Professor Miles Ogborn
School of Geography
Professor of Geography, Head of School
Queen Mary, University of London
Mile End Road, London E1 4NS
Phone: 020 7882 8926
Fax: 020 7882 7479
Global Historical Geographies
Globalisation has a long history which can illuminate present-day concerns over the power of global corporations or the nature of global cultures. Research in this area uses archival sources to recover the active making of global connections and forms of communication, and investigates the ways they linked and shaped different people's lives in different parts of the world in the age of sail.
Miles Ogborn (2008) Global Lives: Britain and the World, 1550-1800 (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge)
Global Lives sets out the forms of globalisation in the age of sail and how they shaped individual lives. It ranges from Elizabethan England’s engagements with the world beyond Europe to the scientific exploration of the people and islands of the Pacific on the voyages led by James Cook in the late eighteenth century. Drawing on the expanding debate over globalisation and on an increasing interest in world history and imperial history, this is primarily a work of synthesis. It brings together recent scholarship from history, geography, anthropology, history of art, history of science and literary studies to rework global history through the biographies of people well known and little known: Walter Ralegh, Pocahontas, Joseph Banks, Edward Barlow, La Belinguere, and Eunice Williams to name just a few.
“Today's most enthralling histories tell grand narratives of empires, oceans and peoples but can often lose touch with the human scale. Like some panoramic Plutarch, Miles Ogborn uses parallel lives to illustrate global processes. Global Lives weaves more than forty succinct biographies – some familiar, like those of Sir Walter Ralegh and Captain Cook, others hitherto obscure, like the Madras merchant Kasi Viranni's and the Jamaican slave-woman Sarah Affir's – into a kaleidoscopic account of Britain's rise to world power. Ogborn's remarkable book brings an empire to life through the lives that built the empire.” David Armitage, Harvard University
“Global Lives tells a wonderfully accessible story of how the world changed between the sixteenth century and the eighteenth century – how new forms of connection were made, across the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean, how the British Empire came to dominate substantial parts of the world. Elizabethan adventurers, Madras merchants, transatlantic seamen, Caribbean planters, Irish rebels, enslaved Africans, fill the pages of this enlivening narrative with their diverse and complicated stories of geographical connections and dislocations, empowerment and resistance, violence and dispossession. This is a richly peopled history of global expansion - and one to be greatly welcomed by students, teachers, and readers of all kinds.” Catherine Hall, University College London
The Freedom of Speech
This on-going research project considers the relationships between talk, text and (un)freedom in the slave societies of the Caribbean. Focusing on law, natural history, religion and politics, this project attends not to what was said in the past but to the cultural practices of text and talk themselves. These are particular, more or less rule-bound ways of speaking, writing and reading such as the sermon, the botanical conversation, the giving of evidence, the learned letter or the printed statute. In each case research examines the social and spatial relationships that were involved in and produced through these practices:
- What were the relationships between talk, script and print, and what were their geographies, at all scales from the face-to-face to the oceanic?
- How did these practices with words shape the relationships between black and white, enslaved and free, men and women in the Anglophone Caribbean and the British Atlantic world?
This involves examining the micro-geographies of talking, reading, writing and printing in, for example, courtrooms, churches, printshops, plantation schoolrooms, botanical gardens, libraries and streets in Barbados and Jamaica. It also involves examining the transatlantic relationships and networks forged by people’s movements both forced and chosen, letter writing and manuscript circulation, and the dissemination and use of printed materials. The aim is to build an empirically rich account of communication practices in the context of Britain’s Atlantic empire and to use that to recast how imperialism is understood across a broad interdisciplinary field. Studying speech provides an empirical and theoretical basis for moving away from the dominant textual model of representation of people and places towards one based on the idea of an on-going, situated, power-laden and agonistic ‘conversation’ with many participants using text and talk in different ways. Material from this project has been published in Historical Geography, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers and the Journal of Historical Geography.
Miles Ogborn (2007) Indian Ink: Script and Print in the Making of the English East India Company (Chicago University Press)
Indian Ink explores the relationships between power and knowledge in the European engagement with Asia. It brings together the two vibrant and expanding fields of imperial history and the history of the book to explore both the small-scale and far-flung geographies of the production, distribution, and reading of the texts of early modern trade and empire. Indian Ink finds its way into scriptoria, ships, offices, printshops, coffeehouses, and palaces in order to examine the writing practices of the English East India Company from its first tentative trading voyages in the early seventeenth century to the foundation of an empire in Bengal in the late eighteenth century. By interpreting the making and use of a variety of forms of writing in script and print – the manuscript letters carried by the Company to Asian rulers, the administrative documentation of the Company’s factories, the politics of print and stock-market knowledge in London, and the attempts to use print for imperial purposes in Bengal – Indian Ink demonstrates the work that needed to be done in order to mobilize the power of writing for trade or empire, and the material and political circumstances that meant that such attempts at domination through the written world could never finally succeed.
