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Staff Profile

Dr Ben Garlick

Senior Lecturer: Human Geography

Ben Garlick

Before joining York St John University as Lecturer in early 2017, I studied for my PhD in Human Geography at the University of Edinburgh. My PhD explored the historical animal geographies of osprey (Pandion haliaetus) conservation in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Scotland; specifically, the ways in which humans and ospreys in Scotland are historically intertwined through five stories, chronicling the various dimensions of species protection at Loch Garden on Speyside, since 1956. More recently, I have worked in the area of landscape geography, retaining an interest in the practicalities of conservation work whilst also beginning to explore the literary geographies of landscape via the works of authors including Nan Shepherd, Ursula le Guin and John Berger.


I currently lead a first year module on 'Fieldwork Studies in Human Geography'. I also contribute to the teaching of

  • Critical Thinking and Academic Skills
  • Nature Conservation 
  • Human Geography fieldwork studies 
  • Culture and Landscape 
  • Nature/Culture 
  • International Cross-cultural Fieldwork. 

I lead the second year module 'Cultural and Landscape'. For the third year, I lead the modules 'Nature/Culture' and 'International Cross-Cultural Fieldwork'. I am an active personal tutor and dissertation supervisor. I am also available to supervise postgraduate work.

I supervise a range of third-year dissertation topics, and serve as academic tutor for around 15 students across all years. I am available to supervise postgraduate work and currently involved in designing a prospective Masters programme within the Humanities school. 


My research interests span a range of cultural geography topics, drawing particular influence from the writing and thinking of individuals such as Giles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Karen Barad, Donna Haraway, and John Berger. A unifying theme across much of my work is an interest in landscape, and the manner in which it is animated, or (re-)produced, through the relationships between humans and non-humans. For example, through conservation activities. In 2017 I established and continue to organise an informal research network for scholars working in the area of the 'environmental humanities' in York and the surrounding region.

By virtue of being based in a school of Humanities, I have also, in collaboration with colleagues in literature, begun to explore fruitful lines of collaboration in the vein of 'literary geography'. In short, this has seen me begin to explore how works of literature can serve as a lens through which to examine and conceptualise the character of space and place. In more general terms, I am intrigued by the use of story and narrative as a means for freighting more theoretical reflections on human-environmental relations, and seek inter-disciplinary opportunities for pursuing this. 



Garlick B and Hunt R (under contract – due 2022) Understanding Cultural Landscapes. Abingdon, Routledge.

Book Chapters

Smith A and Garlick B (in preparation) ‘A Green Parrot for a Good Speaker’: Satire, Birds and the Avian Eidolon in Eliza Haywood’s The Parrot (1746). In: McHugh S and McKay R, eds, Animal Satire (Palgrave McMillan).

Garlick B (in preparation) The Total Mountain: Nan Shepherd and the Virtual Qualities of Landscape. In: Hall M and Hall J, eds, The Mountain and the Politics of Representation (Liverpool University Press).

Academic Articles

Garlick B and King L (in preparation) A geography beyond the Anthropocene: Ursula Le Guin’s Always Coming Home as topophilia for survival. cultural geographies. 

Garlick B and Symons K (2020) Geographies of Extinction: Exploring the Spatio-temporalities of species death. Environmental Humanities 12(1). 296-320.

Symons K and Garlick B (2020) Introduction to the special issue: Tracing geographies of extinction. Environmental Humanities 12(1). 288-295.

Garlick B (2019) Deceptive Landscapes: Ornithological Hide Work and the Perception of Ospreys on Speyside, 1957–1987. Geohumanities 5(1): 215-236.

Garlick B (2019) Cultural geographies of extinction: animal culture amidst Scottish Ospreys. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 44(2): 226-241.

Garlick, B. (2015) Not all dogs go to heaven, some go to Battersea: sharing suffering and the Brown Dog Affair. Social & Cultural Geography 16(7): 798-820.

Book Reviews

Garlick, B (2021) Book review: Landscapes of Detectorists. Journal of Historical Geography 72: 85-86.

Garlick B (2021) Book Review: The Wake of Crows: Living and dying in shared worlds. cultural geographies 28(1): 203-204.

Garlick B (2020) Book Review: Redcoats and Wild Birds: How Military Ornithologists and Migrant Birds Shaped Empire. Journal of Historical Geography. Available online 25 September 2020.

Garlick B (2019) Book review: The Routledge Companion to Animal-Human History. .Journal of Historical Geography 66: 114-115.

Garlick B (2019) Book Review: Historical Animal Geographies. cultural geographies 26(3): 411-412.

Garlick B and Ginn F (2016) Book Review: Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction. Progress in Human Geography 40(1): 149-150.

Garlick B (2013) Book Review: The Rutland Water Ospreys. Scottish Birds 33(4): 345.

Other Writing

Garlick B (2021) The nesting geographies of ospreys and humans. The Geographer Spring 2021: 29 

Garlick B (1 May 2020) Lockdown isn’t good news for all wildlife – many animals rely on humans for survival. The Conversation. Available online via The Conversation website.

Garlick B (13 Sept 2018) Blog Post: What do we want to save from extinction? Geography Directions, blog of the RGS. Available online via Geography Directions.

Garlick B (2018) ‘Sol95-Sol120EXCERPTOFTRANSCRIPT’ York Literary Review 2018. The Valley Press, Scarborough.


Selected Conference Presentations

“Thinking beyond the Anthropocene: Excavating potential futures/future potentials in Ursula Le Guin’s Always Coming Home,” Earth and its Others: The Geographies of Science Fiction, online academic conference (August 2020), online academic conference.

“Awkward biopolitics”, York St John University School of Humanities Religion & Philosophy Seminar Series(November 2019.

“The Shame of Extinction: Proposing the Geographies of a ‘Species Feeling'”, RGS-IBG Annual Conference (August 2019).

“The Total Mountain: Reading Nan Shepherd’s Parables for the Virtual”, YSJU School of Humanities, Religion and Philosophy research Conference, York (July 2019).

“Gardening with the remains of “a living archive”: The Humberhead Peatlands as Anthroposcenic”, RGS-IBG Annual Conference, Cardiff University (August 2018).

“Deceptive Landscapes: Negotiating proximity between humans and ospreys in twentieth-century Speyside, Scotland”, presented as part of the Animal Geography Research Workshop, University of Nottingham (4 July 2018); and at the International Conference of Historical Geography, University of Warsaw (July 2018).

“Geographies of Extinction: The ‘miserable tale’ of the ospreys of Loch an Eilein”, RGS-IBG Annual Conference (August 2017). *Also co-convenor of session ‘Geographies of Extinction’.

“Awkward biopolitics: ospreys, pesticides and conservation biosecurity on Speyside, 1963-1968”, Cambridge Geography Department’s Historical and Cultural Geography seminar series, University of Cambridge (October 2016).

“The empty castle: ospreys, geography and extinction”, Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network workshop ‘Unexpected Encounters with Deep Time: Haunting’, University of Edinburgh (April 2016).

“The ethical entanglements of re-wilding the skies: osprey nest-building in Scotland”, RGS-IBG Annual Conference, University of Exeter (August 2015).

Professional Activities

I coordinate the York Environmental Humanities group, which meets with semi-regularity to provide an opportunity for York-based researchers to share their current projects and ideas. If you would like to join the mailing list for the group, please get in touch!

I am a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, and a member of the RGS Historical Geography Research Group. I am also a committee member (School Rep) for UCU at York St John University. 

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