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Isla Forsyth

Assistant Professor in Cultural and Historical Geography, Faculty of Social Sciences

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Biography

My research interests in cultural and historical geography are wide-ranging and I seek to explore the geographical dimensions of a series of themes, including science and technology studies, critical military geography and more-than-human geographies.

My AHRC doctoral thesis focused on the historical geography of modern camouflage in the British military. My research into cultures and geographies of conflict charted a multi-faceted biography of camouflage technology, narrated through the intersections between the lives of a technology and scientist. Through considering the more-than-human spatialities of camouflage's development, the history of an ambiguous invention was uncovered, subverting a long dominant narrative of camouflage as a benign technology, revealing a jarring technology, combining aesthetic and artistic appreciation with complex scientific theory, to guileful or most deadly effect.

Currently, I am undertaking research into the development of covert warfare in the desert in WWII in order to analyse the entangled relationship between military mobilities, battlespace ecologies and phenomological experiences of conflict. Further, I am exploring a biography of a Polish Army bear as a means to develop ideas arising from these research projects concerning conceptual understandings of the 'natures' of war.

Research Summary

I am keen to supervise the following topics:

Military technologies and their impacts on the geographies of war

Cultures of warfare and embodied experiences of conflict

Covert geographies of war

Animal and more-than-human geographies

Historical geographies of the desert

Recent Publications

  • 2017. On the edges of military mobilities Political Geography. 56, 48-50
  • FORSYTH, I., 2016. Desert Journeys: From exploration to covert operations The Geographical Journal. 182(3), 226-235
  • INGRAM, A. FORSYTH, I. AND GAULD, N., 2016. Beyond geopower: earthly and anthropic geopolitics in The Great Game by War Boutique cultural geographies. 23(4), 635-652
  • FORSYTH, I., 2016. Biography and the Military Archive. In: WILLIAM, A. JENKINGS, N. RECH, M. & WOODWARD, R., ed., The Routledge Companion to Military Research Methods Routledge Handbooks. 44-57
  • 2017. On the edges of military mobilities Political Geography. 56, 48-50
  • FORSYTH, I., 2016. Desert Journeys: From exploration to covert operations The Geographical Journal. 182(3), 226-235
  • INGRAM, A. FORSYTH, I. AND GAULD, N., 2016. Beyond geopower: earthly and anthropic geopolitics in The Great Game by War Boutique cultural geographies. 23(4), 635-652
  • FORSYTH, I., 2016. Biography and the Military Archive. In: WILLIAM, A. JENKINGS, N. RECH, M. & WOODWARD, R., ed., The Routledge Companion to Military Research Methods Routledge Handbooks. 44-57
  • FORSYTH, I., 2016. More-than-human warfare Social and Cultural Geography. 17(5-6), 798-802
  • FORSYTH, I., 2016. A bear’s biography: Hybrid warfare and the more-than-human battlespace Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. early online, (In Press.)
  • FORSYTH, I., 2015. The Lie of the Land: The Technology of Location and Craft of Erasure’. In: MACDONALD, F. AND WITHERS, C., ed., Geography, Technology and Instruments of Exploration Ashgate. 199-218
  • FORSYTH, I., 2014. Designs on the desert: camouflage, deception and the militarization of space Cultural Geographies. 21(2), 247-265
  • FORSYTH, I., 2014. The practice and poetics of fieldwork: Hugh Cott and the study of camouflage Journal of Historical Geography. 43(1), 128-137
  • FORSYTH, I., 2013. Subversive patterning: the surficial qualities of camouflage Environment and Planning A. 45(5), 1037-1052
  • FORSYTH. I. LORIMER, H. MERRIMAN, P. & ROBINSON, J., 2013. What are Surfaces? Environment and Planning A. 45(5), 1013-1020
  • FORSYTH, I., 2013. The More-Than-Human Geographies of Field Science Geography Compass. 7(8), 527-539
  • MCGEACHAN, C. FORSYTH, I. & HASTY, W., 2012. Certain Subjects? Working with Biography and Life-Writing in Historical Geography Historical Geography. 40, 169-185

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