Professor Philip Howell

Photo of Professor Philip Howell


Official Fellow; Member of the College Council; Tutor for Admissions in Arts; Tutor; Director of Studies in Geography
Professor of Historical Geography


Official Fellow; Member of the College Council; Tutor for Admissions in Arts; Tutor; Acting Senior Tutor 2019-20; Director of Studies in Geography

Philip Howell was an undergraduate at Emmanuel College from 1984 to 1987. He spent a short time in the United States on the Emmanuel Harvard scholarship, and several years at Downing College, Cambridge, before returning to Emmanuel as a Fellow in 2000. He has studied popular movements in 19th century Britain, the regulation of prostitution in Britain and the British Empire, and the emergence of modern cultures of pet-keeping. His principal contemporary research concerns historical animal geographies, but he continues to have wide interests in cultural and historical geography.

Teaching Interests

Professor Howell teaches widely in the Geographical Tripos, beginning with the first year Human Geography course, where he lectures on cultural geography. In the second year he teaches on the 'Citizenship, Cities and Civil Society' paper, and he currently contributes to final-year options on 'Political Appetites: Geographies of Food and Power’.


Professor Howell’s research interests are chiefly in the field of historical and cultural geography, and he has been researching and writing on nineteenth-century society for a number of years, particularly on Britain and the British Empire. One of his main areas of interest has been with geographies of sexuality, and he has published on geographies of prostitution and sex work in Britain and in the British colonies, as well as on the construction of urban masculinity in the Victorian period. A monograph, Geographies of Regulation: Policing Prostitution in Nineteenth-Century Britain and the Empire was published by Cambridge University Press in 2009. Dr Howell has also contributed to the developing field of 'animal geographies', which looks at how relations between human and nonhuman animals are played out in place and space; his book At Home and Astray: The Domestic Dog in Victorian Britain was published in 2015. He has also published three edited collections.

Selected Recent Publications

  • Howell, P. (2022) 'Jack Reacher's carbon footprint: reading airport novels irresponsibly', Literary Geographies 8(1).
  • Howell, P. & I. Taves (2021), 'Black protest and the man on horseback: race, animality, and equestrian counter-conduct', GeoHumanities 7(2): 494-512.
  • Howell, P. (2020) 'What would a global history of pets look like?', Cheng Kung Journal of Historical Studies 58(1), pp 1-20
  • Howell, P. & O. Petri (2020) 'From the dawn chorus to the canary choir: notes on the unnatural history of birdsong', Humanimalia 11(2), pp. 163-192.
  • Howell, P. (2020) 'The trouble with liminanimals', Parallax 25(4), pp.395-411
  • Howell, P. & I. Taves (2019) ‘The curious case of the Croydon cat-killer: producing predators in the multi-species metropolis’, Social & Cultural Geography 22, pp.1-20
  • Howell, P. (2018) ‘The drunkard’s nose: making and unmaking the person in Trollope’s “The Spotted Dog”’, Social History of Alcohol and Drugs 32, pp. 60-80
  • Howell, P. & H. Kean (2018), ‘The dogs that didn’t bark in the Blitz: transpersonal and transpecies emotional geographies on the British home front’, Journal of Historical Geography 61, pp. 44-52
  • Howell, P. & D. Beckingham (2015), 'Time-geography, gentlemen, please: chronotopes of publand in Patrick Hamilton's London trilogy', Social and Cultural Geography 16(8), pp. 931-949
  • Howell, P. (2015) At Home and Astray: The Domestic Dog in Victorian Britain (University of Virginia Press)
  • Howell, P. (2013) 'The dog fancy at war: breeds, breeding and Britishness, 1914-1918', Society & Animals 21(6), pp. 546-567