Professor Catherine Nash
Professor of Human Geography
Tel: 020 7882 8924
Location: Geography building, Room 122
I am a feminist cultural geographer with research interests in geographies of identity, relatedness and belonging. My work has explored questions of collective identity and difference, especially in relation to ideas of national identity, multiculturalism, diaspora and indigeneity. I am interested in the ways in which attachments to places, senses of belonging, and claims to cultural ownership are shaped by and explored within a range of practices, from local history to contemporary science. Much of this work has addressed these issues in Ireland and Northern Ireland including a recent AHRC funded project on the cultural geography of the Irish border (published as Partititioned Lives: The Irish Borderlands (Ashgate, 2013).
My recent research, funded by an ESRC Fellowship (2004-7) has focused on ideas of ancestry and origins in popular genealogy and human population genetics. This work addresses what I describe as geographies of relatedness in contemporary accounts of ‘who is related to whom and how’. This includes the making of ideas of sexual difference through accounts of the geography of human genetic variation.
My recent book Of Irish Descent (Syracuse University Press, 2008) and my latest book Genetic Geographies: The Trouble with Ancestry (Minnesota University Press, 2015) are the outcomes of this research. My focus on genetic historical geographies is paralleled by ongoing collaborative research funded by the AHRC on the home as a site of historical knowledge, imagination, meaning and practice.
- C. Nash (2015) Genetic Geographies: The Trouble with Ancestry, Minnesota University Press.
- C. Nash, (2013) ‘Genome geographies: mapping national ancestry and diversity in human population genetics’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 38(2): 193–206.
- C. Nash, (2012) ‘Genetics, Race and Relatedness: Human Mobility and Human Diversity in the Genographic Project’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 102(3): 667–684
- C. Nash, (2012) ‘Gendered geographies of human genetic variation: sex, power and mobility in human population genetics’, Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, 19(4): 409–428.
- C. Nash, (2008) Of Irish Descent: Origin Stories, Genealogy, and the Politics of Belonging, Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.
My aim in teaching is to create a stimulating and supportive context for learning. This means fostering active student engagement with concepts, approaches and issues in a wide range of teaching contexts and advising students in module teaching and as a tutor and supervisor of undergraduate, masters and PhD students. Engaging with ideas and issues in concrete ways through well-prepared and in-depth fieldwork is an especially important dimension of my teaching and is the basis for the lecture, seminar and field work module ‘Geography, Identity, Belonging’ focused on these themes in Ireland and Northern Ireland. I reflect on this module in my contribution to a set of papers on teaching political geography in the journal Political Geography:
- Alison J. Williams, Alex Jeffrey, Fiona McConnell, Nick Megoran, Kye Askins, Nick Gill, Catherine Nash and Raksha Pande (2013) ‘Interventions in teaching political geography: Reflections on practice’, Political Geography, 34: 2434.
Student evaluations of my fieldwork based module are especially enthusiastic:
- ‘The field trip was an excellent method through which to really engage with the themes of the course’
- ‘Good work team, a very enjoyable and most importantly, stimulating week’
- ‘Very enjoyable and thought provoking’
- ‘Very enjoyable course’,
- ‘Fieldtrip really interesting and informative’
- ‘Awesome course, would recommend to anyone’
- ‘Fantastic! Love, love, love it!’
I convene and teach the following modules
Through tutorial teaching and dissertation supervision I contribute to:
- GEG4000 Introduction to Geographical Ideas and Practice
- GEG5103 Geographical Research in Practice
- GEG6000 Independent Geographical Study (dissertation)
I convene GEG6001 Readings in Human Geography
I co-convene and co-teach with Professor Alison Blunt:
My recent and ongoing research has involved three research projects:
i. Living with the Past at Home: Domestic Prehabitation and Inheritance, 2012–2014 funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, AHRC
(Principal Investigator: Catherine Nash, Co-Investigators: Alastair Owens and Alison Blunt, Research Fellow: Caron Lipman).
This project extends recent work on the cultural geographies of everyday domestic spaces and forms of public history by addressing how the past is imaginatively reconstructed and experienced in the home. It takes up an archaeological focus on ‘pre-habitation’ – which concerns the investigation of once-inhabited places where traces of habitation remain – to explore the experiences, meanings, knowledges, attitudes, practices and material dimensions associated with senses of domestic pre-habitation and inheritance in Britain. The research will feature in an exhibition to open at the Geffrye Museum of the Home, London in September 2013. The research is featured in our project exhibition, entitled Who Once Lived in My House?, at the Geffrye Museum of the Home, London (24 September 2013 – 9 February 2014).
