Loading content
Dr Laura Smith

Dr Laura Smith

Lecturer in Human Geography

3335

D439a
Amory Building, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ , UK

Laura first joined the department as Lecturer in Human Geography between 2013 and 2016, and returned in January 2018. Before joining Exeter Geography in 2013, she was Lecturer in Human Geography at Oxford Brookes University. Laura received her Ph.D., Masters, and undergraduate degrees from the School of Geography and Planning at Cardiff University.

Laura is a cultural and historical geographer specializing in ecological restoration, environmental history, and 19th and 20th century American literature. She is interested in the intersections between the American nature writing tradition and ecological restoration policy and practice—especially the history and evolution of an ecological restoration sensibility in American nature writing, and how nature writing from across the 19th and 20th centuries has come to take hold as a practice and ideology in mid-20th century and early-21st century ecological restoration programs.

Broad research specialisms:

Ecological restoration and restoration ecology
Rewilding
Environmental history
Environmental humanities
Literary geographies
Nature writing and ecocriticism
C19th and C20th American literature
Wilderness
Theological ethics

Qualifications

Ph.D. City and Regional Planning (Cardiff University, 2010)
M.Sc. Social Science Research Methods (Cardiff University, 2005)
B.Sc. (Hons.) Geography (Human) and Planning (Cardiff University, 2004)

Research interests

Laura is a member of the department’s Life Geographies and Cultural and Historical Geographies Research Groups, and the ECLIPSE Environmental Humanities Reading Group. Her research focuses on themes of:

Ecological Restoration

Laura’s research considers the moral, ethical, theological, and emotive languages that are used to articulate ecological restoration issues and value, specifically the idea of ecological redemption. She is especially interested in the use of redemption motifs in ecological restoration policy.

C19th and C20th American Literature

Laura is interested in the landscapes that have come to be associated with U.S. writers, and how these writers and their works might contribute to wider debates on ecological restoration practice and policy. Her research explores this interplay within the context of environmental organizations with a literary connection to the land.

Research projects

Book Project

2017-2020, under contract – Ecological Restoration and the U.S. Nature and Environmental Writing Tradition: A Rewilding of American Letters. Palgrave Macmillan.

Conference, Symposium, and Workshop Presentations

I. Session Convenor

2015 – Ecological Restoration in the Anthropocene session co-organized with Dr. Jonathan Prior, RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, University of Exeter, September 2015 Abstract

II. Presentations

2016 – ‘The Once and Future Glen: Southwestern Writers on the Promise of a “Glen Canyon Restored.”’ Moralities of Drought session, American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, March 2016  Abstract

2015 – ‘Anticipate Redemption: Theo-Ethical Entanglements in Glen Canyon Restoration.’ Ecological Restoration in the Anthropocene session, RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, University of Exeter, September 2015 Abstract

2012 – ‘Seeking Absolution in Restored Nature: Towards an Ethic of Ecological Redemption.’ Ecological Restoration session, Environmental Ethics Initiative conference: Conservation, Restoration and Sustainability: A Call to Stewardship, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, November 2012

2008 – ‘The Geography of Environmental Restoration: Creating a Local Dialect of Nature.’ Environment Research Group event, School of Geography and Planning, Cardiff University, April 2008

2008 – ‘The Geography of Environmental Restoration: Creating a Local Dialect of Nature.’ Restoration Geographies I session, American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, April 2008 Abstract

III. Invited Talks and Sessions

2016 – ‘The Quiet Politics of Literature and Art in “Glen Canyon Restoration.”’ A Gentle Alertness to Geographies of the (Non)Human & (Ir)Responsibilities seminar, Geography, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, June 2016

2016 – ‘Restor(y)ing the Desert: Ellen Meloy, Terry Tempest Williams, and Bearing Witness in Glen Canyon.’ Vibrant Localism symposium, Exeter Centre for the Literature of Identity, Place, and Sustainability, University of Exeter, June 2016

2016 – ‘Restor(y)ing the C19th Landscapes of Walden: What Would Thoreau Do?’ Garden–Landscape–Landscape-Garden: From 17th-18th Century Theories to Environmental Aesthetics. A Symposium, Research Institute of Irish and Scottish Studies, University of Aberdeen, May 2016

2014 – Chair, Roundtable Discussion, Green Connections: Environmental Response and the Arts. An Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Symposium. English, College of Humanities, University of Exeter, September 2014

Key publications | Publications by category | Publications by year

Publications by category


Journal articles

Smith L (2017). Henry David Thoreau, Walden Woods, and an Aesthetics of Garden. Journal of Scottish Thought, 9, 124-138.
Smith L (2016). Resurrection after the "Blue Death": Literature, politics, and ecological redemption at Glen Canyon. Western American Literature, 51(1), 39-69. DOI.
Smith L (2014). On the 'Emotionality' of Environmental Restoration: Narratives of Guilt, Restitution, Redemption and Hope. Ethics, Policy and Environment, 17(3), 286-307. Abstract.
Smith L (2014). Restoring Walden Woods and the Idyll of Thoreau I: from Literary Landscape to Politicized Landscape. Ecological Restoration, 32(1), 78-85. Abstract. DOI.
Smith L (2014). Restoring Walden Woods and the Idyll of Thoreau II: a Recent Historical Tracing of Changing and Renegotiated Restoration Goals. Ecological Restoration, 32(1), 86-95. Abstract. DOI.
Smith L (2013). Geographies of Environmental Restoration: a Human Geography Critique of Restored Nature. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 38(2), 354-358. DOI.

Chapters

Smith L (2016). Writing (and Righting) the Desert Southwest: Literary Legacies and the Restoration of Glen Canyon. In Brannon W (Ed) Critical Insights: Southwestern Literature, Amenia, NY: Salem Press, 46-59.

Publications by year


2017

Smith L (2017). Henry David Thoreau, Walden Woods, and an Aesthetics of Garden. Journal of Scottish Thought, 9, 124-138.

2016

Smith L (2016). Resurrection after the "Blue Death": Literature, politics, and ecological redemption at Glen Canyon. Western American Literature, 51(1), 39-69. DOI.
Smith L (2016). Writing (and Righting) the Desert Southwest: Literary Legacies and the Restoration of Glen Canyon. In Brannon W (Ed) Critical Insights: Southwestern Literature, Amenia, NY: Salem Press, 46-59.

2014

Smith L (2014). On the 'Emotionality' of Environmental Restoration: Narratives of Guilt, Restitution, Redemption and Hope. Ethics, Policy and Environment, 17(3), 286-307. Abstract.
Smith L (2014). Restoring Walden Woods and the Idyll of Thoreau I: from Literary Landscape to Politicized Landscape. Ecological Restoration, 32(1), 78-85. Abstract. DOI.
Smith L (2014). Restoring Walden Woods and the Idyll of Thoreau II: a Recent Historical Tracing of Changing and Renegotiated Restoration Goals. Ecological Restoration, 32(1), 86-95. Abstract. DOI.

2013

Smith L (2013). Geographies of Environmental Restoration: a Human Geography Critique of Restored Nature. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 38(2), 354-358. DOI.

External positions

Twitter #bookhour Discussion Leader

U.S. Studies Online, British Association for American Studies

Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera (with discussion leaders Lisa M. Dillman, Dr. Francisca Sanchez Ortiz, organizer Dr. Donna Maria Alexander), February 2016 Storify

The Water Museum by Luis Alberto Urrea (with discussion leaders Dr. Gwen Boyle, Dr. Mila Lopez-Palaez Casellas, organizer Dr. Donna Maria Alexander), September 2015 Storify

Modules

2017/18

Information not currently available