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Dr Pepe Romanillos

Dr Pepe Romanillos

Senior Lecturer in Human Geography


 Amory C415


Amory Building, University of Exeter, Rennes Drive, Exeter, EX4 4RJ , UK


I graduated from the University of Bristol in 2004, gaining a BSc in Geography. This was followed by postgraduate study at Bristol where I completed the MSc in Society and Space and my doctoral research. I first joined the School of Geography at Exeter in October 2008 as an Associate Teaching Fellow. I have since worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences, University of Groningen, and as a Lecturer at the School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol. I returned to Exeter in August 2011 to take up a lectureship in Human Geography.

Broad research specialisms:

History and philosophy of geographical thought; Geographies of death, absence and finitude; Cultural geographies of literature and visuality.



BSc (University of Bristol)
MSc (University of Bristol)
PhD (University of Bristol)

Office Hours (Term 3)

Week 2: Tues. 7th May 11-12 (online, Teams); Wed. 8th May 10-11

Week 3: Tues. 14th May 11-12 (online, Teams); Thurs. 16th May 9-10

Week 4: Wed. 22nd May 1-2 (online, Teams); Fri. 24th May 10-11

Week 5: Tues. 28th 10-11 (online, Teams); Fri. 31st 1:30-2:30

Week 6: Mon. 3rd June 10-11; Wed. 5th June 12-1

Week 7: Mon. 10th June 10-11 (online, Teams); Wed. 12th June 2-3

Held in Office Amory 415, or Online/Teams, no bookings required. 

Research group links

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Research interests

Geographies of death, absence and finitude

A large part of my doctoral research centred on developing a agenda on the notion of finitude. The thesis, Experiences of Finitude: Spatiality as Communication after Georges Bataille and Alain Robbe-Grillet, argued for the value of thinking about finitude in the following terms: addressing the phenomenological basis of spatiality; exploring the senses and limits of communication and representation; questioning anthropocentric perspectives and divisions between the human and nonhuman; conceptualisations of inter-subjectivity and the ethical relation; reflecting on absence, mourning, memory and compassion; and developing an environmental ethics that addresses the phenomenon of extinction and conceptualisations of a finite earth.

Cultural geographies of literature and visuality 
My research interests in the field of literary geographies stem from my doctoral research where I explored the work of two modernist French authors, Georges Bataille and Alain Robbe-Grillet. I used their work to affirm the value of literature in questioning a range of geographical concepts such as landscape, place and spatiality, and in disrupting habitual approaches to text, context and representation. I have published in Environment and Planning D: Society and Space on aspects of this research, exploring the literary landscapes of Alain Robbe-Grillet. I have recently developed a paper on Louis-Ferdinand Céline that explores his groundbreaking work Journey to the End of the Night in the context of the geographies of modernity. I am also interested in the geographical function of images in constituting and shaping particular cultural geographies.  My third year undergraduate module, Images of the Earth, draws upon this research interest and concentrates on how different visualizations of the earth (from cartography and aerial photography, to landscape perspectives and documentary film), mediate and configure understandings of space, nature, territory and world.

History and philosophy of geographical thought
I have a broad interest in the interactions between philosophy and geographical thought. This interest ranges from the historical development of phenomenological approaches in human geography, to the Swedish geography of Gunnar Olsson and Torsten Hägerstrand and their respective approaches to questions of representation and spatial agency. I am particularly interested in the role of continental philosophy in advancing the intellectual agendas of contemporary human geography – found, for example, in recent work on affect and performance, new political subjectivities, geo-philosophy, and attempts to re-theorize and address matter and the non-human. In this context, I have a longstanding interest in spatial theory and continental philosophy, and the relations between phenomenology and post-structuralism. I am particularly interested in the spatial implications of authors such as Martin Heidegger, Alexandre Kojève, Georges Bataille, Michel Foucault, Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze and Jean-Luc Nancy. 

Recent conference and seminar activity:

‘On the place of the Anthropocene in contemporary philosophical thought’ Centre for Environmental Arts and Humanities Launch and Symposium, Environment and Sustainability Institute, University of Exeter Penryn Campus 11-12 September 2013.

 ‘Geology as a shock to thought: speculative realism and the naturalist turn in the image of humankind’ presented in ‘Re-evaluating the Anthropocene, Resituating ‘Anthropos’’, session at the Association of American Geographers, Los Angeles April 2013.