For further information see the project website at: www.livingwiththepastathome.com
ii. Irish border/lands: cultural geographies of division, interconnection and diversity, 2004–2007, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council
(Principal Investigators: Catherine Nash and Brian Graham, Research Fellows: Amanda McMullan and Bryonie Reid).
This project explored the nature and effects of the border between Ireland and Northern Ireland from the perspectives of those who have lived on or near this border since it was established at the beginning of the 1920s, focusing in particular on the period from 1950 to the present day. Though archival sources and interviews the project examined the changing nature of the border over time, its effects on everyday life, the distinctive regional impacts of these effects, the symbolic, material and practised dimensions of the border, and the senses of local, regional, national and cross-border collective identities and differences, interconnections and divisions, through the accounts of those most directly affected by the border. The research has been published as journal papers and in:
- C. Nash, B. Reid and B. Graham, (2013) Partitioned Lives: The Irish Borderlands, Ashgate.
Much of the research for the project also features on the project website at: www.irishborderlands.com
iii. Genealogy and genetics: cultural geographies of relatedness, 2004–2007, a Research Fellowship funded by the Social and Economic Research Council.
The programme of research carried out during this Research Fellowship set out to examine the understandings of human relatedness being expressed through and shaped by contemporary popular and scientific explorations of personal and collective origins and ancestry. More specifically, it sought to address the ways in which ideas of human connection and difference and categories of ethnicity, gender, race, and national identity feature within and are reconfigured through the practices, technologies and cultures of popular genealogy, human population genetics and their intersection in genetic genealogy. My research explored the political implications of the geographies of human relatedness being shaped by ideas of shared and distinctive collective ancestry and ancestral origins. The research has been published as journal papers and is the basis of two books:
- C. Nash, (2008) Of Irish Descent: Origin Stories, Genealogy, and the Politics of Belonging, Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.
- C. Nash (2015) Genetic Geographies: The Trouble with Ancestry Minnesota University Press.
- Nash, C. (2015) Genetic Geographies: The Trouble with Ancestry, Minnesota University Press.
Nash, C. (2013) ‘Genome geographies: mapping national ancestry and diversity in human population genetics’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 38(2): 193–206.
- Nash, C. (2012) ‘Genetics, Race and Relatedness: Human Mobility and Human Diversity in the Genographic Project’, Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 102(3): 667–684
- Nash, C. (2012) ‘Gendered geographies of human genetic variation: sex, power and mobility in human population genetics’, Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, 19(4): 409–428.
- Nash, C. (2012) ‘Irish DNA: Making Connections and Making Distinctions in Y-Chromosome Surname Studies’ in Katharina Schramm, David Skinner and Richard Rottenburg eds. Identity Politics and the New Genetics: Re/creating Categories of Difference and Belonging, Berghahn Press, 141–16.
- Nash, C. and B. Reid, 2010, ‘Border crossings: new approaches to the Irish border’, Irish Studies Review, 18(3): 265–284.
- Nash, C., L. Dennis, and B, Graham, 2010, ‘Putting the border in place: customs regulation in the making of the Irish border, 1921–1945’, Journal of Historical Geography, 36:421–431.
- Nash, C. (2008), Of Irish Descent: Origin Stories, Genealogy, and The Politics of Belonging, Syracuse University Press.
- Nash, C. (2007) ‘Mapping origins: race and relatedness in population genetics and genetic genealogy’ in Paul Atkinson and Peter Glasner eds. New Genetics, New Identities, Routledge, 77–100.
- Nash C. (2006) ‘Irish Origins, Celtic Origins: Population Genetics, Cultural Politics, Irish Studies Review, 14 (1): 11–37
- Graham, B. and Nash C. (2006) ‘A Shared Future: Territoriality, Pluralism and Public Policy in Northern Ireland’ Political Geography 25(3): 253–278
- Nash, C. (2005) ‘Geographies of Relatedness’ Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 30 449–462
- Nash, C. (2005) ‘Local Histories in Northern Ireland’ History Workshop Journal 60 45–68
- Nash, C. (2005) ‘Equity, diversity and interdependence: cultural policy in Northern Ireland’ Antipode 37(2): 272–300
- Nash, C. (2005) ‘Mapping Emotion: longing and location in the work of Kathy Prendergast’ in Fintan Cullen ed. A Shared Legacy: essays on Irish and Scottish Art and Visual Culture, Ashgate, 272–245
- Nash, C. (2004) ‘Genetic kinship’ Cultural Studies, 18(1): 1–34
- Jacobs, J. M. and Nash, C. (2003) ‘Too Little, Too Much: cultural feminist geographies’ Gender, Place and Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography, 10(3): 265–279
- Nash, C. (2003) ‘‘They’re family!’: cultural geographies of relatedness in popular genealogy’ in Sara Armed, Anne-Marie Fortier and Mimi Sheller eds. Uprootings/Regroundings: Questions of Home and Migration, Berg, Oxford and New York, 179–203
- Nash, C. (2003) ‘Setting roots in motion: genealogy, geography and identity’ in David Trigger and Gareth Griffiths eds. Disputed Territories: Land, Culture and Identity in Settler Societies, Hong Kong University Press, Hong Kong, 29–52
- Nash, C. (2002) ‘Genealogical identities’ Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 20(1): 27–52
Current PhD students
- Eilidh Reid, ‘Masculine Emotional Geographies: Home, Ageing and Later Life’, Funded by a Queen Mary, University of London, College Studentship.
