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Robert Hearn

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

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Biography

Having specialized in Environmental History from very early on in my undergraduate studies with Dr Robert Lambert, my PhD (2012) was co-supervised by the School of Geography (Professor Charles Watkins) and History (Dr Ross Balzaretti) at the University of Nottingham. Examined by Dr Mark Riley (University of Liverpool) - this thesis explored the comparative cultural-historical geographies and cultural-environmental histories of wolves and wild boar in the northwest Italian region of Liguria. Approached micro-analytically, and drawing on a wide range of disciplines and sources, the combination of empirical data derived from archival and extensive in situ ethnographic research, particularly oral histories and participant observation was a conspicuous feature of this thesis.

Upon completion of my PhD, I held a two-year (Jan.2013-Jan.2015) position as the Postdoctoral Research and Teaching Fellow at the Università degli Studi di Genova, working in the Laboratorio di Archeologia e Storia Ambientale (LASA), an interdisciplinary research group comprised of academics and researchers from the Dipartimento di Antichità, Filosofia e Storia (DAFIST) and the Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, dell'Ambiente e della Vita (DISTAV). Alongside contributing to supervision of postgraduate students and partaking in group research activities and projects relating to the Seminario di Permanente di Storia Locale (est. 1995), I undertook a number of individual investigations into animal and more-than-human geographies and cultural-environmental histories, with a particular focus on apiculture, foodways, hunting, and spontaneous rewilding processes in the Alta Val di Vara, in the east Ligurian province of La Spezia.

During my time at Genova, a further grant from the Fondazione Spinola enabled research into the life, times and scientific works of Massimiliano Spinola (1780-1857) and the role of his letters and collections in the historical geographies of entomological knowledge in Europe during the nineteenth century.

Following Genoa, I returned to the University of Nottingham, initially as a Qualitative Research Assistant in the Business School (Feb.2015-Mar.2015) and then as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Apr.2015-Dec.2015) in the Centre for Advanced Studies (CAS) working as part of the AHRC Centre for Hidden Histories, during which time I investigated the cultural-historical geographies of the experiences of World War One by Italian communities in the UK.

A subsequent grant from the AHRC as a Research Associate in the School of Geography at Nottingham enabled an extension of this research to include investigations into the subsequent memories and commemorations of the World War One amongst the Italian diaspora in the UK, specifically in Nottingham and the East Midlands, working in close collaboration with the Consulate Onorario d'Italia as community partner.

In January 2016, a Rome Award from the British Academy enabled me to spend three months at the British School at Rome (BSR), during which time I returned to my research in the cultural-historical animal geographies and hunting in Italy, focusing on the invention of fox hunting as an Italian tradition by members English community during the early nineteenth century, and continues to the current day.

I continue to research the cultural and historical geographies of the Campagna Romana as an Honorary Research Associate at the Slade School of Fine Art (UCL). Working with the artist Liz Rideal on the Leverhulme Trust funded project 'Splicing Time', this project explores the artistic and geographical connections between contemporary and archived photographs, prints, maps and artworks held in the archives and collections at the the BSR.

Since September 2016, I have been an Assistant Professor in Cultural and Historical Geography, during which time I have continued my research in animal and more-than-human geographies, most recently returning my attention to to the cultural and historical geographies of human-animal interactions in north west Italy, particularly looking at urban wild boar in the city of Genova, the illegal poaching and legal hunting of wolves in Liguria, and the representation of wolves in multi-scalar eco-museums and education exhibits in northwest Italy. In addition, I am currently in the closing stages of producing an co-edited volume with Professor Roberta Cevasco from the Università deli Studi di Scienze Gastronomiche. This work looks at the reinvention and relocalisation of 'traditional' foodways in Italy by way of different sources and methodologies, includes contributions from academics working in Italy, France, Switzerland, Austria and the UK, and will be published in late 2017.