“Miles Ogborn’s important and original account of the East India Company shows how global power was projected and maintained as much by paper and ink as by blood and iron. Empire was made of the write stuff.” Steven Shapin (Harvard University)
“In this bravura performance, Miles Ogborn uses the diverse and changing writing and printing practices of the English East India Company to expound on how and why we need to understand the history of knowledge geographically. Indian Ink makes a remarkable contribution to a number of literatures and charts new interpretive vistas. The exciting new spatial directions in which Ogborn presses historical and literary inquiry will fascinate scholars in a range of disciplines.” Mary Poovey (New York University)
Historical geographies of modernity
M. Ogborn (1998) Spaces of Modernity: London's Geographies, 1680–1780 (Guilford Press, London & New York)
From the civility of Westminster's newly paved streets to the dangerous pleasures of Vauxhall gardens and the grand designs of the Universal Register Office, this book examines the identities, practices, and power relations of the modern city as they emerged within and transformed the geographies of eighteenth-century London. Ogborn draws upon a wide variety of textual and visual sources to illuminate processes of commodification, individualization, state formation, and the transformation of the public sphere within the new spaces of the metropolis. Readers in cultural studies, cultural and historical geography, British history, and a range of other disciplines will appreciate this book's bold and original contribution to current debates on modernity.
“This book unites cutting-edge theory and scholarship with an energy and engagement that are constantly exhilarating. Through a series of close-focused studies of urban institutions, Ogborn reopens the question of the birth of the modern and shows the crucial role of eighteenth-century London in that transformation. Alert to current debates, Ogborn argues his own case with verve and clarity.” Professor Roy Porter, Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine, London
“A fascinating and scholarly tour through eighteenth-century London. Original and exciting.” Lynda Nead, (Birkbeck, University of London)
In research and teaching I aim to explore how perspectives from cultural geography can inform historical research. For a broad discussion of cultural geography, which uses both contemporary and historical material see:
Miles Ogborn (2008) ‘Topographies of Culture: Geography, Meaning and Power,’ in B. Longhurst et al, Introducing Cultural Studies (Prentice Hall) Chapter 5.
Vodcasts and Podcasts
Hans Sloane's Vegetable Substances, Miles Ogborn's contribution to the AHRC Sloane Treasures Workshop, Natural History Museum, London, April 2012
- M. Ogborn and C.W.J. Withers (eds) (2010) Geographies of the Book (Ashgate, Farnham) xiv + pp. 302.
- M. Ogborn (2008) Global Lives: Britain and the World, 1550-1800 (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge) xx + pp. 343
- B. Longhurst, G. Smith, G. Bagnall, G. Crawford and M. Ogborn with E. Baldwin and S. McCracken (2008) Introducing Cultural Studies. Second edition (Pearson Education, Harlow) xvi + pp. 347. South Asian Edition (Dorling Kindersley India, forthcoming 2011)
- M. Ogborn (2007) Indian Ink: Script and Print in the Making of the English East India Company (Chicago University Press, Chicago) xxiv + pp. 318.
- M. Ogborn and C. W. J. Withers (eds) (2004) Georgian Geographies: Essays on Space, Place and Landscape in the Eighteenth Century (Manchester University Press, Manchester) xii + pp. 203.
- A. Blunt, P. Gruffudd, J. May, M. Ogborn and D. Pinder (eds) (2003) Cultural Geography in Practice (Arnold, London) xiv + pp. 330. Korean language edition, Hanul Publishing, Seoul, 2007.
- E. Baldwin, B. Longhurst, M. Ogborn, S. McCracken and G. Smith (1999, Revised first edition 2003) Introducing Cultural Studies (Prentice Hall, Hemel Hempstead) xxii + pp. 467. Also published by University of Georgia Press, Athens, 2000; Chapter 4 ‘Topographies of Culture’ (by M. Ogborn) reprinted in a Custom Book by University of Southern Australia; Chinese language edition, 2004, Higher Education Press, Beijing, xxii + pp. 500); Polish language edition 2007, Zysk i S-ka Wydawnictwo, Poznan; Korean language edition, forthcoming, Hanul Publishing, Seoul.
- M. Ogborn (1998) Spaces of Modernity: London’s Geographies 1680-1780 (Guilford Press, New York) xii + pp. 340.
