Not available in 2013/14
London's Geographies:An Introduction to Cultural and Historical Geography

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Sharad Chari


This course is available on the BA in Geography and BSc in Geography with Economics. This course is available as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit and to General Course students.

Course content

This course introduces students to socio-cultural and historical geography through past and present London. The city provides an opportunity for thinking about the interplay of culture, society, and space as we consider a series of questions about urban and social transformation. An important 'lab' component involves leaving the classroom to enter the LSE Archives and to walk the streets to interpret London's geographies. Michaelmas Term begins with a series of 'great transformations' in the making of the modern world, culminating in the spatial and social divides of Victorian London. The founders of the LSE were centrally concerned with understanding these divides in order to change them. The course then turns to the 20th and 21st century processes, and challenges that have tested the possibilities of this great metropolis including migration and racism, gentrification, inequality and labour politics. The course uses theoretical and historical insights to better understand the city that surrounds us.A detailed syllabus handed out in the first week of the course will include the following topics: the great transformations of time, space and nature; labour and class politics; sexuality and the Victorian city; the foundations of social science; the docks and the Empire; race, racism, immigration and the question of security; and urban inequality and labour politics today.


20 hours of lectures and 9 hours of classes in the MT. 8 hours of lectures and 5 hours of classes in the LT.

Formative coursework

Students are expected to write two formative essays and to participate actively in classes led by the Class Teacher.

Indicative reading

P Linebaugh and M Rediker, The Many-Headed Hydra, 2000; R Porter,
London: A Social History, 1994; G Stedman Jones, Outcast London,
1984; L Nead, Victorian Babylon: People, Streets and Images in
Nineteenth-Century London 2000; S Koven, Slumming: Sexual and Social
Politics in Late Victorian London, 2004; S Wise, The Blackest
Streets: The Life and Death of a Victorian Slum, 2009; J Schneer, London
1900: The Imperial Metropolis, 2001; S Hall et al, Policing the Crisis:
Mugging, the state, and law and order, 1993; K Datta, Y Evans, J Herbert, J
May, C McIlwaine and J Wills, Global cities at work: New migrant
divisions of labour. Pluto, London, 2010; P Gilroy, After Empire:
Multiculture or Postcolonial Melancholia, 2004.


Exam (50%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Essay (25%, 2000 words) in the MT.
Essay (25%, 2000 words) in the LT.

Student performance results

(2010/11 - 2012/13 combined)

Classification % of students
First 27
2:1 54
2:2 19
Third 0
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Geography & Environment

Total students 2012/13: 20

Average class size 2012/13: 10

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information