Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society

Professor Deborah Dixon

Research interests:

Broadly, my work addresses the field of art/science, and the manner in which research across academia has addressed the making and remaking of environment/society relations. More pertinently for SAGES, my recent research and teaching has centered on an evaluation of the emergence, character, and scope of geoengineering efforts to address climate change. With an eye on the future, geoengineering is nevertheless very much of the present, as many efforts are being created in the laboratory, while
others have reached experimental stages. A critical debate has emerged about whether these represent viable and appropriate solutions to climate change, or significant and potentially damaging socio-technical interventions. I contribute to this debate by addressing questions of geopolitics, governance, and aesthetics associated with manipulations of the earth’s climate system. Specifically, I address how a lack of engagement between geoengineering science with the fields of social science and humanities has
caused a dearth of understanding about the politics and aesthetics already embedded in geoengineering. My research and teaching asks:

(1) What are the differing logics, philosophies and ethics underlying diverse geoengineering technologies and experiments, and how have these shaped the selection of solutions?
(2) How can rapidly-emerging geoengineering technologies and experiments be governed by existing regimes of law and policy, and what new modes of geopolitics and citizenship does geoengineering anticipate/require?
(3) How can humanities-based research draw out the imaginaries, affects, and aesthetics animating and prompted by geoengineering ideas and practice, allow for a reflexive appraisal of research practice, and shape a productive knowledge exchange between the humanities, social and the earth sciences, and policy arenas?

Career history:

2012- Professor, GES, University of Glasgow

2012 Professor, IGES, Aberystwyth University

2010-2012 Reader, IGES, Aberystwyth University

2005-2010 Senior Lecturer, IGES, University of Wales, Aberystwyth

2000-2005 Lecturer, IGES, University of Wales, Aberystwyth

1995-2000 Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, East Carolina University

Active research projects:

“Building Sustainable Futures in Africa: Using Capacity Strengthening Activities to Design and Pilot Methods for Cross-Disciplinary Research,” Scottish Funding Council. Art/science, creative geovisualisation, cross-disciplinarity.

Recent publications:

Dixon, D.P. 2017. Deep Exposures, Science 355. 6328: 916.

Dixon, D.P. 2017. Nature, Art and Aesthetics. In Richardson, D. et al (eds.) The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology. New York: Wiley-Blackwell, 1-4 and online. DOI: 10.1002/9781118786352.wbieg0194

Dixon, D.P., Pendleton, M. & Fearnley, C. 2016. Engaging Hashima: Memory, Site and the Work of Interruption, GeoHumanities, 2.1: 1-27.

Dixon, D. P. 2015. Feminist Geopolitics: Material States. Oxford: Routledge.

Woodward, Keith, et al. 2015. One Sinister Hurricane: Simondon and Collaborative Visualization, Annals of the Association of American Geographers 105.3: 496-511.

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