Landscape, Memory and Materiality

The group's work in this area explores the complex relations between landscape, memory and identity, and materiality in a range of spatial contexts and historical settings. Drawing on a wide variety of theoretical perspectives, research in this cluster ranges over a number of areas.

Robert Mayhew has worked on landscape, religion and knowledge in the "long" eighteenth century in England.

Merle Patchett has charted the lives, deaths and cultural afterlives of taxidermy and zoological specimens in order to explore the historical geographies of their making. For example, in two related papers Merle charts the movements of a group of mounted tiger trophies from the killing fields of the British Raj, through the ‘assembly line’ of the largest taxidermy factory to have ever existed in Mysore, India, to the walls of a Scottish stately home. Rather than offer a linear ‘commodity story’ or 'object biography' where objects are understood as inert, Merle promotes an understanding of the tiger trophies, and taxidermy specimens more generally, as active assemblages of movements, materials and practices which brought them into existence. 

Merle is currently also examining the aestheticization of landscapes of oil production. For example 'Reframing the Canadian Oil Sands' is a collaborative investigation between herself and the photographer Andriko Lozowy that engages photography and photographic theory to evoke a more critical and politically meaningful visual engagement with the world’s largest capital oil project.

Yvonne Sherratt has written Adorno’s Positive Dialectic, Cambridge University Press, which analyses the way in which Theodor Adorno regards the forces of myth and Enlightenment as entwined throughout Western history.

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