Population, Health and Histories
The Population, Health & Histories thematic group has research interests that span a range of topics in contemporary and historical demography, social geography, and cultural and historical geography. Populations and settings studied include historical and contemporary population in the British Isles; contemporary European populations; colonial Melanesia and postcolonial South Africa. Members of the group employ a range of methodological and theoretical approaches but a common theme is investigation of the impact of the social, political and economic environment on health and well-being. Crime, sexuality, and food security are among the current focus of activities as well as health and mortality, and demographic change themes.
Research on contemporary populations includes several strands of work, all of which aim both to increase understanding of various processes related to health and well-being and to be relevant to policy. One strand of work is focussed on health and ageing in European populations, including examination of the influence of life course influences on later life health and the causal pathways that lead from social to health disadvantage.
The impact and spread of epidemics in time and space, and the effect of war on epidemic diffusion, is another area of activity. This includes studies of the geography of smallpox epidemics in Britain before vaccination and the patterns of mortality associated with epidemics in the context of poor relief, subsistence crises and population migration. Spatial patterns are also an important theme of investigations into crime.
Historical research focuses on two periods, the late medieval to early modern period and the 19th and early 20th century, although research on epidemiological change and urban mortality in Britain spans both periods. For medieval and early modern England, archival data on poor relief and linked data from parish registers enable questions to be tackled about mortality, mobility and life expectancy, changes in the spatial distribution of economic activity, and mortality rates in schools and colleges.
In the nineteenth century the focus shifts to infant and child mortality; the impact of sexually transmitted diseases and the regulation of prostitution, mental health, drunkenness and its social regulation, and changing attitudes to animals. Related topics include subsistence crisis and famine in Ireland and the wider British Empire and the depopulation of islands in colonial Melanesia through introduced diseases. This strand of research brings together projects that investigate the identification and actuation of a range of governmental priorities and practices in Victorian Britain and its empire.
Historical geographical work is never insulated from the concerns of the contemporary. Much of this research is rightly interested in the past for its own sake, but much of it signally contributes to our understanding of the evolution of contemporary regimes of governance and security. Research expertise on the nineteenth century leads particularly closely into contemporary explorations. …
The Population, Health and Histories thematic group consists of the following members:
|Dr Anna Barford||The disease patterns and processes arising from humanitarian crises and population displacements; social and economic inequality; mapping world health data and other variables.|
|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 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 Bob Haining||The geography of crime using GIS, including doorstep criminality in Cambridgeshire and the incidence of rape in Stockholm.|
|Ms Heather Hooper||Spatial epidemiology: the disease patterns and processes arising from humanitarian crises and population displacements since the beginning of the twentieth century.|
|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 Rebecca Oakes||Mortality and life expectancy in late medieval colleges in England.|
|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.|
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.