Cardiff Environmental Cultures

As a strand of the Cardiff ScienceHumanities initiative, Cardiff Environmental Cultures exists to interrogate the cultural, historical and theoretical forces that have shaped and continue to shape our relationships with the environment.

Through events that bring together scholars from a wide range of disciplines and periods of study, we aim to enhance our understanding of various approaches to the ecological crises of our own moment. In the process, we also hope to explore and move closer to possible better futures.


February 12th 2021, 2.00-5.00pm, Zoom — Politicising Environments: a workshop on politics and the environment (please contact for details and to join the event).

March 10th 2021, 1.00-1.50pm, Zoom — Cardiff Environmental Cultures and Environmental Justice Research Unit Reading Group (please contact for details and to join the event).


December 15th 2020, 5:00pm, Zoom — Professional Development Seminar on ‘Embedding environmental issues in non-eco modules’ with contributions from Aidan Tynan, Ceri Sullivan, Jamie Castell, David Shackleton and Allen Webb (please contact for details and to join the event).

December 7th 2020, 1-1.45pm, Zoom: ScienceHumanities Unscripted – The Environmental Humanities (please contact for details and to join the event).

November 24th 2020, 1:00 PM, English Research Seminar, Zoom: Professor John Parham (University of Worcester), ‘Let the Sunshine In: Poetry and Photosynthesis’ (please contact for more details and the Zoom link).

November 17th 2020 – Environmental Activism Workshop with Professor Allen Webb (Western Michigan University)


Dr Jen Iris Allan studies global social movements now working on climate change. Social movements working for women’s rights, labour rights, global justice, among others, have put a human face on climate change. Her work explores how and why these movements joined UN climate change governance, with varying degrees of success.

Seth Armstrong-Twigg is a doctoral researcher examining depictions of environmental degradation in Welsh industrial literature of the nineteenth and early twentieth century. From waste and deforestation to air and water pollution, Seth’s work foregrounds the destructive legacy of industry in Wales.

Professor Robin Attfield: Robin is seeing through the press ‘Environmental Thought: A Short History’, due to be published by Polity in March 2021. This book surveys environmental thought from ancient times, with occasional forays into non-western thought, but mainly focuses on the period since Darwin, including Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, the early environmental classics of the 1970s and 80s, environmental philosophy, and the triple environmental emergency of air pollution, biodiversity loss and climate change.

Dr James Castell: Jamie is interested in the role of nature in poetry from the Romantic period to the present day. He focuses in particular on the complexity of the word ‘nature’, literary encounters with animals, various disciplinary approaches to the question of ‘life’, the importance of sound in accounts of nature, and also in how literary texts are reinterpreted through the lens of their changing ecological circumstances, including in our own age of environmental crisis.

Dr Ailbhe Darcy

Dr Sophia Hatzisavvidou: Sophia is a political theorist who is interested in environmental rhetoric(s). Her research looks at the uses of scientific evidence in ecopolitical discourse; at the differences between competing ecopolitical visions; and at the place of ‘justice’ in discourses on low-carbon futures.

Dr Hannah Hughes: Hannah’s research is motivated by a deep concern over the the state of the environment and continued environmental degradation. To date, it has mostly focused on the politics of climate change. She has approached climate politics from different perspectives to try understand: 1) how we mobilise a greater political response (securitisation); 2) who has the power and what constitutes their authority to know and respond to climate change (Bourdieu inspired study of the IPCC); 3) how we challenge the present social, political and economic order and its destruction of the environment (methodological innovation, IPBES and biocultural diversity).

Professor Carl Phelpstead: Carl is interested in ways in which the difference of medieval literature can illuminate and challenge present-day thinking about the environment. He has published articles on ecocriticism and Old Norse and early medieval English literature and is currently co-editing Eco-Norse: Essays on Old Norse Literature and the Environment with Tim Bourns of the University of Iceland.

Dr Flora J. Roberts: Flora is an environmental historian of Soviet Central Asia and the former USSR. With a degree in Classics and a PhD in Soviet history, her interests in the environmental humanities range broadly over time and space and include poetry and novels about dams, nature writing and colonial landscapes, visualising environmental change and threat, and socialist political ecology.

Jim Scown: Jim’s research examines how soil was understood in scientific writing and the realist novel of the mid-nineteenth century. He is interested in how this body of writing on soils links questions of public health, resource extraction, and environmental change, and the relationships between these concerns in the nineteenth century and today.

Dr David Shackleton: David is interested in the relationship between climate change and fiction. He is starting a new project that explores how Afrofuturism and much recent speculative fiction can help us to imagine more equitable transitions to a low-carbon future. He hopes to collaborate with others who are interested in responding to the challenges posed by climate breakdown.

Professor Ceri Sullivan: Ceri is interested in asking what practical actions staff and students can take (ranging from flexing our syllabuses to publicizing our water fountains to decarbonising our pension funds) to make a lived reality of the university’s declaration that it recognised – and would tackle – the climate crisis. All ideas welcome!

Dr Aidan Tynan: Aidan’s work draws on continental philosophy and theory, particularly Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, to research topics in ecocriticism and the environmental humanities. His most recent monograph The Desert in Modern Literature and Philosophy: Wasteland Aesthetics (Edinburgh, 2020) analyses how deserts and wastelands figure in a broad range of continental philosophy since Nietzsche and literature since the Romantics. His current project is on the connections between environmental culture and far-right politics.