Dr Diana Beljaars

Dr Diana Beljaars

Research Officer, Geography
Academic Office - 210
Second Floor
Wallace Building
Singleton Campus

About

I am interested in questions on the relations between the body and the environment as mediated through experience. I approach such questions by considering the different rationalities at work in performance and extend those to the sociomaterial worlds in which it takes place. I particular, I examine them through the concept of compulsivity, which is a pathologised form of action that cannot be explained entirely by social, psychological or biological processes. 

My work situates on the intersections of cultural, health, and disability geography, the medical humanities, continental philosophy, and the neuropsychiatric and psychological sciences of Tourette syndrome. Unpicking the ways in which experience is constructed through a postphenomenological lens, it contributes to posthumanist efforts to understand human action as ecologically constituted. Employing qualitative methodologies, and working with mobile eye-tracking, my work introduces critical social scientific approaches to the study of Tourette syndrome.

For my Doctoral research (2014-2018 - Cardiff University) I worked closely with people with Tourette syndrome, who perform compulsive acts compelled by a sensory urge. And the (extended) ESRC Postdoctoral Research Fellowship (2019-2021 - Swansea University) allowed me to turn the outcomes into a book and extend the theory to better understand the perceptions and experiences of people with dementia. 

My monograph Compulsive Body Spaces is currently in press with Routledge and will be published in the winter.

___________________

Currently, I'm a Research Officer on the EU-funded 3-year project 'COVINFORM'. I work with Professor Sergei Shubin (Geography) and Professor Louise Condon (Nursing) as part of the Swansea-based team to develop a case study to understand how certain groups in Wales have been more vulnerable to COVID-19 infection, illness, and death than others. With a BAME focus, we are planning to work with Gypsy and Roma Travellers in Wales, migrant nurses in South Wales hospitals, and people with learning disabilities in Wales.

___________________

In the Geography Department I have taught urban, political, and health geography (UG) and qualitative social scientific research methods (PG).

Areas Of Expertise

  • Cultural & Urban, Disability & Health geography
  • Posthumanism & Post-phenomenology
  • Performativity, practices & embodiment
  • Compulsion, Mental Health & Tourette Syndrome
  • Interdisciplinarity & knowledge construction in the life sciences
  • Mobile eye-tracking

Career Highlights

Research

I am a cultural, health, and disability geographer and bring in the medical humanities, continental philosophy, and the neurosciences, psychiatry, and psychology. 

My work focuses on the concept, construction, and lived experience of compulsion and Tourette syndrome, as well as its problematisation, pathologisation, and medicalisation in Western societies. For my analysis I employ qualitative methods, and explore mobile eye-tracking technology as research methodology and urban surveillance technique.

I most notably draw on nonrepresentational theory in cultural geography, in particular to (post)phenomenological and posthumanist approaches to the spatialities of the body, and work most closely with the works of Lingis, Manning, Grosz, Bennett, Deleuze, Guattari, Bergson, and Canguilhem.

Award Highlights Collaborations