 ‘Herzog’s ridiculous sublime: landscape, appearance and evidence in the ‘natural documentary’ films of Werner Herzog’, presented in the Literary and visual landscapes interdisciplinary seminar series, Faculty of Arts, University of Bristol, 11 March 2013.

‘Nihilism and Modernity: Céline’s Journey to the End of the Night’, presented at Literary Dynamism of Place: Crossing, Settling, Circulation, Ustinov College, Durham University, 8th - 9th, April, 2011

‘Geography, death and finitude’, departmental seminar presented at the Department of Geography, Durham University, 16th March, 2011

Research Groups:

I am a member of the department’s Geographies of Creativity and Knowledge research group, and the Natures, Materialities and Biopolitics research group. I am also a member of the History and Philosophy of Geography Research Group (RGS-IBG).

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Journal articles

Dekeyser T, Secor A, Rose M, Bissell D, Zhang V, Romanillos JL (2022). Negativity: space, politics and affects. Cultural Geographies, 29(1), 5-21. Abstract.
Romanillos JL (2015). GO: on the Geographies of Gunnar Olsson, Book Review. Geographica Helvetica, 70, 161-163.
Romanillos JL (2015). Nihilism and modernity: Louis-Ferdinand Céline's Journey to the end of the night. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 40(1), 128-139. Abstract.
Romanillos JL (2014). Mortal Questions: Geographies on the other side of life. Progress in Human Geography: an international review of geographical work in the social sciences and humanities
Romanillos JL (2013). Rethinking the Power of Maps. TIJDSCHRIFT VOOR ECONOMISCHE EN SOCIALE GEOGRAFIE, 104(1), 123-126.  Author URL.
Romanillos JL (2011). Geography, death and finitude. Environment and Planning A, 43(11), 2533-2553.
Romanillos JL (2011). Influences of the Imagined: Robbe-Grillet and Jealousy. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 29(3), 558-559.
Ash JN, Romanillos JL, Trigg M (2009). Videogames, visuality and screens: Reconstructing the Amazon in physical geographical knowledge. Area, 41(4), 464-474. Abstract.
Romanillos JL (2008). "Outside, it is snowing": Experience and finitude in the nonrepresentational landscapes of Alain Robbe-Grillet. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 26(5), 795-822. Abstract.
Romanillos JL (2008). Bataille's peak: energy, religion, and postsustainability. ENVIRONMENT AND PLANNING D-SOCIETY & SPACE, 26(6), 1131-1132.  Author URL.


Romanillos JL, Beaumont J, Sen M (2012). State-Religion relations and welfare-regimes in Europe. In Beaumont J, Cloke P, Vranken J (Eds.) Faith, Welfare and Exclusion in European Cities: the FBO Phenomenon, the Policy Press, 37-58.
Romanillos JL (2010). Literature, Geography and. In Warf B (Ed) Encyclopedia of Geography, Sage Publications, Inc.

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External Engagement and Impact

Awards/Honorary fellowships

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Invited lectures & workshops

Invited lectures:

Panel member for On Peter Sloterdijk, Geography, Spheres and Beyond, 2013 AAG Annual Meeting, Los Angeles

Paper presented in the interdisiplinary seminar series Literary and Visual Landscapes: ‘Herzog’s ridiculous sublime: landscape, appearance and evidence in the ‘natural documentary’ films of Werner Herzog', at the University of Bristol, March 11th 2013

Paper presented at Literary Dynamism of Place: Crossing, Settling Circulation, Ustinov College, Durham University, April 9th 2011

Paper presented on 'Geography, death and finitude' in the departmental seminar series at the Deparment of Geography, Durham University, March 17th 2011

Conference sessions convened:

Double session on Geography and Literature, convened at the 2008 AAG Annual Meeting, Boston

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Undergraduate modules:

  • GEO1105 Place, Identity & Culture
  • GEO2308 Level 2 Undergraduate Field Class (Berlin)
  • GEO2311 Ideas in Geography
  • GEO3101 Dissertation in Geography
  • GEO3129 Images of the Earth (Convenor)

Postgraduate modules:

  • GEOM106A Contemporary Debates in Human Geography (Convenor)
  • GEOM130 Geogaphies of Culture, Creativity and Practice



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Supervision / Group

Postgraduate researchers

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Office Hours:

Held in Office, Amory 415. No booking required, for dates and times see below.

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