with conservation biologists on the commercialisation of wildlife (ESRC).
These themes are brought together in her most recent books - Political Matter: technoscience, democracy and public life (2010) (University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis) (co-edited with Braun); Hybrid Geographies: natures cultures spaces, 2002 (Sage, London); Using Social Theory: Thinking through research, 2003 (Sage, London) (co-edited with Pryke and Rose); and Cultural Geography: Critical concepts, 2004 (two volumes) (Routledge, London) (co-edited with Thrift).
She was recipient of the Cuthbert Peek award from the RGS/IBG in 2003 for 'innovative contributions to the understanding of nature-society relations' and her research has been supported by a variety of funding bodies including Research Councils, NGOs and Government agencies, such as the Economic and Social Research Council; the Worldwide Fund for Nature and English Nature.
- Mellon Foundation funded Sawyer seminar series on 'Human Creativity: ecologies and practices of invention', 2010/2011. With Professor Chris Gosden (Oxford, Archaeology), Sarah is coordinating a series of activities and events involving international visiting scholars and Oxford academics from philosophy to neuroscience working collectively through the mediations of 'objects' selected from the University's museum collections. Charlotte Bates will be joining the School in January 2011 to take up the post-doctoral position associated with this project, and support for final year DPhil students whose work relates to the themes of the project will be available.
- leading a 36 month interdisciplinary research project on Environmental knowledge controversies: science, democracy and expertise looking at the socio-political articulations of flood risk modelling (2007-2009). She is working with Prof. Stuart Lane at the University of Durham and Prof. Neil Ward at the University of Newcastle. The project is part of the Rural Economy and Land Use (RELU) Programme funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC); Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). The project recently won the RELU Programme Award. A film about the project is available on the project website.
- organising (with Bruce Braun, University of Minnesota) a residential workshop that brings together leading international scholars in political theory and science and technology studies on The stuff of politics: technoscience, democracy and public life, 7-10 December 2006, University of Oxford. The workshop has now been published by University of Minnesota Press as Political Matter: technoscience, democracy and public life, 2010.
- collaborating in an interdisciplinary research project on Sustainable consumption: social contestation and consumer action with French and Belgian research teams. Funded under the ADD programme of the Agence Nationale de la Recherche, France. Oct. 2005 - Sept. 2008.
Current graduate students include:
- Jeremy Brice
Knowing wine: (dis)connections in knowledges and markets
- Vanessa Burns
A new global commons: posthumanist assemblages in the context of environmental change
- Thomas Jellis
Spaces of aesthetic experiment
- Victoria Mason
Corridors of Conservation: recombining, liminal, watery
- Matthew Shepherd
Geographies of place in spaces of risk: ReykjavŪk, materialities, genius loci
D.Phil. students successfully completing since 2001:
- ZoŽ Enstone (2012)
Becoming Goth: Geographies of an (un)popular culture
- Joe Gerlach (2012)
Vernacular mappings: affect, virtuality, performance
- Sebastian Abrahamsson (2011)
Invasive science and inventive arts: towards a cartography of bodily inner spaces
- Anders Munk (2010)
Risking the flood: cartographies of things to come
- Pamela Richardson-Ngwenya (2009)
The ethical geographies of Caribbean sugar
- Susannah Sallu (2007)
Biodiversity dynamics, knowledges and livelihoods in Kalahari dryland biomes.
- Braun, B. and Whatmore, S.J. (eds.) (2010) Political matter: technoscience, democracy and public life. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis. pp. 350. ISBN 978-0-8166-7089-5.
- Gregory, D., Johnston, R., Pratt, G. and Whatmore, S. (eds.) (2009) The Dictionary of Human Geography. 5th Edition. Wiley-Blackwell. 1072 pp. ISBN 978-1-4051-3288-6.
- Whatmore, S. (2002) Hybrid Geographies: Natures Cultures Spaces. Sage, London. 225 pp. ISBN: 9780761965671.
- Thrift, N. and Whatmore, S. (2004) Cultural Geography: Critical Concepts in the Social Sciences. Routledge, London. 1054 pp. ISBN: 978-0-415-28502-5.
- Pryke, M., Rose, G. and Whatmore, S. (2003) Using Social Theory: Thinking through Research. Sage, London. 196 pp. ISBN: 9780761943778.
Book Chapters, Papers and Articles
- Landström, C., Whatmore, S.J. and Lane, S.N. (2011) Virtual Engineering: Computer Simulation Modelling for Flood Risk Management in England. Science Studies, 24(2): 3-22.
- Landström, C., Whatmore, S.J., Lane, S.N., Odoni, N.A., Ward, N. and Bradley, S. (2011) Coproducing flood risk knowledge: redistributing expertise in critical 'participatory modelling'. Environment and Planning A, 43(7): 1617-1633.
