Sian Taylder
PhD student


If I were to say my interest in – some might say obsession with – landscape began from the moment I learned to walk I’d only be telling a very small white lie. This enthusiasm – assisted, it must be said, by a good deal of adolescent indolence – lead me to undergraduate study in geography and landscape and an early encounter with cultural geography via a dissertation on landscape and literature in post-Thomas Hardy Wessex (though at the time, of course, the quantitavists had their hands firmly on the rudder of geographical thought and cultural geography was but a twinkle in my supervisor’s eye).

Life crises (gender ‘reassignment’) wreaked havoc on any academic ambitions (to be honest, there were largely non-existent) but Latin America lured me back to college. The Institute of Latin American Studies nurtured me as a scholar and, to my intense surprised, transformed me into an academic; a late developer, at the tender age of 35. Fieldwork in El Salvador and Mexico took my studies in yet another direction – feminist and Latin American theologies of liberation until more life crises threw their spanners in the works.

What did Horace say? Naturam expelles furca, tamen usque recurret: you may drive out nature with a pitchfork, but she will always return. Once a Catholic, always a Catholic, once a geographer, always a geographer. Whilst walking the Camino de Santiago during the summer of 2012 it occurred to me that I could have my cake and eat it; that I could combine my interests in hiking/pilgrimage, feminist/liberation theologies and good old geography.

Except it isn’t good old geography, it’s a whole new ball game. Cultural and autoethnographic geographies offer the sort of dynamic and radical possibilities for study I could only have dreamed of as a young ... er, person! And here at Exeter I seem to have found my niche. Even now I can hear the geographical deities clinking their glasses together as another recalcitrant student returns to the fold.

Broad research specialisms:

pyschogeography; cultural geography; landscape theory; feminist geography; pilgrimage studies; feminist, queer & Latin American liberation theology; queer theory; (post) phenomenology; non-representational theory; autoethnography; experimental geography.


BSc (Hons) Geography & Landscape Studies (Southampton) 1986
Diploma in ‘Third World Studies’ (Open University) 1996
MSc Latin American Politics (London) 2000

Contact details

Tel+44 (0) 7477 014640

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