Dr Elizabeth Gagen B.Sc. (Liverpool) MA (Syracuse) Ph.D. (Cambridge)

Senior Lecturer in Human Geography

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Department of Geography and Earth Sciences

Postal address
Aberystwyth University
Llandinam Building
Penglais
Aberystwyth
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Research interests

My work as a human geographer has developed over a number of years and has traversed different sub-fields and disciplines. A broad set of interests run through my research, including the governance of childhood and youth, emotions and education, mental health and wellbeing, gender and embodiment, and the history of psychology and psychiatry.  

My early work focused on historical geographies of childhood, tracing early child development theories and their application in education and playground design in Progressive Era urban America. This developed into a long-term interest in the way psychological theories of identity formation and regulation are used to govern childhood. I explored this relationship in the context of contemporary education, looking at the effects of popular psychology and neuroscience in the development of emotional education curricula. I have been influenced throughout by Foucault’s thinking on knowledge as a technology of governance, but, as a determined geographer, have explored this though specific sites and spaces, always mindful of how ideas emerge and are felt through specific bodies.

Most recently, I collaborated with the Arts and Heritage Team of the Swansea Bay and University Health Board and colleagues at Swansea University on a project to document the history of Cefn Coed Mental Hospital in Swansea. This resulted in an exhibition at the Swansea Museum, entitled Cefn Coed Remembered, which captured the working life of the hospital from 1932 to 2018.

I also have a long-term interest in ethics and methods. Researching hard-to-reach groups like children and psychiatric patients who often do not have a clear voice in archive records, raises important questions about ethics and representation. This has led me to explore critical archive methods as well as creative methods for working with young people in contemporary settings. I am a member of Aberystwyth University’s Ethics Panel.     

Research Students

  • Aidan Hesslewood (2008) Reconstituting troublesome youth in Newcastle upon Tyne: theorising exclusion in the night-time economy (University of Hull)
  • Joe Hall (2014) Emerging geographies of education: programmes of gender and sexualities equalities in English primary schools (ESRC Open Competition, University of Hull)
  • Martine Robinson (2017) Couples' management of lifestyle change after diagnosis with coronary heart disease (self-funded, Psychology)
  • Eleri Phillips (current) Welsh woodlands as sites of therapeutic experience and social engagement (KESS II studentship, Geography) 
  • Emily Jacques (current) Masculine performance in the night time economy (self-funded, Psychology)

Profile

DGES service

  • First Year Tutor
  • MA Coordinator 

Disciplinary service

  • Editorial Board Member: Children's Geographies
  • Dissertation Prize Coordinator: Gender and Feminist Geography Research Group (RGS-IBG)

University service 

  • University Ethics Panel member

Teaching

I teach across a broad range of human geography topics. I contribute to the first and second year curriculum with introductory social and cultural geography, more advanced cultural and historical geography, and the history of geographic thought. I also coordinate the MA programme and teach advanced geographic concepts and qualitative methods. At the individual and small group level, I lead dissertation tutorials and supervise undergraduate, MA and Ph.D. dissertations on a variety of topics including, children's geographies, psychological governance, gender and identity, education and emotions, mental health and wellbeing, and the history of mental health. 

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