Prior to starting as a Departmental Lecturer at SoGE in January 2021, Hannah worked as a Postdoctoral Research Associate on the European Research Council funded project Refiguring conservation in/for 'the Anthropocene': the global lives of the orangutan, based in Anthropology at Brunel University London.
Hannah completed her PhD in Human Geography at University College London in 2018, with her thesis Not drowning but fighting: faith, activism and climate change narratives in the Pacific Islands.
She holds a BA degree in Anthropology from the University of Cambridge and an MSc in Environment, Science and Society from University College London.
Hannah is a Human Geographer specialising in contemporary environment-society relations. At the heart of her research are questions of how to live well with anthropogenically transformed and transforming natures, and how to enact ethical responsibility for the inequitable distribution of these harmful transformations across different societies and species. She has examined these concerns through the overlapping lens of anthropogenic climate change and biological extinction. Across her doctoral and postdoctoral research, she has documented different modes of ethical engagement with these questions, including political activism, religious practice and philanthropic donation.
Her work centres around three main areas.
1. Squalid Natures: pests, precarity and unwanted co-existence in the Anthropocene
As temperatures warm and climates change, the UK is threatened both with mass insect extinctions and booming pest populations. These accelerating infestations cause economic damage and psychological distress, and in the Anthropocene pose significant questions about the extent of human control over nature. Hannah is in the process of developing a new research project exploring the financial and emotional impacts of living with domestic pest infestations, and how they are shaped by gender, class, race, household composition and security of dwelling. She investigates what responses to infestation are chosen, by whom, and with what consequences. Her work expands debates regarding multispecies flourishing in more-than-human geography, through examining unwanted co-existence with 'unloved others', species that are hard to anthropomorphise, and which evoke disgust. Focusing on encounters with rats, bed bugs and clothing moths in contemporary London homes, she synthesises participation observation, collaborative stakeholder engagement, interviews, and digital ethnography.
2. Orangutan conservation and interspecies compassion in the Anthropocene
As part of the 'Global Lives of the Orangutan' project, Hannah conducted an ethnography of virtual orangutan 'adoption' schemes run mainly by charities in the global North, through which rescue and rehabilitation centres in Borneo and Sumatra obtain financial backing and raise awareness about the plight of orangutan. She examines how notions of kinship, relatedness, intimacy and care are negotiated in this field, and asks how they shape and are shaped by mounting public awareness about extinction, environmental crisis, interspecies ethics and the Anthropocene.
3. Climate justice in the Pacific Island region
In contrast with dominant framings of the Pacific Islands as helplessly vulnerable to sea level rise, Hannah has explored alternative discourses of climate change and Oceania that centre Islander agency. She focuses on two understudied yet interrelated empirical domains: Indigenous-led Islander climate activism and religious understandings of and responses to climate change. Empirically focusing on Vanuatu and the regional activist network 350 Pacific, she draws upon the writing of decolonial scholars such as Epeli Hau'ofa and contemporary theological understandings to uncover locally meaningful and morally compelling counter-narratives of climate change in the Pacific Island region.
Undergraduate: Hannah lectures on the FHS option 'Geographies for the Anthropocene', and teaches on the Human Geography Fieldwork Module for Prelims, as well as the FHS fieldtrips.
Postgraduate: Hannah lectures on the 'Conservation and Society' module on the MSc in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management, and on the 'Urban Natures' module on the Nature, Society and Environmental Governance MSc. She is keen to supervise MSc/MPhil students pursuing research allied to her current research focuses.