Professor Carl Griffin
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A historical geographer by training and a historian by inclination, I am first and foremost a scholar of our rural pasts. Inspired by ‘from below’ methodologies and politics, my research is concerned with attempting to understand how the dislocations caused by rapid capitalist change on the eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century British countryside, socially, politically, and environmentally, impacted rural workers. I’m best known for my work on popular protest but my research has also considered crime and criminality, changing human-animal and human-plant relations, forest history, and histories of political economy. I’m currently working on a history of rural squatting that considers plebeian encroachments on commons and wastes that challenges dominant accounts of enclosure as always enacted by the (already) rich against the poor. A further longstanding project examines the environmental lives of rural workers, with work ongoing on labouring relations with the soil, in particular.
I have a longstanding collaborative relationship with the Centre for History’s Dr Iain Robertson. Together our work has focused on vernacular environment knowledges and ethics, and cultures of criminality. We are currently working together on a paper that seeks to (re)conceptualise what happens after moments of protest, a concept we call the afterlives of protest. At UHI, I have been delighted to give several seminars and papers since 2016 and regularly contribute guest lectures to Dr Robertson’s modules. Looking to a post-pandemic future, I’m looking forward to spending more time in the Centre for History, furthering my collaboration with Iain and deepening my links with the wider Centre.
Recent books include Remembering Protest in Britain Since 1500: Memory, Materiality and the Landscape (with Briony McDonagh, 2018); Moral Ecologies: Histories of Conservation, Dispossession and Resistance (with Roy Jones and Iain Robertson, 2019), and The Politics of Hunger: Protest, Poverty and Policy in England, c. 1750–c. 1850 (2020).