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Dr Ben Newman

Profile summary

Professional biography

I joined the OU as a Lecturer in Geography in December 2019. Prior to this I was a postgraduate research student and visiting member of staff in the Geography Department at Royal Holloway, University of London. I also worked in a professional capacity for the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers) and the Academy of Social Sciences. I was awarded a BA Geography, MA Cultural Geography (Research), and my PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London (2010–2019).

Research interests

I am a historical and cultural geographer interested in the history of geography, geographies of knowledge, cultures of exploration, and historical geographies of the future. In addition, I have a developing interest in pedagogic research, more specifically I am eager to reflect upon student’s professional development and skills-based learning outcomes.

To date, my research has attempted to uncover more nuanced histories of geography’s nineteenth-century development by attending to the discipline’s publications and institutions. Through an AHRC-funded collaborative doctoral award (supported by the Royal Geographical Society w. IBG), my work has taken seriously the scholarly periodical’s role in the production and dissemination of British Geography. In doing so, it has demonstrated how cultures of periodical publishing were central in shaping the discipline under the auspices of the Royal Geographical Society.  

You can read publications arising from this research here: 

Newman, Benjamin. “Authorising geographical knowledge and the development of peer review in The Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, 1830–c.1880”, Journal of Historical Geography 64 (2019): 85–97.

Keighren, Innes M. and Benjamin Newman. “Worlds into words—and back again.” In The SAGE Handbook of Historical Geography, edited by Mona Domosh, Mike Heffernan, and Charles W. J. Withers. London: SAGE. [Forthcoming]

Teaching interests

I enjoy teaching across all parts of the undergraduate and postgraduate geography curriculum. At present I am fortunate to be involved in teaching at Levels 1, 2, and 3 working closely with colleagues within and beyond geography. I am part of the module team working on producing the following new modules: D113 'Global Challenges'; D225 'Changing Geographies, Changing Britain'; and D325 'Researching geographies of change: independent project in geography'.1.

In addition, I am also part of the presentation teams DD103 'Investigating the Social World' and D213 'Environment and Society'.