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Extended Information

David N. Livingstone

Professor of Geography and Intellectual History


Current research interests

My research interests congregate around several related themes: the histories of geographical knowledge, the spatiality of scientific culture, and the historical geographies of science and religion. I am currently involved in two writing projects. The first focuses on the geographies of Darwinism. Here I am attempting to elucidate the role of space and place in the circulation of Darwinism and the construction of Darwinian meaning. The second, under the working title ‘The Empire of Climate’, is a social history of environmental determinism from Herodotus to Global Warming.




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Distinctions and Awards

  • Fellow of the British Academy, elected 1995
  • Back Award, Royal Geographical Society, 1997
  • Member of the Royal Irish Academy, elected 1998
  • Centenary Medal, Royal Scottish Geographical Society, 1998
  • British Academy Research Reader, 1999-2001
  • Templeton Foundation Lecture Prize, 1999
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, elected 2001
  • OBE, for services to Geography and History, 2002
  • Member of the Academia Europaea, elected 2002
  • Member of the Academy of the Social Sciences, elected 2002
  • Royal Irish Academy Gold Medal in the Social Sciences, 2008
  • Corresponding Member, International Academy of the History of Science, elected 2011
  • Founder's Medal, Royal Geographical Society, 2011
  • Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship, 2011-2014
  • Hon. D. Litt (University of Aberdeen), 2013


Named Lectures

  • Robert Allen Memorial Lecture, Union College, Belfast, 1991
  • Charles Lyell Lecture, British Association for the Advancement of Science, 1994
  • Templeton Lecture, Oregon State University, 1999
  • Hettner Lectures, University of Heidelberg, 2001
  • Murrin Lectures, University of British Columbia, 2002
  • Progress in Human Geography Lecture, Royal Geographical Society, 2005
  • Appleton Lecture, University of Hull, 2007
  • Von Humboldt Lecture, U.C.L.A., 2007
  • Manley Lecture, Royal Holloway, University of London, 2007
  • Gunning Lecture, University of Edinburgh, 2009
  • Gregory Lecture, University of Southampton, 2010
  • Gifford Lectures, University of Aberdeen, 2014
  • Walton Lecture, delivered at National University of Ireland Maynooth, 2015
  • Dudleian Lecture, Harvard University, 2015


Recent External Appointments

Visiting Noted Scholar, University of British Columbia, 1999
Member, Royal Irish Academy Strategic Plan Committee, 2000-02
Member, Geography Panel (35), RAE 2001
Visiting Distinguished Professor of History of Science, Baylor University, 2003-05
President, Geography Section, British Association for the Advancement of Science, 2005
Visiting Fellowships Officer, Section SS3, British Academy, 2005-08
Deputy Chair, Geography and Environmental Studies Sub-Panel (32), RAE 2008
Vice-President (Research), Royal Geographical Society, 2007-10
Member of Council, British Society for the History of Science, 2009-2011





 The Geographical Tradition    Science, Space and Hermeneutics


 Geographies of Nineteenth-Century Science    Dealing with Darwin

       Selected Books

  • Nathaniel Southgate Shaler and the Culture of American Science (University of Alabama Press, 1987)
  • Darwin's Forgotten Defenders (Scottish Academic Press, 1987)
  • The Geographical Tradition:  Episodes in the History of a Contested Enterprise (Blackwell, 1992)
  • Ulster-American Religion: Episodes in the History of a Cultural Connection (University of Notre Dame Press, 1999) with R.A. Wells
  • Geography and Enlightenment (University of Chicago Press, 1999) edited with Charles W.J. Withers
  • Science, Space and Hermeneutics (University of Heidelberg, 2002)
  • Putting Science in it Place: Geographies of Scientific Knowledge (University of Chicago Press, 2003)
  • Geography and Revolution (University of Chicago Press, 2005) edited with Charles W.J. Withers
  • Adam's Ancestors: Race, Religion and the Politics of Human Origins (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008)
  • Geographies of Science (Springer, 2010) edited with Peter Meusburger and Heike Jöns
  • Geographies of Nineteenth Century Science (University of Chicago Press, 2011) edited with Charles W.J. Withers
  • The Sage Handbook of Geographical Knowledge (Sage, 2011) edited with John Agnew
  • Dealing with Darwin: Place, Politics and Rhetoric in Religious Engagements with Evolution (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2014)


