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Philip Howell BA PhD

Philip Howell BA PhD

Reader in Historical Geography and Fellow of Emmanuel College

Historical geographer with research interests primarily in animal geographies, geographies of gender and sexuality, colonialism and imperialism.


Early in my university career I made historical geography my principal focus. My PhD thesis looked at the geography of Chartism, the early Victorian popular suffrage movement, considering the local background of the movement and its regional and national integration. An abiding interest in political geography and political theory developed alongside this research, complemented by social and critical theories of power and the body. I worked on very different topics subsequently, though the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries remain a constant. One strand of my research career looks at the historical geography of the regulation of prostitution in Britain and its colonies, with wider relevance to geographies of gender and sexuality. My most prominent research now concerns 'animal geographies', the relations between humans and nonhuman animals; a recent monograph on the career of the dog, as it was domesticated in bourgeois homes and at the same time policed off the streets of the Victorian city, is a contribution to the burgeoning interdisciplinary interest in the question of animals and animality. I have also been involved in the growth and promotion of 'animal history' or 'animal-human history', an emerging field. In addition, I have a longstanding interest in cultural and literary geographies.


  • 1984-1987: University of Cambridge
  • 1987-1988: Harvard University
  • 1989-present: Department of Geography, University of Cambridge.


  • BA 1987 University of Cambridge
  • PhD 1994 University of Cambridge


My research interests contribute to the research thematic groups, Vital Geographies. The main strands of work are:

  • The regulation of prostitution in Britain and its empire - including its legacy in post-colonial Ireland
  • Geographies of gender and sexuality - particularly gendered and sexualised identities in the nineteenth-century city
  • The 'animal turn' in history and human geography - geographies of relations between societies and non-human animals
  • Literary geography - the representation of space and time in fiction and in narrative in general


[Publications will load automatically from the University's publication database...]


Geographical Tripos (Undergraduate level)

  • Part IA: Human Geography
  • Part IB: Citizenship, Cities, and Civil Society
  • Part II: Political Appetites: Geographies of Food and Power; Legal Geographies