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Department of Geography


Olga Petri, BA, MA, MSc, PhD


Olga Petri is an urban historical geographer, concerned with understanding the relationship between the administrative state, social communities or milieus and the modernization of urban space. Her research has focused on late Imperial St. Petersburg, which offers an opportunity to explore largely untapped archival evidence carrying the street-level impress of an idiosyncratic, internally conflicted and ultimately over-written urban modernity. Her work draws from and contributes to inter-related discussions in historical and cultural urban geography, historical queer studies, and the history of late imperial Russia.


  • 2017 – present: Leverhulme/Newton Trust Early Career Research Fellow, University of Cambridge, Department of Geography
  • 2018 – present: Junior Research Fellow (non-stipendary), Wolfson College, Cambridge
  • 2019 – 2020: Director of Studies in Geography, Jesus College, Cambridge
  • 2006 – 2012: Part-time Research Assistant and Project Co-Coordinator – Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography, Leipzig, Germany, in collaboration with the Geography Department of Saint-Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg Russian (January 2007 – September 2011)


  • PhD Geography, University of Cambridge, Emmanuel College (Oct 2013 – Oct 2017)
  • MSc Urban Studies, University College London (Oct 2012 – Oct 2013), merit
  • MA in Geography, Saint-Petersburg State University (2006 – 2008), summa cum laude
  • BA in Geography, Saint-Petersburg State University (2002-2006), summa cum laude


I am currently undertaking postdoctoral research funded by the Leverhulme Trust and the Isaac Newton Trust under the title “Beastly St Petersburg: humans and other animals in imperial Russia“. This research contributes to the rapidly expanding field of animal-human historical geographies, focusing on late imperial St. Petersburg (1881-1914). It is a continuation of my study of power, fashion and reform in the city. By choosing animals as object of study I remove any kind of anthropic intent from the objects of study. I have started work on four animal stories, including racehorses, rodents, canaries and domestic cats. I believe these stories highlight the mechanisms by which the city reconciled conflicting tendencies of conservation and reform with a contested national identity and the intensifying external influences during the final years of St.Petersburg’s abortive transformation into a modern metropolis. For more information see


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  • University of Cambridge, Department of Geography:
    • Small group supervisor, Geographical Tripos:
      Part IA: Understanding Cultural Geography, Contemporary Urban Geographies, The Historical Geographies of Globalisation;
      Part IB: Citizenship, Cities, and Civil Society
    • Part II: Political Appetites: Geographies of Food and Power
  • University of Cambridge, Slavonic Studies Section at Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages
    • SLA3 Introduction to Russian Culture
  • Saint-Petersburg State University, Department of Geography:
    • Teaching Assistant, second-year undergraduate research methods seminar (May – June 2008, May – June 2007);
      Field Research Coordinator (May 2007).