- Lane, S.N., Landström, C. and Whatmore, S.J. (2011) Imagining flood futures: risk assessment and management in practice. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, A, 369: 1784-1806.
- Lane, S.N., Odoni, N., Landström, C., Whatmore, S.J., Ward, N. and Bradley, S. (2011) Doing flood risk science differently: an experiment in radical scientific method. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 36(1): 15-36.
- Whatmore, S.J. and Landström, C. (2011) Flood apprentices: an exercise in making things public. Economy and Society, 40(4): 582-610.
- Whatmore, S. and Lane, S. (2011) Connaissances controversées: exploration dans les sciences et les politiques des risques d'inondation. In, November, V. (ed.) Habiter des territoires à risque. Presses Polytechniques Universitaires Romandes, Geneva. pp. 158-185.
- Braun, B. and Whatmore, S.J. (2010) The stuff of politics. Introduction to, Braun, B. and Whatmore, S.J. (eds.) (2010) Political matter: technoscience, democracy and public life. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis. ix-xl.
- Whatmore, S. and Hinchliffe, S. (2010) Ecological landscapes. In, Hicks, D. and M. Beaudry (eds.) Oxford Handbook of Material Culture Studies. OUP, Oxford. pp. 439-454.
- Whatmore, S.J. and Landström, C. (2010) Manning's n: putting roughness to work. In, Howlett, P. and M. Morgan (eds.) How well do facts travel? The dissemination of reliable knowledge. CUP, Cambridge. pp. 111-135.
- Whatmore, S. (2009) Mapping knowledge controversies: environmental science, democracy and the redistribution of expertise. Progress in Human Geography, 33(5): 587-599.
- Lorimer, J. and Whatmore, S. (2009) After the 'king of beasts': Samuel Baker and the embodied historical geographies of elephant hunting in mid-nineteenth-century Ceylon. Journal of Historical Geography.
- Whatmore, S. (ed.) (2008) Remaking environments: histories, practices, politics. A theme issue of Environment and Planning A, 40(8): 124pp.
- Whatmore, S. (2008) Materialist returns: practising cultural geography in and for a more-than-human world. In, Johnson, N.C. (ed.) Culture and Society : Critical essays in human geography, Ashgate. pp. 481-490.
- Whatmore, S. (1997) Dissecting the Autonomous Self: Hybrid cartographies for a relational ethics. Republished as Chapter 7 in, Henderson, G.L., and Waterstone, M. (eds.) (2008) The Geographical Thought: A Praxis Perspective. Routledge, pp. 109-121.
- Whatmore, S. (2008) Living cities: towards a politics of conviviality. Republished in, Anderson, K., and Braun, B. (eds.) Environment: Critical essays in human geography (Series: Contemporary foundations of space and place). Ashgate.
- Whatmore, S. and S. Hinchcliffe (2008) Hybrid geographies: rethinking the 'human' in human geography. Republished in, Anderson, K., and Braun, B. (eds.) Environment: Critical essays in human geography (Series: Contemporary foundations of space and place). Ashgate.
- Johnston, R., Gregory, D., Pratt, G., Watts, M. and Whatmore, S. (2008) Returns from a speculation. Geoforum, 39(3): 1105-1107.
- Whatmore, S. and Clark, N. (2008) Good food: Ethical consumption and global change. Chapter 8 in, Clark, N., Massey, D. and Sarre, P. (eds.) Material Geographies: A World in the Making. Sage for the Open University.
- Hinchcliffe, S., Kearnes, M., Degen, M. and Whatmore, S. (2007) Ecologies and economies of action - sustainability, calculations and other things. Environment and Planning A, 39(2): 260-282.
- Whatmore, S. (2007) Hybrid geographies: rethinking the human in human geography. Reprinted in Kalof L. and A. Fitzgerald (eds.) The Animals Reader: The essential classic and contemporary writings. Berg. pp. 336-349.
- Whatmore, S. (2007) Between earth and life: re-figuring property through bio-resources. In, Clout H. (ed.) Land, property, resources: essays in honour of Richard Munton. UCL Press. pp. 84-95.
- Whatmore, S. (2006) Materialist returns: practising cultural geographies in and for a more-than-human world. Cultural Geographies, 13(4): 600-610.
- Hinchliffe, S. and S. Whatmore (2006) Living cities: towards a politics of conviviality. Special 'Technonatures' issue of Science as Culture, 15(3): 123-138.
- Stassart, P. and S. Whatmore (2003) Metabolising risk: food scares and the un/re-making of Belgian beef. Themed 'alternative food networks' issue of Environment and Planning A, 35(3): 449-462.