UCL Department of Geography


James Kneale

I graduated from UCL Geography in 1990, worked as a Research Assistant in the Department and the Bartlett for a year, and then began my PhD, supervised by Jacquie Burgess. In 1994 I moved to Bristol to work as a Temporary Lecturer in the Department of Geography while writing up my PhD, which was awarded in 1995. I then moved to Exeter as a Tutor and then Lecturer until September 2000, when I returned to UCL. 

More about Dr Kneale

I’m a co-editor of the Journal of Victorian Culture and sit on the board of Literary Geographies. I’ve been a committee member of the Social and Cultural Geography and Historical Geography Research Groups of the RGS-IBG, and of the Royal Statistical Society's History of Statistics Study Group. I’m one of the leads for the Drinking Studies Network’s Drinking Places cluster.

I have filled a number of roles in the Department: Admissions Tutor, Chair of the Undergraduate Exam Board, Anthropology and Geography Joint Degree Tutor, Teaching and Learning Co-ordinator, and Third Year Tutor (Deputy Undergraduate Tutor). I’ve also been an external examiner for undergraduate and PGT programmes at Cambridge, Sussex, Kingston, Birmingham, and Manchester Metropolitan Universities.


I teach on the following modules:




To view Dr Kneale's publications, please visit UCL Profiles:


Research Interests

I’m a cultural and historical geographer with interests in historical and contemporary geographies of drink and temperance and in literary geographies, particularly in non-realist genres (science fiction, horror, ghost stories, utopias, etc).


I contributed written and verbal evidence on histories and geographies of drinking to the Parliamentary Health Select Committee in 2009. The Committee used a good deal of this material in its First Report, January 2010


I've contributed to stories on drinking  on TV (BBC Breakfast News) and radio programmes ('In Our Time' and ‘The Long View’, Radio 4; ‘Night Waves’, Radio 3;  BBC local radio), and in print (the Times - £, Time Out, etc). Recently I was consulted by the Morning Advertiser about parallels between the coronavirus and the 1918 Influenza pandemic in terms of their effect on UK pubs. 

In October 2017 I helped the Museum of London Archaeological Service work on two time capsules recovered after the demolition of the National Temperance Hospital, which resulted in an appearance alongside Dan Cruikshank on BBC1's Inside Out London, and which was reported in the Times. This followed my contribution to an earlier BBC News Magazine film on the Hospital. I have also established a relationship with food artists/architects Bompas & Parr, having helped provide material for their ‘Alcoholic Architecture’ (a walk-in gin & tonic) and ‘Architectural Punchbowl’ projects. Times Online interviewed me about the former when it launched in April 2009.

I've made three Bright Club appearances, including one at Kew Gardens and one at the Bloomsbury Theatre, and one History Showoff, as well as a meeting of the Over-Analyser’s Book ClubI've given a UCL Lunchtime Lecture, ‘Those that don't drink, don't die so fast’ (27 Nov 2012),  on temperance and insurance, which can be seen below; been part of a day of public talks held to coincide with the British Library’s exhibition on science fiction, Out of This World; participated in a Café Culture discussion with author Toby Litt and colleagues from UCL SELCS (2015); taken part in a panel quiz at the Grant Museum of Zoology (2014); given a public talk at the Petrie Museum (2014); helped a team from CASA create 'paintings with light' with a pixelstick at the Temperance Hospital, in Walthamstow, and in Somers Town (2016-18); and given a Supper Talk at the Chelsea Physic Garden.

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Research Students
  • Caterina Liberace, ?? (f/t). Co-supervisor with Dr Joana Jacob Ramalho, SELCS, UCL.
  • Silvia Binenti, Mundane objects of popular geopolitics: an ethnography of activist t-shirts (f/t, AHRC LAHP). Co-supervisor with Prof. Jason Dittmer
  • Chan Du, J. G. Ballard’s Urban Landscapes (f/t). Co-supervisor with Prof. Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen, CMII, UCL. 
  • Thomas Kelly: Modernist Up-topias: Imaginations of Height and Flight in 
  • Twentieth Century Literature, Film, and Culture (f/t, English, KCL; Goodenough College Studentship). 2018-23. Co-supervisor with Dr Jon Day, English, KCL.
Research Grants, Prizes and Awards
  • Co-investigator on the ‘Insuring healthcare in a digital world’ project funded by a Wellcome Trust Seed Award within the Society And Ethics programme (£34,068, 2015-16).
  • Co-applicant/supervisor, UCL Impact/Alcohol Research UK PhD Studentship ‘Understanding and promoting sensible drinking in young people: a mixed method approach’, 2009, £70,000 (2009-112)
  • Visiting researcher, University of Tokyo, 2005, 2007 and 2008, funded by a ¥12 million (~£61,000) grant from the Japanese Ministry of Education for a four-year project on ‘Utopia.'
  • My co-edited collection Lost In Space is listed in the Science Fiction Studies journal’s Chronological Bibliography of Science Fiction Criticism, “critical materials on SF that the editors of SFS deem to be important, influential, or historically noteworthy”.