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Dr Dave McLaughlin
Associate Lecturer in Human Geography and Environment



Dave's research uses more-than-representational approaches to understand the performative nature of literary reading and writing and its role in co-producing communities, identities and spaces. His publications include a forthcoming book and a number of scholarly articles in interdisciplinary literary geography and wider cultural geography. His book, Playing the game: Imaginative mobilities and practical adventures in the world of Sherlock Holmes, is to be published as part of Palgrave Macmillan's Mobilities, Literature and Culture series. It is based on his AHRC-funded PhD research. It explores the importance of mobility - of bodies, of readers' imaginations, and of texts - to the co-production of the 'world of Sherlock Holmes' and the expansion of this world beyond the pages of Doyle's texts and into new spaces where the boundaries between the 'actual' and the 'fictional' blur and break. Dave has published referred articles, editorials and book reviews in: Literary Geographiescultural geographiesTransfers; and contributed a chapter to Creating Heritage for Tourism, published by Routledge. Dave's work contributes to the development of interdisciplinary literary geography - a subject which combines research interests and practices from human geography and literary studies. He runs an annual Literary Geographies roundtable conference with Professor Sheila Hones from the University of Tokyo; and is a contributor to the Routledge Handbook of Literary Geography (forthcoming).

Dave is currently developing his work on more-than-representational approaches to reading and writing literature into a long-term research agenda which explores their community-creating and community-sustaining power. This research focuses on America's Appalachian region, particularly hikers on the Appalachian Trail, a 2,000-mile hiking route that runs along American's eastern seaboard from Georgia to Maine. This research runs across three strands. First, an exploration of the practical, more-than-representational role of texts and images in creating community and identity among hikers on the Appalachian Trail (known as the 'AT'). Secondly, an examination of the ways in which AT hikers' online journals are changing how we think about landscape writing; and thirdly, a project to digitally map the multifaceted spaces produced by AT hikers' online writings. The longer-term goals of his research focus on investigating the lessons that AT hikers' digital writings, about an ecologically important and culturally-charged landscape, teach us about the power of writing and digital tools to help us live with, and relate to, changing environments in the Anthropocene.

Prior to joining the university, Dave was a Teaching Fellow in Human Geography at the University of Reading.  He taught in the Department of Social and Political Science at Brunel University. Dave was awarded a PhD in geography from the University of Cambridge, in 2018, with a thesis called Mobile Holmes: Sherlockiana, travel writing and the co-production of the Sherlock Holmes stories. Before starting his PhD, Dave worked for The Queen's Private Secretary in Buckingham Palace, for the Confederation of British Industry and as a Parliamentary researcher for the late Sir Stuart Bell MP.

Dave is also an assistant editor for literary reviews for Transfers, has edited three special sections of the journal Literary Geographies, and regularly acts as a reviewer for a range of academic journals.

In 2016, Dave was awarded the Bryce L. Crawford Memorial Essay Prize by the Norweigian Explorers of Minnesota, a Sherlock Holmes fan society based in Minneapolis.


Selected publications

  • McLaughlin, D. (2016) The game’s afoot: walking as practice in Sherlockian literary geographies. Literary Geographies, 2 (2). pp. 144-163. ISSN 2397-1797 (special issue 'The Work and the World: Mobilities and Literary Space')


  • In preparation – The game is afoot: Mobile geographies of fictional encounters. Palgrave Macmillan (Mobilities, Literature and Culture).

Book Chapters

  • In preparation – The Nineteenth Century in Alexander, N. and Cooper, D. (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Literary Geography. Abingdon: Routledge.
  • Readers, tourism and the making of Sherlock Holmes’s England. In Palmer, C. and Tivers, J. (eds.) Creating Heritage for Tourism. (2019) Abingdon: Routledge. pp.89-100.

Edited Special Issues

  • Collaborative Spaces: Ideas from the Cambridge Literary Geographies Conference 2018. Literary Geographies. 5(1) (2019) pp.1-20.
  • Thinking (about Literary) Spaces: Ideas from the Cambridge Literary Geographies Conference. (ed.) Literary Geographies 4(1) (2018) pp.1-65.
  • The Work and the World: Mobilities and Literary Space. (ed.) Literary Geographies 2(2) (2016) pp. 122-199.

Refereed articles

  • In preparation – Appalachian hikers journals: new directions in digital landscape writing. (submit to Transfers 15.12.2020).
  • The role of texts in community and identity formation among Appalachian Trail hikers. Social and Cultural Geography. (Submitted 20.08.2020)
  • The affective creativity of literary mappings. cultural geographies. (Submitted 30.04.2020)
  • Walking as practice in Sherlockian literary geographies. Literary Geographies 2(2) (2016) pp. 144-163.

Review Articles and Editorials

  • Tim Cresswell (2019) Maxwell Street: Writing and Thinking Place. cultural geographies. (2020 - in press).
  • Robert Macfarlane (2019) Underland: A deep time journey. Literary Geographies, 6(1) (2020) pp.138-140.
  • Melissa Harrison (2016) Rain: Four Walks in English Weather. Transfers. (2020 – in press)
  • Teaching Literary Geographies in British Classrooms. Literary Geographies, 4(1) (2018) pp.57-61.
  • Literary Geographies: Narrative Space in Let the Great World Spin by Sheila Hones. Palgrave MacMillan. (2016) Literary Geographies 2(1) pp.114-117.

Editorial Positions

  • Book Reviews Editor. Social and Cultural Geography (October 2020 – Present)
  • Associate Editor for Literary Reviews. Transfers. (2019-Present)
  • Peer reviewer: Space and Culture, cultural geographies, Literary Geographies, Journal of Popular Television

Contact details

Dr Dave McLaughlin
Associate Lecturer in Human Geography and Environment
Department of Environment and Geography
University of York
YO10 5NG