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Dr Stuart Oliver

Senior Lecturer

About Research

Stuart joined St Mary's in 1992 having worked previously as a journalist, visiting lecturer and Open University tutor. He had also worked as a researcher for the Municipality of Grassano in southern Italy.

His current teaching interests lie in the area of cultural geography and, in particular, in the cultural geography of nature. He teaches modules on Environment and Society and Culture and Landscape in the geography programme and also contributes to the Tourism programme.

Teaching modules 

  • Human Geography
  • Fieldwork
  • Communication and Academic Literacy
  • People and Places
  • Geographical Fieldwork
  • Dissertation
  • Environment and Society
  • Culture and Place
  • Research Essay


Stuart's research interests tie in closely with his main areas of teaching and learning in cultural geography and cultural studies. His research for his MPhil centred on looking into the political ecology of landslides in the Basilicata region of Italy. He has published widely on the subject of environmental hazards and political ecology of nature.

Stuart is currently working on a second book on the locks of the River Thames; the first having been published recently.  His work examines the role played by people in changing natural features such as rivers. The Thames provides an ideal example of a much-altered river; altered both for the improvement in life quality of the people living within its catchment and also following the whim of an individual. He is now researching the reasons why areas of marshland on the Essex coast are being abandoned to the sea.

Find out more about Stuart's research specialisms...

PhD supervision 

Stuart welcome’s PhD enquiries in the following areas:

  • Cultures of nature
  • Political ecology

Professional memberships

  • Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society

Honours and awards 

  • Joint proxime accessit, Gibb's Prize, 1984


  • Oliver S (2010) ‘Navigability and the improvement of the river Thames, 1605-1815’ The Geographical Journal 176, 164-77
  • Oliver S (2007) ‘Fantasies in granite: the Thames embankments as a boundary to the river’ Literary London 5(1) ( Accessed 14 June 2012
  • Oliver S (2006) ‘The desire to metabolize nature: Edward Loveden, William Vanderstegen, and the imposition of order on the river Thames’ in Heynen N, Kaika M and Swyngedouw E (eds) In the nature of cities: urban political ecology and the politics of urban metabolism (Routledge, Abingdon) 93-109
  • Oliver S (2003) ‘Geography’s difficult engagement with the psychological therapies’ Social and Cultural Geography 4, 313-21 
  • Oliver S (2002)a ‘“Chains on the River”: the Thames embankments and the construction of nature’ Historical Geography Research Group 
  • Oliver S (2002)b ‘“Rich earth below the sand” and the origins of the Thames Embankments’ Reconstruction 2(3) ( Accessed 14 June 2012
  • Oliver S (2000) ‘The Thames Embankment and the disciplining of nature in modernity’ The Geographical Journal 166, 227-38 
  • Oliver S (1999) ‘The causes of erosive land degradation in the Basilicata region of Italy’ Geography 84, 331-44 
  • Guyer C, Hedges P, Oliver S and Watson N (1997) Environmental hazards (University of Leicester, Leicester)
  • Oliver S (1994) ‘The political ecology of deforestation: the case of the Basilicata region of Italy’ Environmental Conservation 21, 72-5
  • Oliver S (1993) ‘Twentieth century urban landslides in the Basilicata region of Italy’ Environmental Management 17, 433-44