Dr Angharad Closs Stephens
Senior Lecturer
Telephone: (01792) 606287
Room: Academic Office - 207
Second Floor
Wallace Building
Singleton Campus

I am a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at Swansea University and before moving here in January 2016, I was Senior Lecturer (2015-16) and Lecturer (2007-2015) in the Geography Department at Durham University. I specialise in Political and Cultural Geographies. I have a PhD (2008) and MRes (2003, Distinction) in International Relations from Keele University, a Masters Degree in Gender Studies from the London School of Economics (2002, Distinction) and BSc in Political Studies from Aberystwyth University (2001, First Class Honours). I am the author of The Persistence of Nationalism: from imagined communities to urban encounters (Routledge, 2013), the co-editor of Terrorism and the Politics of Response, and I have published articles in leading journals including Cultural Geographies, International Political Sociology, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, Citizenship Studies and Alternatives: Global, Local, Political. I have presented my work across the UK and Europe as well as in the US, Kenya and Japan. I am Assistant Editor for the journal, Citizenship Studies

Areas of Expertise

  • Nationality and Nationalism
  • Affect and atmosphere
  • Political geographies
  • Cultural geographies
  • Politics of security identity and terror


  1. Feeling “Brexit”: Nationalism and the Affective Politics of Movement. GeoHumanities, 1-19.
  2. Symud Ty. O'r Pedwar Gwynt 9
  3. (2018). Book Review: Reading Debbie Lisle's 'Holidays in the Danger Zone' (University of Minnesota Press, 2016). (Political Geography No. 66).
  4. Mae angen mwy o farddoniaeth. O'r Pedwar Gwynt
  5. & Atmospheric memories: Affect and minor politics at the ten-year anniversary of the London bombings. Emotion, Space and Society 23, 44-51.

See more...


  • GEG263A Conducting Social Research - Methods

    The module covers research project design and data collection methods. Students are introduced to the availability of different data sources and to the predominant research methods in human geography and the social sciences, including questionnaire surveys, secondary data sources, focus groups, interviews, participant observation and ethnography, and visual and textual methodologies.

  • GEG268 Dissertation Preparation

    The module prepares students for their independent research dissertation through dissertation fairs, lectures and a series of tutorials focusing upon the formulation and construction of a research proposal. The module also includes three lectures which explore career opportunities for Geography graduates and skills to enhance graduate employability.

  • GEG331 Dissertation Report: Geography

    The dissertation is an original, substantive and independent research project in an aspect of Geography. It is typically based on approximately 20 - 25 days of primary research and several weeks of analysis and write-up. The end result must be less than 10,000 words of text. The dissertation offers you the chance to follow your personal interests and to demonstrate your capabilities as a Geographer. During the course of your dissertation you will be supported by a student-led discussion group and a staff supervisor, and you will also provide constructive criticism to fellow students undertaking related research projects, learning from their research problems and subsequent solutions. This support and supervision is delivered through the 'Dissertation Support' module, which is a co-requisite.

  • GEG332 Dissertation Support: Geography

    This module provides structured, student-led peer-group support and academic staff group supervision for students undertaking the 30-credit 'Dissertation Report: Geography' module. This support and supervision is assessed through the submission of a PowerPoint Poster in TB1 and the submission in TB2 of an individually composed, critical and reflective log of the 5 dissertation peer-group meetings and the 4 group supervisory meetings (with a verified record of attendance at meetings). Working within a supervised Student Peer Group, you will also have the opportunity to provide constructive criticism to fellow students undertaking related research projects, learning from their research problems and subsequent solutions. This module complements the 'Dissertation Report: Geography' module, which is a co-requisite.


  • The Taste of Austerity: exploring food insecurity in Bristol (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Prof Marcus Doel
  • Tracking the Anonymous: An Exploration of Contemporary Biometric Technologies and the Reality of Refugee Experiences When Claiming Asylum Versus the Perceptions of the British Population. A Mixed Methods Approach (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Martina Tazzioli
  • From City to Nation of Sanctuary: Examining the Political Geographies of Citizenship and Hospitality (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Martina Tazzioli
    Other supervisor: Prof Marcus Doel
  • Remembering tear gas use over the last 100 years. (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Prof Marcus Doel
  • Understanding Statelessness / Experiencing Statelessness in the UK (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Amanda Rogers
  • Comparing attitudes to community, self and the other among youth in rural Pembrokeshire and ethnic Somaliland youth in Bute Town Cardiff (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Keith Halfacree
  • The Development Of Dementia Supportive Communities In Wales (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Charles Musselwhite
  • A study of Brexit views and the young people of Manchester (awarded 2019)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Dr Martina Tazzioli

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Chair of the Athena SWAN Committee - Geography

    2016 - Present

More about me

My interdisciplinary training informs both my research and teaching work. I have summarised my research and teaching interests into six key themes below. My teaching is very much informed by my research, by what I’m reading and working on at the time, as well as by events unfolding in the world around us. I find working with students extremely valuable in helping me develop other ways of seeing the world and in reminding me of what is at stake politically. I am responsible for the Political Geographies course at Swansea University Geography Department and a member of the teaching team for the Berlin fieldtrip. If you would like to  attend a class as an auditor, please get in touch by email. If you are a former student of mine enquiring about a reference, please make sure that you send me a full CV including academic results for particular courses.  

