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Alan Baker, BA MA PhD DLit

Alan Baker, BA MA PhD DLit

University Lecturer (1966-2001) (retired end September 2001) and Life Fellow of Emmanuel College.

Historical geographer, whose research is focused upon the changing society, economy, culture and landscape of France during the nineteenth century.



  • 1963-1966: Lecturer, University College London
  • 1966-2001: Lecturer, University of Cambridge (retired end September 2001)
  • 1970-present: Fellow, Emmanuel College Cambridge
  • 1976-1986: Senior Tutor, Emmanuel College Cambridge
  • 1989-1994: Head, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge.


  • BA University College London
  • MA University of Cambridge
  • PhD University College London
  • DLit University of London


  • Royal Geographical Society's Gill Memorial Prize in 1974
  • 1997 Alan was honoured by the French Government as a Chevalier dans l'Ordres des Palmes Académiques
  • 2003 Elected an Honorary Member of the Société Géographique de Paris
  • 2009 approved by H.M. the Queen for award of the Royal Geographical Society's Founder's Medal, one of only two Gold Medals awarded by the RGS annually
  • 2010 elected a Fellow of the British Academy


  • The changing social, economic and cultural landscapes of France in the 19th century.
  • The relations of geography and history.

Recently Graduated Research Students

Alan has supervised 18 Ph.D. dissertations: five of his former students are Professors in UK Universities and one in a Canadian university.


Selected publications

  • Baker, A.R.H. (1998) 'Military service and migration in nineteenth-century France: some evidence from Loir-et-Cher.' Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 23: 193-206
  • Baker, A.R.H. (1999) Fraternity among the French peasantry: sociability and voluntary associations in the Loire Valley, 1815-1914. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 373pp.
  • Baker, A.R.H. (1999) 'Historical geographies of England and Wales 1925-1995.' in : Y. Ben-Artzi, I. Bartal and E. Reiner (eds.) Studies in geography and history: essays in honour of Yehoshua Ben-Arieh. Jerusalem: Magnes Press, 33-62.
  • Baker, A.R.H. (1999) 'Reflections on the relations of historical geography and the Annales School of history.' in: S. Clark (ed.) The Annales School: critical assessments; vol.II London: Routledge, 96-129.
  • Baker, A.R.H. (1999) 'Some English images of the French peasantry 1789-1915.' in: J.R. Pitte and A-L. Sanguin (eds.) Géographie et liberté: mélanges en hommage à Paul Claval. Paris: Editions Harmattan, 213-224
  • Baker, A.R.H. (2003) Geography and History: Bridging the Divide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Translated and published in Chinese in 2008 and in Japanese in 2009.
  • Baker, A.R.H. and Billinge, M. (Eds) (2004) Geographies of England: The North-South Divide, Material and Imagined. Cambridge: Cambridge university Press
  • Baker, A. R. H. (2011) Diversity or domination? Tall buildings and the built environment of Cambridge. Emmanuel College Magazine 93: 67-86
  • Baker, A. R. H. (2012) Forging a national identity for France after 1789: the role of landscape symbols. Geography 97: 22-28
  • Baker, A. R. H. (2012) Hail as hazard: changing attitudes towards crop protection against hail damage in France, 1815-1914. Agricultural History Review 60: 19-36.
  • Baker, A. R. H. (2013) Pigeon racing clubs in Pas-de-Calais, France, 1870-1914. Journal of Historical Geography 41: 1-12
  • Baker, A. R. H. (2014) Les bibliothèques populaires françaises et la connaissance géographique (1860-1900) in A. Sandras (ed.) Des Bibliothèques populaires à la lecture publique. Villeurbanne: Enssib - Université de Lyon, 283-293
  • Baker, A. R. H. (2014) Des aspects géographiques des sociétés de préparation militaire en France, 1870-1914. Revue Historique des Armées 274: 15-22
  • Baker, A. R. H. (2017) Amateur Musical Societies and Sports Clubs in Provincial France, 1848-1914: Harmony and Hostility. Palgrave Macmillan. 341pp.
  • Baker, A. R. H. (2018) A French reading revolution? The development, distribution and cultural significance of bibliothèques populaires, 1860-1900. Historical Geography Research Series 45, pp. 74.
  • Baker, A.R.H., Black, I.S. and Butlin, R.A. B. (2019), 130 Years of Historical Geography at Cambridge 1888-2018. London: RGS with IBG.

Amateur Musical Societies and Sports Clubs in Provincial France, 1848-1914: Harmony and Hostility

External activities

  • Founder member, and twice chairman, of the Historical Geography Research Group of the Institute of British Geographers.
  • Founder member of the editorial board of the Journal of Historical Geography, and its Editor from 1987 to 1996.
  • Chairman of the International Geographical Union's Working Group on Historical Change in Spatial Organisation from 1980 to 1984.
  • 2002-2010 Liberal Democrat Councillor on Cambridge City Council and Chair of its Planning Committee 2003-2010.
  • Member of the Board of Trustees of Cambridge Citizens Advice Bureau 2010-2019.