Dr James Ryan
Associate Professor of Historical and Cultural Geography


After graduating from the University of Exeter in 1989 with a BA (Hons) degree in Geography I completed a PhD in the Departments of Geography and History at Royal Holloway University of London in 1994. Subsequently I held academic posts at the University of Oxford (1994-1999), Queen’s University Belfast (1999-2004) and the University of Leicester (2004-2007) before joining the University of Exeter in 2007. I have received research funding from a range of organizations including the British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust and the Royal Geographical Society. I have given invited presentations on my research to several international research institutions including Harvard University Art Museums and the Yale Center for British Art. In 2014-15 I was awarded a British Academy-Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowship for research on the work of the Victorian Cornish photographer, geologist and folklorist Robert Hunt.

Broad research specialisms:

My core research interests are in the historical and cultural geography of modernity, and concern three overlapping fields: photography and visual culture; British colonialism and postcolonialism; and Anglo-American geographical knowledge and science. My research is based mostly on archives and collections. Drawing interdisciplinary approaches to visual images and material culture, I seek to contribute to debates across a range of disciplines, including cultural and historical geography, history, anthropology, art history, photography and visual culture.


BA (Exeter), 
PhD (London)

Contact details

Tel+44 (0) 1326 253761
AddressPeter Lanyon Building
University of Exeter
Penryn Campus
Treliever Road
TR10 9FE

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