James Lowder

Email: j.lowder.1@research.gla.ac.uk

Research title: Cosmographies for an Anthropocene: Of Stars, Dust and Ruination

Research Summary

My current research considers the material and cultural relations humans have with outer space in the Anthropocene, while also considering how these relations could evolve in the near and far future. This includes reflecting upon cultural depictions of outer space and the influence of cosmic forces on the Earth. In particular, this work considers the textual analysis of film, the embodied experiences of stargazing and the tracing of falling meteorites. On a more theoretical level, my research aims to reflect upon geographical understandings of finitude and entropy, considering issues like the eventual death of the Sun and the evaporation of the universe. 


  • Lowder, J. (2019) Less is More?: Investigating Tiny Homes as a Sustainable Housing Alternative. [X]position.


  • February 2021: I presented a paper titled Off-Earth Resource Extraction: A Critical Engagement with Perspectives from Popular Science at the Commons in Space online conference held by the International Association for the Study of the Commons.
  • March 2021: I presented a paper titled The Anthropocene and Afterwards: Planetary Ruination and Posthuman Extinction in the Future Histories of Olaf Stapledon at the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts’ Climate Change and the Anthropocene online conference.
  • March 2022: I presented an online paper titled "Mankind was born on Earth, it was never meant to die here": Investigating Anthropocene Cosmographies and Off-Earth Encounters in Sunshine and Interstellar at the American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting 2022as part of the 'Un-earthing the Environmental Humanities' session.
  • April 2022: I presented a paper titled "There’s so much more to discover before the world ends”: Walking Through Ruins and Encountering Entropy in Horizon Zero Dawn at Glasgow International Fantasy Conversations (GifCon), as part of the 'Moving Through Virtual Worlds' panel. The conference was held online by the University of Glasgow's Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic, and was orientated around the theme of 'Fantasy Across Media'.
  • July 2022: I presented a paper titled Exhausted Earths of the Anthropocene: Unpacking Ruination in the Far Futures of the Dying Earth Subgenre at the Once and Future Fantasies Conference, presenting as part of the 'Beyond the End' panel. The conference was held in-person at the University of Glasgow and was organised by the Centre for Fantasy and the Fantastic, and co-sponsored by the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts.
  • August 2022: I presented at the Royal Geographical Society Annual Conference, held in-person at the University of Newcastle. The paper was titled Speculative Geographies of the Far Future: Planetary Ruination in the Dying Earth Subgenre and was part of the 'Spatialities of Speculative Fiction' session.  
  • October 2022: Presented a paper titled The Intimate and the Inhuman in Makoto Shinkai's Your Name  as part of the 'Anime Inhumans' panel at the International Association of the Fantastic in the Arts' first virtual conference. The talk discussed themes around love and the inhuman in the Japanese film Your Name.


2021: GES summer school tutor for Geohumanities sessions where I designed and delivered a segment titled 'Cityscapes in Science Fiction Film: Utopia or Dystopia?'.

2022: Experience as a Geography level 2 qualitative labs demonstrator. I also worked as a GES summer school tutor, helping to deliver the International Development and Geohumanities sessions. Worked as a tutor for Level 1 and 2 Geography.