Dr Ben Garlick

Ben Garlick, Lecturer in Human Geography

Before moving to York in January 2017, Ben studied Geography at Cambridge University and both his Masters and PhD in Human Geography at the University of Edinburgh. His PhD research explored the historical animal geographies of osprey (Pandion haliaetus) conservation in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Scotland. Ben’s thesis narrated and explored the ways in which humans and ospreys in Scotland are historically intertwined – involved – with each other. Through five stories, chronicling the militarised nest-defense of ‘Operation Osprey’ at Loch Garten (begun in 1956), as well as later initiatives to manage the birds on Speyside, his thesis explored complex ethical questions concerning the human-animal relations that arise amidst attempts to ‘secure’, know and foster a successful species re-colonisation.

You can find out more about what Ben’s up to by following him on social media (Twitter or Instagram) under the handle @geographicalben. You can also visit his WordPress site.



Ben currently leads first year modules on 'Tourism Geography', 'Fieldwork Studies in Human Geography', 'Urban Geography' and 'Critical Thinking and Academic Skills'. He also contribute to the teaching of 'Social and Cultural Geography', 'Mapping the Geographies of Yorkshire', and 'Nature Conservation'. Ben leads the second year module 'Cultural and Landscape', and provide tutorial support for students as part of 'Geographers' Professional Practice'. For the third year, he teaches on the modules 'The Contemporary City', 'Nature/Culture' and 'International Cross-Cultural Fieldwork'. Ben is also an active personal tutor and dissertation supervisor.

During the course of 2017, Ben has been working towards his Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PACP) and Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.


Ben draws, in particular, on the ‘more-than-human’ or ‘posthuman’ scholarship of Tim Ingold, Giles Deleuze and Donna Haraway. He traces human-animal relations in terms of their dwelt, immanent and situated natures. His active research interests are focussed upon historical, cultural and animal (or 'more-than-human') geographies. His primary concerns are with how humans and animals interact and become involved in each others' lives, geographies and compositions. In particular, he looks to explore:

  • The role of animals and other nonhumans in the production of a variety of spaces, places and environments, as well as the spatiality of nonhuman animals - or animals' geographies. Ben looks to expand an appreciation of animals' geographical practices and lives by putting social theory into conversation with ecological, biological and ethological accounts.
  • The meeting of humans and nonhumans and the role of each in the production of scientific knowledge, particularly within the fields of conservation and ecological science. Ben is also interested more broadly in the intersections between humans, animals, technologies and environments.
  • The ethical status of nonhuman life and nature within different geographical, temporal, material and bodily contexts and the ethics of conservation practice and initiatives like ‘rewilding’.
  • The geographies of species, ecological communities and extinction.
  • Researching the historical and cultural geographies of animal-human relations and landscapes via a range of historical qualitative methods including archival research, oral history and interview methods, and ethnographic and field site visits'


Journal Articles

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 (2014) “The Rutland Water Ospreys by MacKrill T, Appleton T & Macintyre H” Scottish Birds 33(4): 345.

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


“Not all dogs go to heaven, some go to Battersea: remembering the Brown Dog in Battersea Park, London, and the expression of shared suffering”, More-than-human geographies: from accommodation to conflict and killing, RGS-IBG Annual Conference (July 2012; the University of Edinburgh).

“STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL: protecting the ospreys of Speyside, 1958-59”, New and Emerging Research in Historical Geography, RGS-IBG Annual Conference (28th August 2013; The Royal Geographical Society, Kensington Gore, London).

“Standardized seeing: logging osprey behavior at Loch Garten, Speyside, from 1970 onwards”, Research Institute of Geography & the Lived Environment’s ‘3 Minute Papers’ seminar, University of Edinburgh (19th June 2014; the University of Edinburgh)

“Confidence building: a historical geography of nesting and ospreys on Speyside”, Historical Animal Geographies: Tracking Traces in the Archive, RGS-IBG Annual Conference (28th August 2014). Also co-convener of this session.

“Narrating extinction: mourning the ospreys of Loch an Eilean”, postgraduate historical geography symposium ‘Narrating Archives’, Edinburgh University (11th March 2015).

“Narrating extinction: mourning the ospreys of Loch an Eilean”, Historical Animal Geographies, AAG Annual Conference (23rd April 2015; Chicago MI).

“Standardising beastliness: logging osprey behaviour at Loch Garten and the negotiated production of the animal archive, 1957-1980”, Beastly Pasts and Places, International Conference of Historical Geography (7thJuly 2015).

“The ethical entanglements of re-wilding the skies: osprey nest-building in Scotland”, Ecological Restoration in the Anthropocene, RGS-IBG Annual Conference (2nd August 2015).

“The empty castle: ospreys, geography and extinction”, Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network workshop ‘Unexpected Encounters with Deep Time: Haunting’ (20th April 2016).

“Awkward biopolitics: ospreys, pesticides and conservation biosecurity on Speyside, 1963-1968”, Cambridge University Geography Department’s seminar series (20th October 2016).

“Geographies of Extinction: The ‘miserable tale’ of the ospreys of Loch an Eilein”, Geographies of Extinction: Exploring the Spatio-temporal relations of Species and Death, RGS-IBG Annual Conference (31 August 2017). Also co-convenor of this session.

Professional Activities

Ben is always keen to disseminate his work to those who might be interested, and has recently produced an accessible summary document, outlining his PhD research for a non-specialist audience (available on request or via his personal website).

Ben regularly attends national and international conferences in his field, exploring new developments in the discipline alongside avenues for future collaboration. he is currently involved in establishing a York Environmental Humanities network - if you would like to be involved, please get in touch!