Papers and Chapters
- M. Ogborn (forthcoming) ‘Making connections: port geography and global history’, in Lourdes de Ita (ed.) Organización del Espacio en el México Colonial: Puertos, Ciudades y Caminos, CONACyT, Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas, UMSNH, México. ISBN 978-607-424-036-8
- M. Ogborn (forthcoming 2011) “It’s not what you know…” : encounters, go-betweens and the geography of knowledge,’ Modern Intellectual History
- M. Ogborn (2011) ‘A war of words: speech, script and print in the Maroon War of 1795-6,’ Journal of Historical Geography 37 pp. 203-215
- M. Ogborn (2011) ‘The power of speech: orality, oaths and evidence in the British Atlantic world, 1650-1800,’ Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 36:1 pp. 109-125.
- M. Ogborn (2011) ‘Epistolary history,’ History Workshop Journal 71 pp. 253-259
- M. Ogborn (2011) ‘Archive’, in J. Agnew and D.N. Livingstone (eds) The Sage Handbook of Geographical Knowledge (Sage, London) pp. 88-98.
- M. Ogborn and C.W.J. Withers (2010) ‘Introduction: book geography, book history,’ in M. Ogborn and C.W.J. Withers (eds) Geographies of the Book (Ashgate, Farnham) pp. 1-25.
- M. Ogborn (2010) ‘The amusements of posterity: print against empire in late eighteenth-century Bengal,’ in M. Ogborn and C.W.J. Withers (eds) Geographies of the Book (Ashgate, Farnham) pp. 29-49.
- M. Ogborn (2010) ‘Finding historical sources,’ in N.J. Clifford, S. French and G. Valentine (eds) Key Methods in Geography Second Edition (Sage, London) pp. 89-102.
- M. Ogborn (2009) Contribution [2,500 words] to a book review symposium along with David Arnold on James S. Duncan (2007) In the Shadows of the Tropics, in Progress in Human Geography 33 pp. 714-721.
- M. Ogborn (2009) ‘Francis Williams’s bad language: historical geography in a world of practice,’ Historical Geography 37 pp. 5-25.
- M. Ogborn (2006) ‘Streynsham Master’s office: accounting for collectivity, order and authority in seventeenth-century India,’ Cultural Geographies 13 pp. 127-155
- D. Lambert, L. Martins and M. Ogborn (2006) ‘Currents, visions and voyages: historical geographies of the sea,’ for special issue on ‘Historical Geographies of the Sea’, Journal of Historical Geography 32:2 pp. 479-493.
- M. Ogborn (2005/2006) ‘Mapping words,’ New Formations special issue on ‘The Spatial Imaginary,’ 57 pp. 145-149
- M. Ogborn (2005) ‘Modernity and modernization,’ in P. Cloke, P. Crang and M. Goodwin (eds) Introducing Human Geographies Second Edition (Arnold, London) pp. 339-349.
- M. Ogborn (2005) ‘Atlantic geographies’, guest editorial for special issue of Social and Cultural Geography 6 pp. 379-385.
- M. Ogborn and C. W. J. Withers (2004) ‘Knowing other places: travel, trade and empire, 1660-1800,’ in C. Wall (ed.) A Concise Companion to Restoration and the Eighteenth Century (Blackwell, Oxford) pp. 14-36.
- M. Ogborn (2004) ‘Geographia's pen: writing, geography and the arts of commerce, 1660-1760,’ Journal of Historical Geography 30 pp. 294-315
- M. Ogborn and C. W. J. Withers (2004) ‘Introduction: Georgian geographies?’ in M. Ogborn and C. W. J. Withers (eds) Georgian Geographies: Essays on Space, Place and Landscape in the Eighteenth Century (Manchester University Press, Manchester) pp. 1-23.
- F. Mort and M. Ogborn (2004) ‘Transforming metropolitan London, 1750-1960,’ Journal of British Studies special issue 43:1 pp. 1-14.
- M. Ogborn (2004) ‘Designs on the city: John Gwynn’s plans for Georgian London,’ Journal of British Studies special issue 43: 1 pp. 15-39.
- M. Ogborn (2004) ‘Archives,’ in S. Pile and N. Thrift (eds) Patterned Ground (Reaktion, London) pp. 240-42
- C. Nash and M. Ogborn (2003) ‘Historical geography: making the modern world,’ in A. Rogers and H. A. Viles (eds) The Student’s Companion to Geography (Blackwell, Oxford) pp. 108-112.
- M. Ogborn (2003) ‘Mapping the metropolis,’ Journal of British Studies 42:1 pp. 119-126.
- M. Ogborn (2003) ‘Knowledge is power: using archival research to interpret state formation,’ in A. Blunt, P. Gruffudd, J. May, M. Ogborn and D. Pinder (eds) Cultural Geography in Practice (Arnold, London) pp. 9-20.
