David Atkinson_updated

Professor David Atkinson

Professor of Cultural and Historical Geography

Faculty of Science and Engineering


01482 465352

Associate Dean for Research, Faculty of Science and Engineering and Professor of Cultural and Historical Geography, School of Environmental Sciences.

David Atkinson is a cultural and historical geographer who has taught and researched at the University of Hull since 1998.

His interests include the geographies of the dark 20th century and the roles of geographical sciences in the production of modern Italy and Italian colonial space.

David also works on the histories of geographical knowledge and its applications and imaginaries.

A final interest revolves around the intersections of place, memory, identity and landscape, and the insistent eruptions of the past in the spaces of the present.

Before moving to Hull, David was a lecturer at the University of Wales, Lampeter.


Research Interests

  • The geographies of totalitarianism in 20th-century Europe

  • Histories of geographical sciences and practices and the production of the 20th century

  • The geographies of Italian colonialism and its memory in Libya

  • Engaging landscape, place and memory

  • Cultural and historical geography

  • The cultural and historical geographies of Hull and East Yorkshire

Research groups


Starkey, D., Atkinson, D., McDonagh, B., McKeon, S., and Salter, E. (eds.) (2017) Hull: Culture, History, Place, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

Atkinson, D., Darkes, G., Evans, D.H., Lilley, K. Neave, D. Neave, S. (2017) An Historical Map of Kingston upon Hull: from Medieval Town to Industrial City, British Historic Towns Atlas.

Atkinson, D. (2014) 'Pensar los espacios de la memoria y la identidad', Patrimonio y Territorio, Dirección de Bibliotecas, Archivios y Museos, Santiago de Chile, 12-25.

Atkinson, D. (2013) 'Geographical imaginations, public education and the everyday worlds of Fascist Italy', Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 18, 5, 561–579

Atkinson, D (2012) 'Encountering Bare Life in Italian Libya and colonial amnesia in Agamben', in M. Svirsky and S. Bignall (eds.) Agamben and Colonialism, Edinburgh University Press, pp. 155-177.


Programmes taught on (2019)

Modules list

  • Dissertation

  • Contemporary Research in Human Geography

  • Research Integrity

Research PhDs

David is interested in supervising postgraduate research at doctoral level and for MA / MPhil degrees. He would be pleased to discuss research topics and funding avenues with prospective students. As outlined in his research interests, he is especially interested in the following areas (interpreted broadly):

  • Histories of geography, geographical thought and its articulation

  • Rethinking the spaces of memory and memorialisation

  • Italian colonialism and its memories in North Africa

  • The geographies of modern Italy and of Italians overseas

  • Histories of geopolitical theory, representation and imaginaries

  • The cultural and historical geography of the 20th-century and its afterlives.

  • The sites and practices of World War Two and Holocaust commemoration

Completed PhDs

Recent PhD completions include

  • Tegwen Roberts (PhD University of Hull, 2006-2010) Walking and Talking: Topographies of memory in Kingston-upon-Hull (Funded by AHRC; now Heritage Officer)

  • Paul Barratt (PhD University of Hull, 2006-2010) The hybrid geographies of the mountaineering body (Funded by University of Hull; now Senior Lecturer at Staffordshire University)

  • Kirstie O’Neill (PhD University of Hull, 2007–2011) Remaking the quality food sector in England and Italy (funded by ESRC CASE award (with East Riding of Yorkshire Council), now Research Fellow, LSE)

  • Joe Hall (PhD University of Hull, 2010-2014) The Formation, implementation and reception of gender and sexualities education in English Primary Schools (funded by ESRC award, now Lecturer at the University of Brighton)

  • Jo Byrne (PhD University of Hull, 2011-2015) The decline of Distant-water Trawling and the social reconstruction of Hull (funded by AHRC collaborative doctoral award (with Hull City Museums), now Research Institute Research Manager, University of Hull)

  • Alex Ombler (PhD University of Hull, 2011-2015) The Port of Hull 1945-2000: Change, adaptation and Memory (funded by University of Hull Studentship, now Archivist, East Riding of Yorkshire Council)

Current PhD supervisions 

  • Helen Bergin (PhD candidate, 2013-2017) Provincialising Exploration: the roles of Yorkshire in the Heroic Age of Antarctic Discovery (funded by University of Hull Studentship)

  • Deborah Mills (PhD candidate, 2014- , co-lead supervisor) Educational spaces and learning spaces (funded by University of Hull interdisciplinary Studentship, with The Centre for Educational Studies, University of Hull)

  • Bronia Chichlowska (PhD candidate, 2014- ) Geographies of Childhood in Colonial Nyassaland (funded by University of Hull Studentship)

  • Michael Howcroft (PhD candidate, 2017- ) City of Culture and city of Brexit: the contradictions of Hull (funded by University of Hull Studentship)


Professional highlights

Academic qualifications

  • BSc (Bristol)

  • PhD (Loughborough)

External roles

  • Chair, The Society for Libyan Studies (British Academy: British International Research Institute), 2016-2020

Awards and accolades

  • Comitato per la Valutazione della Ricerca (First Italian RAE), Member of Assessment panel in Geography, 2005-06 (one of eight globally)

  • Valutazione della Qualità della Ricerca (Second Italian RAE), Member of Assessment Panel in Geography, History and Anthropology, 2012-13

  • Member of Council, The Society for Libyan Studies (British Academy Overseas Institute), 2013-2017

  • Chair, Political Geography Research Group, Royal Geographical Society – Institute of British Geographers, 2006-2008

  • Faculty of Archaeology, History and Letters (Academic Board), The British School at Rome (British Academy: British International Research Institute), 2005-2008

  • Visiting Research Fellow, British School at Rome, 2002

  • Italian Government Ministry of Foreign Affairs Scholar, 1992-1993 (one of twelve across Europe)