Miss Carlotta Molfese

Miss Carlotta Molfese

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences (Faculty of Science and Engineering)

PhD Student in Human Geography and scholar-activist.

PhD working title: Going back-to-the-land in the Anthropocene: a scholar-activist journey through more-than-human anarchist geographies

My PhD looks at the back-to-the-land movement as a radical social movement of individuals and group of people that have chosen to adopt a primarily agrarian lifestyle as a political choice, as a way to challenge and confront some of the social and ecological injustices arising from a globalized, industrial food system and a capitalist modernity. It focuses on their agricultural practices, alternative domesticities and wider networks of relations (e.g. Alternative Food Markets) to explore the ways in which theses ‘radical peasants’ resist capitalist ways of being and doing and create alternatives pathways to sustainability. However, it aims to do so by employing post-humanist theories that take the relational agency of non-human nature seriously in order to start conceptualizing practices of resistance and activism in "more-than-human" terms.

As a back-to-the-land farmer myself, the project employs a scholar-activist perspective to consider the messy and everyday realities of these bottom-up "green initiatives", and pays particular attention to the politics and ethics of more-than-human co-existence and resistance on back-to-the-land farms and associated sites.

First Supervisor (DoS): Dr Kim Ward
Second Supervisor: Dr Paul Simpson
Third Supervisor: Prof Geoff Wilson


PhD Candidate in Human Geography with 1+3 ESRC scholarship, Plymouth University 2017-2021

MSc Human Geography Research, Plymouth University, 2017-2018 (Distinction)

MSc Sustainable Environmental Management, Plymouth University, 2015-2016 (Distinction)

BSc Marine Biology and Oceanography, Plymouth University, 2010-2013 (First)

Research interests

Active research interests: Social movements (particularly rural/peasant movements), environmental policy and politics, political ecology, plant and more-than-human geographies, agriculture and farming, anarchism.

Other research

Before embarking on my post-graduate journey in human geography, I specialised in human impacts on the marine environment with a particular interest in fisheries, aquaculture and marine ecosystems change over time. 

Grants & contracts

Economic and Social Research Council 1+3 scholarship at Plymouth University


Molfese C, Beare D, Hall-Spencer JM (2014) Overfishing and the Replacement of Demersal Finfish by Shellfish: An Example from the English Channel. PLoS ONE 9(7): e101506. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0101506

Other Publications

Molfese C. (2017) "The political ecology of hemp (Cannabis sativa): discourses of multifunctionality and 'semi-legal' practices in Italian agriculture" Unpublished MSc Dissertation, Plymouth University

Molfese C. (2016) "Traveling folk and nature: a visual narrative of a counter-cultural reality". Unpublished MSc Dissertation, Plymouth University

Reports & invited lectures

RGS-IBG 2019 Conference, paper presented at the session Environmental and Ecological Justice: Anarchist Contributions and Perspectives, entitled "The end of Nature and Politics in the Anthropocene: anarchist traces and possibilities".

Additional information

While I conduct my PhD research, I also help co-manage a small-scale ecological restoration and farming project in the South of Italy with my partner. Our more-than-farming project "Niter" has been built on principles of agroecology/permaculture, energy and water self-sufficiency and what I call "ecological mutual aid". Hence, unlike the focus of organic farms and practices on 'bio' and non-human entities generally understood as "living", we extend our efforts to ecological relationships between bio and geo, including soils, energy and water.