Dr Catherine Oliver

BA, MSci, PhD

Postdoctoral Affiliate

College Roles

  • Postdoctoral Affiliate

University Roles

  • Research Associate, Department of Geography


Email: co419@cam.ac.uk


Dr Catherine Oliver studied geography at the University of Birmingham at undergraduate, masters and doctoral level. During her undergraduate and master’s study, Dr Oliver became interested in environmental and animal geographies, leading to her PhD research on vegan geographies working with Dr Patricia Noxolo and Dr Dominique Moran. In 2016-2017, Dr Oliver undertook a prestigious placement at The British Library on their PhD placement scheme, working with Dr Polly Russell, Gill Ridgeley, and Jonathan Pledge in the archives of animal activist Richard D Ryder. Dr Oliver is currently a postdoctoral research associate, working with Dr Maan Barua in the Department of Geography on an ERC-funded project on Urban Ecologies. In 2021, Dr Oliver also became one of the Royal Geographical Society/Wiley Digital Archive’s inaugural research fellows, researching the role of animals in geographical exploration over the last two centuries.

Research Interests

Dr Catherine Oliver is currently researching urban chicken-keeping in Britain. This research responds to changing demands on food systems, ecologies, and urban space, seeking to understand how non-human life is governed and regulated in cities. Dr Oliver is interested in the lives of urban chickens and their keepers, but also the geographies of ex-commercial chickens, specialist chicken breeding, and the economies emerging around domestic chickens.

More broadly, Dr Oliver is interested in understanding and critiquing human relationships with animals and the non-human world by developing a vegan geographical perspective. Dr Oliver’s first monograph, ‘Veganism, Archives, and Animals’ is forthcoming with Routledge Books in August 2021. The book provides a unique and timely contribution to debates within animal geographies, providing novel insights into the complexities of caring beyond the human. Her work on animals is also published in journals such as Emotion, Space, and Society; Area; and Animal Studies Journal.

Outside of her work with animals, Dr Oliver is also interested in feminist geographies, applied in her work on the geographies of friendship and critical university studies. She has been co-authoring work (with Dr Amelia Morris, University of Law) on academic conferences as microcosms of the neoliberal ideals of higher education and exploring how ‘friendship’ is co-opted into these models. Dr Oliver’s co-authored work has been published in Gender, Place, and Culture journal.