The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Dr Lisa Garforth

Senior Lecturer in Sociology


I'm a senior lecturer at Newcastle where I research and teach on social theory, utopian studies, environmental/Anthropocene futures, science fiction and social imaginaries. I'm also interested in epistemic cultures and gender.

I'm currently Postgraduate Research Director for Sociology at Newcastle.


A central strand of my research for many years has been utopian and science fictional visions of better ways of living with nature in the context of wider social debates about environmental futures. My current focus is on how green futures in fiction, policy, public debate and the sociological imagination are shifting in response to climate change and the Anthropocene.  My recent book Green Utopias: Environmental Hope Before and After Nature (Polity 2017) explores some of these debates.

From 2016-18 I was PI for Newcastle on the 3-centre AHRC-funded project Unsettling Scientific Stories: Expertise, Narrative, and Future Histories which explored how people in different historical periods thought about and envisioned their futures over the course of the long technological twentieth-century and how they used fiction to imagine and explore, speculate and critique what science might bring.

I continue to work closely with Dr Miranda Iossifidis at Newcastle analysing data from that project on social practices of science fiction reading. Our study, Prospecting Futures phase 2, builds on the first phase of research conducted by Dr Amy Chambers. 

My research draws on resources from science fiction and utopian theory and STS as well as sociology and I'm increasingly interested in how sociology narrates and imagines possible and desirable futures; complicated presents; and how all this is shaped by ideas about the past.

I'm part of the Imagining Pasts and Futures sociology research cluster.


I teach the Stage 2 undergraduate module SOC2058 Understanding Social Change and Transformation and a Stage 3 option module SOC3078 Dreamworlds: Society and the Utopian Imagination. This year I'll also be offering the MA 10 credit module SOC8045 Sociology for the Anthropocene.