Dr. Mary Benbow
Department of Environment and Geography
Senior Fellow, St. John's College
235 St. John's College
92 Dysart Road
Ph.D. University of Liverpool (1991) Climate Modeling and GIS
BA (Hons) University of Liverpool (1986) Geography
The Geography of Tourism
Critical Cartographies (The Meaning of Maps)
Dr. Benbow's primary research interests focus upon the social, cultural, and environmental implications of zoos and aquariums. This research looks at how these cultural institutions affect human perceptions of animals and conservation that in turn impact how animals are managed. This forms part of a broader field “Animal Geographies” that looks at the multifaceted roles that animals play in our lives and seeks to illuminate the complex relationships between humans and animals. This has encompassed how zoos have developed as spaces and places including how they utilize the Internet and their role as public spaces. This further extends to work on zoo maps in the form of critical cartography in which zoo maps are examined as texts. Her work also includes the zoo as cultural landscape and its implications for family zoo visitors through photo elicitation, visitor attitudes and behaviors regarding climate change, and the analysis of overheard zoo visitor conversations and visitor behavior. Dr. Benbow's research has also been applied in a number of setting including as a member of the interpretive design team for Assiniboine Park Zoo's exhibit complex "Journey to Churchill".
Recent and Significant Publications
Bueddefeld, J. and Benbow, M., 2021, The Greening of Polar Bears: Lively Commodities in a Climate Change Economy, in “Working Animals of Tourism” (edited Jillian Rickly and Carol Kline Appstate)
Hallman, B. C. and Benbow, S. M. P., 2010, ‘Seeing if you can catch the one picture that just makes it’: Placeing Family Life Through Family Zoo Photography, pp. 10 – 30, in Hallman, B. C. (ed.) Family Geographies: The Spatiality of Families and Family Life, Oxford University Press (Don Mills, Ontario), 246 pp.
Benbow, S. M. P. and Hallman, B., 2008, Reading the Zoo Map: Cultural Heritage Insights from Popular Cartography, International Journal of Heritage Studies, 14(1), pp. 30 – 42. Invited Manuscript.
Hallman, B. C. and Benbow, S. M. P., 2007, Family Leisure, Photography and Zoos: Exploring the Emotional Geographies of Families, Social and Cultural Geography, 8(6), pp. 871 – 888.