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Department of Geography


Population, Health and Histories

Population, Health and Histories

The Population, Health and Histories thematic group has research interests that span a range of topics in contemporary and historical demography, social policy, and cultural and historical geography.

Contemporary Epidemiology, Crime, and Social Policy

Contemporary epidemiology, crime, and social policy

Research on contemporary populations aims both to increase understanding of various processes related to health and well-being and to be relevant to policy. Work on epidemiology focuses on the roles of political and welfare regimes, crises and population movement on vulnerability and the spread of epidemics in time and space. Work on both health and crime are bolstered by the exploration of new methodologies for the analysis of spatial data on incidence and transmission, and the analysis of spatial patterns is an important theme in investigations into crime.

Historical Demography

Historical demography

Much of our work on historical population relates to historical epidemiology and the determinants of mortality from 1500 to 1950, but we also have projects which examine the spatial patterns of fertility decline and the effects of welfare regimes and health service provision on various demographic processes. The projects listed here are primarily associated with those members of the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure (CAMPOP) based in the Geography Department; other CAMPOP projects primarily based in the History Faculty can be found at the CAMPOP website.

The social geography of industrialising Britain

The social geography of industrialising Britain

Research on industrialising and urbanising Britain has focused on the uneven geographical development of capitalist and commercial society, and an accompanying citizenship regime managing rights and responsibilities, as well as the emergence of a number of 'social' problems involving health, welfare, and individual or collective 'deviancy'. Our work has explored the formulation and framing of the 'social' as distinct from the 'natural' world, and its regulation through the intervention of state and social agencies at a variety of scales.

Historical geographies of globalisation

Historical geographies of globalisation

It is well appreciated that contemporary globalisation has significant historical antecedents, and continues to develop in spatially uneven ways. Work on empire and colonialism is especially pertinent for understanding the origins of our globalised present, particularly when such work includes or informs considerations of contemporary dispossession and marginalisation, in the name of economic modernisation, humanitarian intervention, and geopolitical security.

Group members

The Population, Health and Histories thematic group consists of the following members:

Professor Tim Bayliss-Smith Geography and epidemiology of the depopulation of Island Melanesia, especially Solomon Islands in the nineteenth and early twentieth century.
Dr David Beckingham The regulation of alcohol and intemperance in Victorian British cities, especially Liverpool. Geography of the temperance movement at home and abroad.
Professor Robert Bennett History of entrepreneurship and small business, currently mainly 1851-1911 and modern patterns; also history of chambers of commerce 1760 onwards and business associations.
Professor Andrew Cliff Spatial epidemiology: the disease patterns and processes arising from humanitarian crises and population displacements since the beginning of the twentieth century.
Dr Romola Davenport The urban mortality transition in north-west Europe in the period 1700-1850, including the geography of smallpox epidemics in Britain before vaccination.
Professor Matthew Gandy Landscape, infrastructure, and modernity, including corporeal and sensory geographies.
Professor Bob Haining The geography of crime using GIS, including doorstep criminality in Cambridgeshire and the incidence of rape in Stockholm.
Dr Philip Howell
The cultural and historical geography of prostitution, gender and sexuality in Victorian Britain and its empire; changing animal geographies.
Dr David Nally Geographical dimensions of colonisation, the geopolitics of subsistence crises, and the politics of famine relief measures, for example the Irish Famine.
Ms Gill Newton Mortality and disease transmission in urban Britain, especially London, in the sixteenth to nineteenth century.
Dr Alice Reid
Infant, child and maternal mortality in British populations in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, including the role of doctors and midwifery.
Dr Max Satchell Historical geography, occupational structure and transport networks using GIS, and leprosy in Britain since c.1000.
Professor Richard Smith Welfare and demography in England c. 1300-1834, the geography of poor relief, and a re-assessment of the Mortality Revolution and Epidemiological Transition models for England, western Europe and Asia.
Professor Janice Stargardt The historical geography and archaeology of South and South East Asia. Working on early urbanism in South and Southeast Asia and the spread of Buddhism and early maritime trade in the Indian Ocean.



The Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure

The Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure is an interdisciplinary research group based in the Department of Geography and the Faculty of History.