• Room 02.029 - Geography Building

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

I welcome PhD applications in the following areas, informed by an overarching interest in the historical geographies of knowledge: - History of geographical knowledge (since 1800) - History of modern science and religion - History of the earth and life sciences


Research output per year

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Personal profile


My research interests fall within the following two themes:    
  • Historical geographies of ideas
  • History of geographical knowledge


Research Statement

My research interests include the cultural history and geography of the life and earth sciences, with a particular emphasis on religious responses to scientific developments in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. My earliest work examined the reception of glacial theory in Victorian Edinburgh, investigated the historical geographies of Scottish natural history societies in the period 1831-1900 and, with Charles Withers and Rebekah Higgitt, explored the role of geography in the work of the British Association for the Advancement of Science from 1831 – c.1933. My book on natural history societies in Victorian Scotland was published by Pickering & Chatto in 2009 and was awarded the Frank Watson Book Prize for Scottish History in 2011. In 2014, I completed a two-year AHRC-funded project on science in nineteenth-century Belfast. I have also written about the metaphysical works of the geologist James Croll and the reception of ideas about human evolution in the context of religious debates about the creation of Eve. More recent work has centred on public speech as a situated mode of interaction between science and culture in the nineteenth century. A monograph on this subject examining the lecture tours of five British celebrity scientists in Gilded Age America is nearing completion. With Professor David N. Livingstone, I have just embarked on a 27 month project investigating debates about evolution and theology in the early twentieth century. This is part of a larger John Templeton Foundation-funded project on conjunctive explanations in science and religion (CESAR).   


GGY1011 Human Geographies of the Modern World

GGY1012 Spaces of Development

GGY2055 Research Design and Professional Development

GGY2056 Contemporary Approaches to Geographical Enquiry

GGY3066 Geography, Science and Society

GGY3081 Dissertation

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Research Output

Scale, territory and complexity: historical geographies of science and religion

Finnegan, D., 01 Oct 2019, Rethinking History, Science and Religion: An Exploration of Conflict and the Complexity Principle. Lightman, B. (ed.). Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, p. 206-220 15 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

The Correspondence of John Tyndall, Volume 7

Finnegan, D. (ed.), Jackson, R. (ed.) & Kaaland, N. (ed.), 25 Nov 2019, University of Pittsburgh Press. 400 p. (The Correspondence of John Tyndall)

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Crozier’s penguin: an object history of maritime and museum science

Finnegan, D., 21 Apr 2018, In : Endeavour . 42, 1, p. 42-47 6 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
  • 14 Downloads (Pure)

    Review: Heike Jons, Peter Meusburger and Michael Heffernan (eds) Mobilities of Knowledge

    Finnegan, D., Jan 2018, In : Journal of Historical Geography. 59, p. 108-109

    Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review


    Journal of Historical Geography (Journal)

    Diarmid Finnegan (Peer reviewer)

    17 Jan 2020

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPublication peer-review

    AHRC Peer Review College (External organisation)

    Diarmid Finnegan (Advisor)

    2020 → …

    Activity: Membership typesMembership of peer review panel or committee

    Scotland's Historians of Science Virtual Conference

    Diarmid Finnegan (Participant)

    09 Jun 2020

    Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

    Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers (Journal)

    Diarmid Finnegan (Peer reviewer)

    01 Apr 2020

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPublication peer-review

    Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers (Journal)

    Diarmid Finnegan (Peer reviewer)

    21 Jan 2019

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPublication peer-review

    Press / Media

    ‘Men of Rock: the Big Freeze’, BBC 2

    Diarmid Finnegan


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Public Engagement Activities

    Sunday Sequence, BBC Radio Ulster

    Diarmid Finnegan


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert Comment


    The Old World in the New: Theories of Pre-Columbian Contact in Science and Society, 1860–1920

    Author: Ward, W., Jul 2020

    Supervisor: Finnegan, D. (Supervisor) & Livingstone, D. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


    The Victoria Institute 1865-1932: A Case Study in the Relationship between Science and Religion

    Author: Mathieson, S., Sep 2018

    Supervisor: Holmes, A. (Supervisor) & Finnegan, D. (Supervisor)

    Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy