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Cambridge AHRC Doctoral Training Partnership - Student Profiles



I completed both my undergraduate degree in Geography (2017, first class) and my MPhil in Geographical Research (2018, distinction) here at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. My undergraduate dissertation 'Morals and Mignonette, or, The Use of Flowers in the Moral Regulation of Women, Children, and the Working Classes in Late-Victorian London' was awarded the Royal Geographical Society's HGRG undergraduate dissertation prize, and went on to directly inform my postgraduate work. 

My PhD research broadly examines the relations between humans and plants, focusing on the unique interactions between the Victorians and their flowers. Grounded in the relatively new interdisciplinary realm of Critical Plant Studies, my work centres the plant in the analysis, asking what flowers did in the Victorian era. Through archival investigations into multiple different modes of human-flower interaction - from domestic floriculture on the windowsill to female botanical illustration and the transfer of British garden flowers to the colonies as part of 'civilising' missions - I hope to piece together a picture of how the Victorians philosophised plants, from which we might extract value in the interpretation of our own contemporary relations with plant nature. 

Other academic interests

Urban nature

Critical Plant Studies

History of the steel pan 

Geographies of music in postcolonial Trinidad and its diaspora

Digital archives and source materiality

Department: Geography
Supervisor: Dr Philip Howell
College: King's College
AHRC subject area: Historical Geography
Title of thesis: 'Botanical Biopolitics: The Sociopolitical Lives of Flowers in Victorian Britain'
 Anna M Lawrence