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 and also Postgraduate Research Director for the School of GPS as a whole.


How can we live better with nature? What would a good environmental future look and feel like? My research explores social thinking about green futures in fiction, policy, public debate and the sociological imagination and how it is changing 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 a co-Investigator on the AHRC-funded project Unsettling Scientific Stories: Expertise, Narrative, and Future Histories . We explored how people in different historical periods envisioned their futures over 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 with Dr Miranda Iossifidis on 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 studies, utopian theory and STS as well as sociology.  

I'm currently leading the Imagining Pasts and Futures Sociology research cluster.


For 2019-20 I am teaching my Stage 3 option module SOC3078 Dreamworlds: Society and the Utopian Imagination.