- Carey Newson, ‘Inside Teenager Bedrooms’, Funded by the ESRC.
- Helen Rawling, ‘Life taking shape: arts practices for engaging with the past in post-genocide Rwanda’, Funded by a Queen Mary, University of London, College Studentship.
Past PhD Students
- Evelyn Owen, ‘Geographies of African Art’, ESRC funded, Date of award: 2013
- Shelley Grant, ‘Geographies of transnational adoption: demographics, regulation, economics and representation’. QMUL Studentship funded, Date of award: 2012
- Joanna Long, ‘Daar al Falastini: home, family and identity among Palestinians in Britain’. ESRC funded, Date of award: 2011
- Caron Lipman, ‘The Domestic Uncanny: Co-habiting with ghosts’, QMUL Studentship Funded, Date of award: 2009
- Holly McLaren, ‘Bordering Art: Geography, Collaboration and Creative Practices’, AHRC funded, date of award: 2009
- Jill Fenton, ‘Une géographie passionnelle: Contemporary Surrealism in Paris’, ESRC funded, Date of award: 2005.
- Lorraine Denis, ‘Historical Geographies of the Irish Borderlands’, AHRC funded, Date of award: 2008
- Rebecka Fox, ‘Cultural geographies of pet keeping’ ESRC funded, Date of award: 2005
- Sarah Cant, ‘Cultural geographies of caving’, ESRC funded, Date of award: 2002.
- Tariq Jazeel, ‘Being Sri Lankan: Three Cultural Geographies’, ESRC funded, Date of award: 2002.
- Kate Arblaster, ‘Walking through time: a study of Cwmdu 1850–1020’, Self funded, Date of award: 1998
I welcome enquiries from those who would like to undertake PhD research in cultural geography on topics related but not restricted to my particular research interests. How to apply.
I have a longstanding interest in imaginative ways of engaging with the public and in exploring the intersections between academic and creative modes of producing knowledge and exploring ideas. This stemmed initially from a PhD in geography and art history at the University of Nottingham, which included a focus on visual art in Ireland in the early and late twentieth century, and whose research formed the basis of the exhibition Irish Geographies: Six Contemporary Artists, Djanolgy Art Centre, University of Nottingham, 1997.
That research led to a longstanding interest in the work of artist Kathy Prendergast and a collaborative relationship which later resulted in our successful application for her award of an AHRC Fellowship in the Creative and Performing Arts in the Department of Geography, Royal Holloway. The project we developed there to explore the relationship between geography and visual art entitled Visualising Geographies funded by an AHRC Innovation Award was exhibited in 2004 and documented in Landings: Eight Collaborative Projects Between Artists and Geographers.
I have written about her work in geography and art history publications, and more recently, in an exhibition catalogue essay:
- C. Nash, (1998) ‘Mapping Emotion’ Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 16(1): 1–9
- C. Nash, (2005) ‘Mapping Emotion: longing and location in the work of Kathy Prendergast’ in Fintan Cullen ed. A Shared Legacy: essays on Irish and Scottish Art and Visual Culture, Ashgate, 272–245
- C. Nash, (2010) ‘Black Maps’ Catalogue essay to accompany the exhibition Kathy Prendergast: The Black Maps Series, London: Peer
More widely I have tried to foster creative ways of doing cultural geography by establishing the section ‘Cultural Geographies in Practice’ in the journal Cultural Geographies in 2000. See:
- C. Nash, (2013) ‘Cultural Geography in Practice’ in Nuala C. Johnson, Richard H. Schein, and Jamie Winders eds. Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Cultural Geography, Wiley-Blackwell, 45–56
The work of the Living with the Past at Home project is being exhibited at the Geffrye Museum of the Home, London in the Who Once Lived in My House? exhibition (24 September 2013 – 9 February 2014).