Cristiana’s research interests span across social and cultural geographies of tourism and travel; landscape studies; postcolonial theory; religion and spiritual landscapes. She has been recently expanding her research interests to urban studies; children’s geographies and development geographies. She is particularly interested in questions of representation, practice and cultural negotiations, as well as issues of urban sustainability and everyday geographies, particularly in the context of mobilities. Her main empirical focus is India.
New Urbanisms in India: Urban Living, Sustainability and Everyday Life
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
University of Birmingham
Post-doctoral researcher (2014-2015)
- Dr Sophie Hadfield-Hill (PI) (University of Birmingham)
- Dr John Horton (Project Mentor) (University of Northampton)
- Dr Cristiana Zara (Research Associate) (University of Birmingham)
The project investigates the everyday experiences of children and their families living in new large scale developments in India. Current research into the lives of families in large scale, ‘walkable’, diverse, inclusive, sustainable spaces is lacking, particularly in the emerging market context. The research is predominantly qualitative; however, an innovative mobile ‘app’ is being developed to explore family mobility.
- Investigate the everyday lives of children and their families, researching their interactions, issues and experiences in a new urban context;
- Develop innovative tools for conducting community based research in rapidly-developing urban environments;
- Develop academic and practitioner understanding of how models of urban design are being transferred between contexts and communities.
More information can be found on the project website: http://www.new-urbanism-india.com/aims-and-objectives.php
Sacred journeys and profane travellers: representation and spatial practice in Varanasi (India).
Royal Holloway College Research Grant
Royal Holloway, University of London
Doctoral researcher (2007-2011)
Supervisor: Prof. Claudio Minca
Advisor: Prof Katie Willis
The research investigated Western tourist representations and practices in India. Drawing on fieldwork conducted in the sacred city of Varanasi, in Northern India, the study examined discourses, practices and processes of identity formation and cultural negotiation brought about in the city by tourism. The research has adopted an ethnographic approach, combining participant observation, interviews, questionnaires, visual methods, and textual analysis of popular tourist literature.
Cristiana is currently developing publications from her doctoral thesis.