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James S Duncan, BA MA PhD

James S Duncan, BA MA PhD

Formerly Reader in Cultural Geography.

Emeritus Fellow of Emmanuel College.

Cultural geographer, with research interests in Sri Lanka and the United States.



  • 1996-2010: Department of Geography, University of Cambridge.
  • 1985-1996 Department of Geography, Syracuse University.
  • 1977-1985 Department of Geography, University of British Columbia.


  • BA Dartmouth College 1970
  • MA Syracuse University 1974
  • PhD Syracuse University 1977


Society and Space - Culture, History, Space and Place

  • Landscapes of colonialism in Sri Lanka
  • Culture Theory
  • Landscape and Identity in the United States



  • 2011 A Companion to Human Geography. Oxford: Blackwell. Edited with John Agnew.
  • 2007 In the Shadows of the Tropics: Climate, Race and Biopower in 19th Century Ceylon. Aldershot: Ashgate. 228 pp.
  • 2004 Landscapes of Privilege: The Politics of the Aesthetic in an American Suburb. New York: Routledge. (with N. Duncan) 256 pp.
  • 2004 A Companion to Cultural Geography. Oxford: Blackwell. (Edited with N. Johnson and R. Schein) 520 pp.
  • 2004 (1990) The City as Text: The Politics of Landscape Interpretation in the Kandyan Kingdom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 229 pp.
  • 1999 Writes of Passage: Reading Travel Writing. London: Routledge. Edited with D. Gregory. pp. 225.
  • 1993. Place/Culture/representation. London: Routledge. Edited with D. Ley pp. 341.
  • 1992 Writing Worlds: Discourse, Text and Metaphor in the Representation of Landscape. London: Routledge. Edited with T. Barnes. PP. 282.
  • 1989 The Power of Place: Integrating the Sociological and Geographical Imagination. London: Unwin Hyman. pp. 231.
  • 1981 Housing and Identity: Cross-Cultural Perspectives. London: Croom Helm. Pp. 250


  • 2009 "Coffee, disease and the 'simultaneity of stories so far' in the highlands of ninteenth century Ceylon." in C. Brun and T. Jazeel (eds.) Spatialising Politics. Sage Publications.
  • 2009 "Landscape interpretation" in S. Aitkin, P. Crang, D. Delyser, L. McDowell (eds.) Handbook of Qualitative research in Human Geography. Sage Publications. (with N. Duncan).
  • 2006. "Cultural Geography." in B. Warf et al. (eds.), Encyclopedia of Human Geography. Sage Publications.
  • 2006 "Aesthetics, Abjection and White Privilege in Suburban New York" in Richard Schein (ed) Race and Landscape in America. N.Y. Routledge. (with N. Duncan), pp. 157-176.
  • 2005 "Home Alone? Masculinity, Discipline and Erasure in Mid-Nineteenth Century Ceylon," in L. Dowler, J. Carubia, & B. Szczygiel (eds.) Gender and Landscape: Renegotiating Morality and Space. New York: Routledge, pp. 19-33.
  • 2004 "Culture Unbound," Environment and Planning A: (with N. Duncan) Vol 36, pp. 391-403.
  • "Can't live with them. Can't landscape without them": Racism and the pastoral aesthetic in suburban New York" in Landscape Journal: Design, Planning and Management of the Land, Volume 22, pp.88-98. (with N. Duncan).
  • Duncan, J.S. (2003) "Representing Empire at the National Maritime Museum" in S. Peckham (ed) Heritage: Culture and Politics. London: I.B. Taurus, pp. 17-28.
  • "Sombres pensées dans la maison coloniale:masculinité, contrôle et refoulement domestiques à Ceylan au milieu du XIXème siècle " In Espaces Domestiques. Construire, Aménager, Représenter. Edited by B. Collignon and J.-F. Staszak, Paris: Bréal, pp. 241-253.
  • Duncan, J.S. (2002) "Embodying Colonialism?: Domination and Resistance in 19th century Ceylonese Coffee Plantations." Journal of Historical Geography 28, 3, pp. 317-38.
  • Duncan, J.S. and Duncan, N.G. (2001) "Theory in the Field" Geographical Review 91, pp. 399-406.
  • Duncan, J.S. And Duncan, N.G (2001) 'The Aestheticization of the Politics of Landscape Preservation." Annals, Association of American Geographers. 91
  • Duncan, J.S. (2001) 'Notes on Emancipatory Collaborative Historical Research.' Historical Geography. 29, 65-67.
  • Duncan, J.S. (2000) 'The Struggle to be Temperate: Climate and "Moral Masculinity" in Mid-Nineteenth Century Ceylon.' Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, Vol 21, 34-47.
  • Duncan, J.S. (2000) 'Apos a Guerra Civil: Recontruindo a Geografia Cultural Como Heterotopia' in: R.L. Correa and Z. Rosendahl (eds) Geografia Cultural: Um Seculo (2). Rio De Janerio: Editori da Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janerio, 61-84.
  • Duncan, J.S. (1999) 'Complicity and resistance in the colonial archive: some issues of method and theory in historical geography.' Historical Geography 27: 119-128.
  • Duncan, J. (1998) 'Classics in human geography revisited - J.S. Duncan 1980: 'The superorganic in American cultural geography' author's response.' Progress In Human Geography 22(4): 571-573.
  • Duncan, J. (1998) 'Dis-Orientation: the shock of the familiar in a far-away place.' in: J. Duncan and D. Gregory (eds) Writes of passage: reading travel writing London: Routledge, 151-163.
  • Duncan, J. and Gregory, D. (eds) (1998) Writes of passage: reading travel writing. London: Routledge, 225.
  • Duncan, J.S. and Duncan, N. (1997) 'Deep suburban irony.' in: R. Silverstone (ed.) Visions of suburbia London: Routledge, 161-179