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Prof Alan Latham
North West Wing
Gower Street
Prof Alan Latham profile picture
  • Professor of Human Geography
  • Dept of Geography
  • Faculty of S&HS

1990 BA (Economics and Geography) Massey University
1992 MA (Human Geography), Massey University
1997 PhD, University of Bristol
1996-1997 DAAD Visiting Research Fellow, Technische Universität Berlin
1997-1999 NZFoRST Research Fellow, University of Auckland
1999-2006 Lecturer in Geography, University of Southampton
2006- Lecturer, Associate Professor, and then Professor in Human Geography, UCL

Research Summary

I am an urban geographer. My research focuses on three key areas:

  1. Sociality and urban life. I am interested in the everyday patterns of sociality through which urban dwellers go about “making a world” (Hannerz 1980) for themselves in the city. Perhaps because it is often playful and just plain banal, sociality has frequently been taken for granted or overlooked by mainstream social science. It has been left to inspired mavericks like Simmel, Goffman and Garfinkel to study the patterns and dynamics of sociality. Drawing on these writers and that of contemporary researchers like Pahl and Maffesoli I have through research projects in Berlin, London and Auckland been exploring the socialities through which a range of distinctive urban cultures emerge and are maintained. I am interested in the unique – if often fragile – bonds of solidarity that urban sociality generates.
  2. Globalization and the cultural economy of cities. If sociality is at the core of the urban experience, so too is globalization. Cities are places where different cultures and ideas rub together and generate all sorts of new hybrids. Parallel to my interest in sociality, a second focus of my research is on the small scale and intimate levels of this mixing. I look at the ways that people incorporate previously alien materials and practices into their day-to-day existence, and how these materials are employed in reconfiguring existing social relationships. I am particularly interested in the key role played by certain cultural entrepreneurs – and the networks they build – in facilitating and managing these processes of translation and movement.
  3. Corporeal mobility. Globalisation is about the movement of materials, images, ideas and people across international borders. All sorts of other forms mobility also define the contemporary city. My third research interest focuses on the intersection between these two facts. I am interested in the ways which certain internationally mobile individuals and groups use globalization – and the transportation and communication networks that sustain it – to create life-projects that are strung across enormous distances. Drawing on the work of Ong, Raj, M. P. Smith, and others I am interested in exploring the mundane, quite ordinary, relationships and practices through which educated migrants to world cities like London negotiate their way through the city. A particular focus is on the role of friendship networks and personal relationships in configuring people’s movement.
Teaching Summary

Undergraduate Teaching

I convene and teach on two undergraduate course:

  • GEOG 2023 Urban Geography (convenor)
  • GEOG 3058 Berlin Field Class (convenor)

Graduate Teaching

I convene and teach the postgraduate course:

  • URBNG005 Public Space (convenor)
I also contribute to a number of other MSc modules:
  • URBNG001 City Space and Power
  • URBNG002 Urban Imaginations 
  • GEOGG004 Thinking Space
  • GEOGG201 Interdisciplinary Approaches to Migration
  • GEOGG202 Issues in Global Migration
01-OCT-2020 Professor of Human Geography Geography UCL, United Kingdom
Academic Background
1997   Doctor of Philosophy University of Bristol
1992   Master of Arts Massey University
1990   Bachelor of Arts Massey University
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