- M. Ogborn (2003) ‘Gotcha!’, History Workshop Journal 56 pp. 231-238.
- M. Ogborn (2003) ‘Finding historical data,’ in N. Clifford and G. Valentine (eds) Research Methods in Human and Physical Geography (Sage, London) pp. 101-115.
- M. Ogborn (2002) 'Writing travels: power, knowledge and ritual on the English East India Company’s early voyages,’ Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers New Series 27:2 pp. 155-171.
- M. Ogborn (2002) ‘Wherein lay the late seventeenth-century state? Charles Davenant meets Streynsham Master,’ Journal of Historical Sociology 15:1 pp. 96-101.
- M. Ogborn (2001) ‘This is London! How d’ye like it?’ Journal of Urban History 27:2 pp. 206-216.
- M. Ogborn (2001) ‘Identity parade,’ Tate: The Art Magazine special issue on ‘Retracing Britain’ 37 pp. 52-55.
- M. Ogborn (2000) ‘Pavements’ and ‘Traffic Lights’ in S. Pile and N. Thrift (eds) City A-Z (Routledge, London) pp. 176-177 and 262-264.
- M. Ogborn (2000) ‘Historical geographies of globalisation, c. 1500-1800,’ in B. J. Graham and C. Nash (eds) Modern Historical Geographies (Prentice Hall, London) pp. 43-69 [Japanese translation, Kokon Shoin, Tokyo 2005]
- M. Ogborn (1999) ‘This most lawless space: the geography of the Fleet and the making of Lord Hardwicke's Marriage Act of 1753,’ New Formations 37 pp. 11-32.
- M. Ogborn (1999) ‘The relations between geography and history: work in historical geography in 1997,’ Progress in Human Geography 23:1 pp. 97-108.
- M. Ogborn (1999) ‘Modernity and modernization,’ in P. Cloke, P. Crang and M. Goodwin (eds) Introducing Human Geographies (Arnold, London) pp. 153-161 [second edition, 2005 pp. 339-349].
- M. Ogborn (1998) ‘The capacities of the state: Charles Davenant and the management of the excise, 1683-1698,’ Journal Of Historical Geography 24:3 pp. 289-312.
- M. Ogborn (1998) ‘Georgian geographies?’ Journal of Historical Geography 24:2 pp. 218-223.
- M. Ogborn (1997) ‘Locating the Macaroni: luxury, sexuality and vision in Vauxhall Gardens,’ Textual Practice 11:3 445-461.
- M. Ogborn (1997) ‘(Clock)work in historical geography: autumn 1995 to winter 1996,’ Progress in Human Geography 21:3 pp. 414-423.
- M. Ogborn (1996) ‘History, memory and the politics of landscape and space: work in historical geography from autumn 1994 to autumn 1995,’ Progress in Human Geography 20:2 pp. 222-229.
- M. Ogborn (1995) ‘Knowing the individual: Michel Foucault and Norbert Elias on Las Meninas and the modern subject,’ in N. Thrift and S. Pile (eds) Mapping the Subject: Geographies of Cultural Transformation (Routledge, London) pp. 57-76.
- M. Ogborn (1995) ‘Discipline, government and law: separate confinement in the prisons of England and Wales, 1830-1877,’ Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers New Series 20:3 pp. 295-311.
- M. Ogborn and C. Philo (1994) ‘Soldiers, sailors and moral locations in nineteenth-century Portsmouth,’ Area 26:3 pp. 221-231.
- M. Ogborn (1993) ‘Ordering the city: surveillance, public space and the reform of urban policing in England, 1835-1856,’ Political Geography 12:6 pp. 505-521.
- M. Ogborn (1993) ‘Law and discipline in nineteenth-century English state formation: the Contagious Diseases Acts 1864, 1866 and 1869,’ The Journal of Historical Sociology 6:1 pp. 28-54.
- M. Ogborn (1992) ‘Teaching qualitative historical geography,’ Journal of Geography in Higher Education 16:2 pp. 145-150.
- M. Ogborn (1992) ‘Love-State-Ego: “centres” and “margins” in nineteenth-century Britain,’ Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 10:3 pp. 287-305.
- M. Ogborn (1992) ‘Local power and state regulation in nineteenth-century Britain,’ Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers New Series 17:2 pp. 215-226.
- M. Ogborn (1991) ‘Can you figure it out?: Norbert Elias's theory of the self,’ in C. Philo (ed.) New Words, New Worlds: Reconceptualising Social and Cultural Geography (Cambrian Printers, Aberystwyth) pp. 78-87.
- G. Rose and M. Ogborn (1988) ‘Feminism and historical geography,’ Journal of Historical Geography 14:4 pp. 405-409.