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Harding Distinguished Postgraduate Scholars Programme


  Troy Fielder


  Geography (Arts), Jesus

  PhD thesis: Natural Burial in the Anthropocene: Emergent Forms of Nature and Conservation



Research interests:

  1. Vital Geographies
  2. Necropolitics and Ecologies
  3. Communities of Care

Death is something that affects all of us, though it is often side-lined and ignored: spatially, emotionally, and culturally. making death a central subject of my research, I hope to explore how it informs individual and community conceptions of our local and global environment. In particular, my PhD project will focus on the (re)emergence of natural burial sites in the UK and US. I intend to research the social, political, and ecological factors that shape these sites - and how, in turn, they influence the people that care for them.

Who or what inspired you to pursue your research interests?

In ‘A Non-Euclidean View of California’, Ursula Le Guin states that “[the] center of the world is a bluff on the Klamath River, a rock in Mecca, a hole in the ground in Greece, nowhere, its circumference everywhere”. Reading this shifted my academic career: the global became localised, and the once insignificant made large. As I research, I find myself indebted to those who centre care and hold space for surprise. At natural burial sites, I have found just this combination of values – in site managers, visitors, and mourners – and I remain in awe of their grace amidst profound grief.