Teaching Summary

I currently teach on a number of courses in the school including:

BA/BSc

L81148: Tutorials (Yr1)

L81113 Exploring Human Geography (Yr1)

F81250 Geographical Fieldcourse (Lake District Fieldcourse) (Yr1)

L81233 Career Skills for Geographers (Yr1)

L82165 Cultural and Historical Geography (Yr2)

L82206 Techniques in Human Geography (Yr2)

L82170 Research Tutorials (Yr2)

L83164 Geographies of Violence (Yr3)

L83165 Geographies of Fashion and Food (Yr3)

L83251 European Urban Geographies (Berlin Fieldcourse) (Yr3)

L83218 The Landscape History of Liguria (Fieldcourse) (Yr3)

MA/MSc

L84102 Research Design (Yr 4)

L84165 Space and Social Theory (Yr 4)

L84480 PGT Dissertation (Yr 4)

Recent Publications

  • HEARN, R. AND DOSSCHE, R., 2016. Apicultural spaces as biocultural places: a comparative temporal and spatial examination of beekeeping practices and their contextual landscapes in the northwest Apennines.. In: AGNOLETTI, M. AND EMANUELI, F., ed., Biocultural Diversity in Europe. Springer. 123-140
  • NIXON, E., SCULLION, R. AND HEARN, R., 2016. Her majesty the student:: marketised higher education and the narcissistic (dis)satisfaction of the student-consumer Studies in Higher Education. 24, 1-21
  • HEARN, R., 2016. British Travellers hunting Italian Animals:: Progress Report Papers of the British School at Rome. 84, 354-355
  • HEARN, R., BALZARETTI, R. and WATKINS, C., 2015. The wolf in the landscape. Antonio Cesena and attitudes to wolves in sixteenth-century Liguria Rural History: Economy, Society, Culture. 26(1), 1-16

I am a cultural and historical geographer with a background in cultural and environmental History. My specific research interests relate to animal and more-than-human geographies, the cultural-historical geographies of food and foodways, and landscape and memory, with a particular focus on Italy from the nineteenth century to the modern day.

  • HEARN, R. AND DOSSCHE, R., 2016. Apicultural spaces as biocultural places: a comparative temporal and spatial examination of beekeeping practices and their contextual landscapes in the northwest Apennines.. In: AGNOLETTI, M. AND EMANUELI, F., ed., Biocultural Diversity in Europe. Springer. 123-140
  • NIXON, E., SCULLION, R. AND HEARN, R., 2016. Her majesty the student:: marketised higher education and the narcissistic (dis)satisfaction of the student-consumer Studies in Higher Education. 24, 1-21
  • HEARN, R., 2016. British Travellers hunting Italian Animals:: Progress Report Papers of the British School at Rome. 84, 354-355
  • HEARN, R., BALZARETTI, R. and WATKINS, C., 2015. The wolf in the landscape. Antonio Cesena and attitudes to wolves in sixteenth-century Liguria Rural History: Economy, Society, Culture. 26(1), 1-16
  • CEVASCO, R., HEARN, R. AND MORENO, D., 2015. Biodiversification as an Historical Process:: an appeal for the application of historical ecology to bio-cultural diversity research. Biodiversity and Conservation. 24, 3167-3183
  • HEARN, R., 2015. Gains and losses in the European mammal fauna.. In: KIRBY, K. AND WATKINS, C., ed., Europe’s Changing Woods and Forests:: from wildwood to managed landscapes. CAB International. 193-206
  • HEARN, R., WATKINS, C. and BALZARETTI, R, 2014. The cultural and land use implications of the reappearance of wild boar in North West Italy: a case study in the Val di Vara Journal of Rural Studies. 36, 52-63
  • HEARN, R., 2014. Il (ri)chiamo del selvatico: l’applicazione delle storia di specie e della ricerca della dimensione umana nella comprensione e gestione del lupo in Liguria.. In: MONETA, V. AND PAROLA, C., ed., Oltre la rinaturalizzazione:: Studi di ecologia storica per la riqualificazione dei paesaggi rurali. Oltre Edizione. 183-193
  • HEARN, R., 2013. Invasive and Introduced Plants and Animals:: human perceptions, attitudes and approaches to management (book review) Environment and History. 117-119
  • STAGNO, A., HEARN, R. AND CEVASCO, R., 2011. Archeologia del lupo: pratiche di controlle nella montagne ligure nei XVIII & XIX secoli.. In: BIANCHI, P. AND PASSERIN D’ENTREVES, P., ed., La caccia nello stato sabaudo (sec. XVI-XIX):: pratiche e spazi. 91-108

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