You can access my publications via ‘Cronfa’ (Swansea University’s Research Repository); www.academia.edu or by emailing me. You can follow me on twitter via @angharadcloss

Research and teaching themes:

The Politics of Nationalism

I have a longstanding interest in trying to understand the dynamics, histories and geographies of nationalism. My book unpacks what I describe as a ‘nationalist imaginary’ and its persistence in framing how we read and engage with the political world. Using examples from the political landscape of the War on Terror and various attempts at confronting the imaginative geographies of ‘us’ and ‘them’, it offers a study of the difficulties of thinking beyond nationalism. 

The Politics of Affect and Atmospheres

More recently, I have been engaging the question of nationalism by drawing on literatures in cultural and feminist studies, the politics of emotion, and human geography on affects, moods and atmospheres with the aim of asking how we experience nationality as a set of feelings circling in the air. I am particularly interested in how national affects become heightened in times of ‘crisis’ or through particular events. I have developed this work through an article on the London 2012 Olympic Games titled ‘The Affective Atmospheres of Nationalism’

Citizenship and the politics of crisis

I have an interest in examining political responses to ‘terrorist’ events across Europe, and in particular, how nationalist and cosmopolitan discourses, as well as ideas about strangers and foreigners circulate through such events.  This work began with an article responding to the London bombings on 7 July 2005, a co-edited book titled Terrorism and the Politics of Response with Dr Nick Vaughan-Williams and has recently included writing on the 10 year anniversary of those events. I convened a series of responses to the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris on 7 January 2015, bringing scholarly insights to this contemporary political event.  

Citizenship and cities 

I find writings about cities and the urban experience – both creative and academic – extremely fruitful in presenting us with alternative ways of thinking about political community and subjectivity – through their emphasis on cosmopolitanism and living with strangers. I have drawn on such ideas in writing about London, New York and Berlin.  Most recently, I have written a short article titled: ‘Urban Atmospheres: Feeling like a city?’ for a forum titled ‘Global/Urban/Politics’ in International Political Sociology (March 2015) convened by Dr Jennifer Bagelman and Dr Delacey Tedesco.  

Geographical imaginations 

Questions of geographical imaginations are developed most fully in my book, and in a special issue of Environment and Planning D: Society and Space (2012) that I guest edited (with Dr Vicki Squire) on the subject of ‘Citizenship without Community’. I have experimented with other models for imagining political community e.g. through a web, through the site of the city, and as an ‘affective atmosphere’. I have contributed to the Welsh Dictionary of Key Concepts, Yr Esboniadur, on this topic – ‘Daearyddiaeth Dychmygedig’ (Imaginative Geographies). 

Creative geographies and social/spatial theory 

Across my work, I engage Political Geography through the realm of the creative arts including art installations, performance, films, novels and other creative writings. I feel that creative works often offer accounts of political change that are more attuned to the ambiguities and uncertainties of everyday experience. This is in contrast to the ways in which we are often taught Politics – as ‘decisions’, ‘actions’, ‘leadership’, and so on. In terms of social theory, at the moment I’m drawing on the works of Lauren Berlant, Kathleen Stewart, William Connolly and Achille Mbembe; I have a longstanding interest in the works of Judith Butler, Wendy Brown, Jean-Luc Nancy, Jacques Derrida and Homi Bhabha. At Durham University Geography Department, I convened the Politics-State-Space research cluster (2014-16). Previously, I was co-convenor of the British International Studies Association Poststructural Politics Working Group (2007-11). 

If you are interested in working on any of the above themes for a Masters by Research or a PhD, do get in touch. Swansea University Geography Department provides a collegiate and supportive environment for a research project and is situated within walking distance of good coffee and the sea! 

Rwy’n siarad Cymraeg ac yn gallu arolygu prosiectau ymchwil yn Gymraeg neu yn Saesneg. Mae gen i ddiddordeb mewn meddwl am sut mae termau ôl-strwythurol yn trosi i’r Gymraeg ac mewn datblygu iaith, geirfa a chystrawen i drin a thrafod Gwleidyddiaeth yn Gymraeg mewn ffyrdd newydd ac adfywiol.