After graduating with a BA in Social and Political Sciences, Amanda turned to the civil service, working for the Welsh Office while John Redwood was in charge. This was ... interesting. Even more interesting, however, was attending Harvard University on a Henry Fellowship - because it was there that she realised that a) the history of science was an actual academic discipline, and b) that it was what she wanted to spend the rest of her life studying.
Supported by a British Academy studentship, Amanda returned to Cambridge to take her PhD in the History and Philosophy of Science, and shortly thereafter, a position at York. She has since published widely on the history of the field sciences, on the history and sociology of the relationship between humans and other animals, and on the history of prehistory.
Most recently, she has turned her attention to the history of the future. Mildly obsessed by science fiction from an early age, she still can't quite believe she is lucky enough to get paid to read stories and write about them. "
Amanda is especially interested in supervising doctoral students in any of the following research areas:
The sociology of the human/animal relation
- why has
the pet population expanded so immensely over the course of the 20th
century? What consequences will the tremendous growth in the numbers of
livestock animals have for the health of the human population? Why can
we see natural history documentaries on our televisions almost every
night of the week?
Doing field science
- how is it possible for
‘scientific knowledge’ to emerge from field sites? These places are
messy, unique, they have no boundaries, and no control can be exerted
over them – and yet, somehow, the operators of these sites manage to
elicit from them information that can be transformed into universal
truth. Who runs these sites? What are their characteristics? How does a
field site in the Amazon differ from one in the Arctic?
The public presentation of scientific knowledge
- how does ‘scientific’ information move from its creators to the general
publics? What impact does popular science have on ‘real’ science, and
how can we differentiate between the two?
The history of ‘natural history’
- or in other
words, the study of whole animals, their behaviour and ecology (in
contrast to the ‘gene’s-eye-view’ that dominated the 20 th century).
What contribution has the study of animal behaviour made to human
society and to sociology itself as a discipline?
Representations of science in fiction
- how have
authors used scientific knowledge in their narratives? How has science
fiction in particular contributed to the development of science itself?