Portrait of Professor Karen Jones

Professor Karen Jones

Professor of Environmental and Cultural History
Director of the Centre for the Study of Health, Science, and Environment


Professor Karen Jones earned her doctorate from the University of Bristol, and worked as a teaching fellow at the University of Essex, before arriving at Kent in 2004. 

Her areas of expertise lie in environmental and cultural history; historical geography; spatial studies and human-animal relations.

Research interests

Karen is an enthusiastic supporter of environmental history, landscape history and animal studies. Her books include Wolf Mountains: The History of Wolves Along the Great Divide (2002) – a comparative study of the biology, mythology and culture surrounding wolves in national parks in the Rockies  – and The Invention of the Park (2005), a survey of the park idea from the Garden of Eden to British landscape parks and beyond. 

Karen was awarded the James Bradley Fellowship at the Montana Historical Society (2004-5) for her research on hunting and conservation in late 19th-century Montana. She earned fellowships at the Autry Museum, Los Angeles (2012) and the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody (2013) for projects on horses and war in the 19th century and on taxidermy and the 'afterlife' of hunting animals. 

Co-author of a post-revisionist monograph on the American West (The American West: Competing Visions, 2009), she explored the popular appeal of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, cowboy mythology, women on the frontier, and the conservation movement. 

Since then, she has published on national parks and transnational nature conservation (Civilizing Nature (2012)), co-edited a collection on guns and empire in the nineteenth century (A Cultural History of Firearms in the Age of Empire (2013)), and written on hunting and photography (Wild Things: Nature and the Social Imagination (2013)). Karen’s latest monograph – Epiphany in the Wilderness: Hunting, Nature and Performance in the American West (University Press of Colorado, 2015) – looks at the environmental and cultural imprint of hunting on the western frontier, with particular focus on animal encounter, ritual and storytelling, and gender tropes and transgressions. Her forthcoming book, Calamity: The Many Lives of Calamity Jane, will be published by Yale University Press in 2020. 

Her current research interests include hunting, taxidermy and the interior ecologies of animal display (with Quex Park) and city parks: histories of health, space, and wellbeing in the urban metabolic landscape (funded by the Wellcome Trust).


Karen teaches on environmental and social history in modern Britain and on global animal history.


Karen is interested in supervising postgraduates who want to work on any aspect of environmental history or animal studies. 


Always eager to find a reason to talk about animals, green spaces and landscape stories, Karen has worked with various public and media organisations, from Parks Canada to the BBC. She is the editor of the journal Environment and History

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