Recent Articles

“Race, space and moral climatology: notes toward a genealogy,” Journal of Historical Geography, 28 (2002): 159-180

“Tropical hermeneutics and the climatic imagination,” Geographische Zeitschrift 90 (2002): 65-88

“Re-placing Darwinism and Christianity” in David C. Lindberg and Ronald L. Numbers (eds), When Science and Christianity Meet (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003), pp. 183-202

“British geography, 1500-1900: An imprecise review,” in Michael Williams and Ron Johnston (eds), A Century of British Geography (London: British Academy, 2003), pp. 11-41

“Science, religion and the geography of reading: Sir William Whitla and the editorial staging of Isaac Newton’s writings on biblical prophecy,” British Journal for the History of Science, 36 (2003): 27-42

“Public spectacle and scientific theory: William Robertson Smith and the reading of evolution in Victorian Scotland” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 35 (2004): 1-29

“Oriental travel, Arabian kinship and ritual sacrifice: William Robertson Smith and the fundamental institutions”, Society and Space, 22 (2004): 639-657

“‘Risen into Empire’: moral geographies of the American Republic”, in David N. Livingstone and Charles W.J. Withers (eds), Geography and Revolution (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005), pp. 304-335

“Scientific inquiry and the missionary enterprise”, in Ruth Finnegan (ed.) Participating in the Knowledge Society: Researchers beyond the University Walls, (London: Palgrave, 2005), pp. 50-64

“Text, talk and testimony: geographical reflections on scientific habits”, British Journal for the History of Science, 38 (2005): 93-100

“Science, text and space: thoughts on the geography of reading”, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 35 (2005): 391-401

“The geography of Darwinism”, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews, 31 (2006): 32-41

“Putting progress in its place”, Progress in Human Geography, 30 (2006): 559-587

“Science, site and speech: scientific knowledge and the spaces of rhetoric”, History of the Human Sciences, 20 (2007): 71-98 

“Science, religion, and the cartographies of complexity”, Historically Speaking, 8, 5 (2007): 15-17

“Evolution and religion”, in Michael Ruse and John Travis (eds), Evolution: The First Four Billion Years (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2009), 348-369.

"Tracking Adam’s bloodline", Journal of Scottish Thought, 2 (2009): 53-73

"Cultural politics and the racial cartographics of human origins," Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 35 (2010): 204-221

“Landscapes of knowledge” in Peter Meusburger, David N. Livingstone and Heike Jöns (eds) Geographies of Science (Dordrecht: Springer Science, 2010), pp. 3-22

“Keeping Knowledge in Site,” History of Education 39 (2010): 779-785

“Which science? Whose religion?”, in John Hedley Brooke and Ronald L. Numbers (eds), Science and Religion Around the World (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), pp. 278-296

“Science and place”, in Peter Harrison, Ronald L. Numbers and Michael M. Shank (eds), Wrestling with Nature: From Omens to Science (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011), 377-400

"Environmental Determinism," in John Agnew and David N. Livingstone (eds), The Sage Handbook of Geographical Knolwedge (London: Sage, 2011), pp. 368-380

"Darwinian Landscapes," in Stephen Daniels et al (eds), Envisioning Landscapes, Making Worlds: Geography and the Humanities (London: Routledge, 2011), pp. 106-117

"Reflections on the Cultural Spaces of Science", Climatic Change 113 (2012): 91-93

"Changing Climate, Human Evolution and the Revival of Environmental Determinism," Bulletin of the History of Medicine 86 (2012), 564-595

"Darwin and Geography," in Michael Ruse (ed), The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Darwin and Evolutionary Thought (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), pp. 361-367

"Finding Revelation in Anthropology: Alexander Winchell, William Robertson Smith and the Heretical Imperative," British Journal for the History of Science (2015), in press