I am a historical geographer with research interests in geography’s disciplinary and discursive histories, in book history, and in the history of science. My work has examined, among other topics, the history of polar science and exploration; the origins of environmentalist thought in geography; eighteenth- and nineteenth-century travel writing; the communication of scientific knowledge in text, image, and speech; the popular and scholarly reception of scientific knowledge; and the circulation and diffusion of ideas. My current book project—provisionally entitled The forgotten radical: William Macintosh and the transnational circulation of seditious print in the Age of Revolution—focuses on the eighteenth-century Scottish travel writer William Macintosh, author of Travels in Europe, Asia, and Africa (1782).
I am Reader in Historical Geography and Director of Graduate Studies (Admissions and Recruitment) in the Department of Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London and welcome enquiries from potential postgraduate students with research interests in historical geography. I am, in addition, Book Review Editor of the Journal of Historical Geography, Honorary Secretary of the Historical Geography Research Group of the RGS-IBG, and co-convener of the London Group of Historical Geographers.
Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham Hill, EGHAM, TW20 0EX, UK.
Books (Authored) | Books (Edited) | Journal Articles | Book Chapters | Book Reviews | Conference Reports | Theses
Keighren, Innes M., Charles W. J. Withers, and Bill Bell. Travels into print: exploration, writing, and publishing with John Murray, 1773–1859. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015.
Travels into print is published by the University of Chicago Press. You can purchase a discounted copy from amazon.co.uk and amazon.com.
In eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain, books of travel and exploration were much more than simply the printed experiences of intrepid authors. They were works of both artistry and industry—products of the complex, and often contested, relationships between authors and editors, publishers and printers. These books captivated the reading public and played a vital role in creating new geographical truths. In an age of global wonder and of expanding empires, there was no publisher more renowned for its travel books than the House of John Murray.
Drawing on detailed examination of the John Murray Archive of manuscripts, images, and the firm’s correspondence with its many authors—a list that included such illustrious explorers and scientists as Charles Darwin and Charles Lyell, and literary giants like Jane Austen, Lord Byron, and Sir Walter Scott—Travels into print considers how journeys of exploration became published accounts and how travelers sought to demonstrate the faithfulness of their written testimony and to secure their personal credibility. This fascinating study in historical geography and book history takes modern readers on a journey into the nature of exploration, the production of authority in published travel narratives, and the creation of geographical authorship—a journey bound together by the unifying force of a world-leading publisher.
“The originality of the book’s focus lies in its attention to the whole process of publishing, from the writer’s original notebooks through to the end product and its marketing. It moves from the facts of travel and geographical exploration to consider how the accounts of these travels appeared in print—a journey that turns out to have been rich in complications. This kind of attention is made possible by the uniquely full records that survive in the John Murray Archive. In this sense, the book is a case study; but the issues raised are so wide-ranging that it turns itself into a much more ambitious analysis. Each of the three authors has clearly brought different strengths to the project, broadening and deepening the book’s range. But they have worked together so effectively that the book reads as if it had been written by a single author: there is only one voice. A triumph for the virtues of collaboration and a novel, needed, and groundbreaking contribution, this is a truly original and major work, arguably the most important yet to appear in the burgeoning field of travel writing studies” — Peter Hulme, University of Essex.
“No one did more to transform travel writing into one of the nineteenth century’s most popular genres than the publishing firm of John Murray, and no one has done more to reveal the significance of that project than the authors of this important new book. Making meticulous use of the Murray archives, Keighren, Withers, and Bell have written a rich and penetrating account of how, as they put it, ‘the world was put into words.’ Their study offers fresh insights into the premises and practices of travel and exploration, the struggle to give credibility to travelers’ tales, the highly mediated process by which travelers became authors, the social and economic forces that shaped print culture, and much more, making it a work that scholars in a range of disciplines will want to read” — Dane Kennedy, George Washington University.
“Travels into print offers an original and nuanced approach to book history that exposes the rich interdisciplinary nature of the field. While the work claims neither to be a house history nor an exhaustive exploration of the Murray Archive, its three authors interweave perspectives from historical geography, history of science, art history, material culture, and literary studies to examine travel, topography, and the book trade. In the process, they demonstrate the complex technical, intellectual, political, cultural, and moral negotiations and interventions that bring printed works into the public sphere. Written in a highly engaging, accessible style, Travels into print gives a fascinating glimpse into the multivariate worlds of travel and exploration narratives and how they have been fashioned in and out of the imaginations of authors, publishers, and their audiences” — Sydney Shep, Victoria University of Wellington.
“John Murray’s prominence in the field permits wider conclusions to be drawn about the history of publishing and the production and reception of travel writing. The interdisciplinary nature of this treatment makes the work accessible and relevant to scholars in many fields. Recommended.” — Hillary Corbett, Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries.
“[An] impressive work of scholarship on the House of Murray.” — Adriana Craciun, Writing Arctic disaster: authorship and exploration.
“Travels into Print provides a crucial textual backstory, as it were, to more theoretically inflected studies of nineteenth-century travel writing, one that sheds new light on the complex ways colonial encounters and narratives made the journey into print...[the book] has much to offer scholars of nineteenth-century literature, history, and print culture. Meticulously researched, the book also forms a fine introduction to the interdisciplinary nature of travel studies and to the current state of scholarship in the field.” — Christopher M. Keirstead, Nineteenth-Century Contexts: An Interdisciplinary Journal.
“заметной вехой в исследованиях литературы путешествий [a landmark in the study of travel literature].” — Федор Корандей [Fedor Korandei], Ab Imperio.
“This is a work solidly based on extensive research in the John Murray Archive…As is the custom with the University of Chicago Press, production standards are of the highest and at a price much more favourable than is the norm for British publishers. The coloured plates, and black and white illustrations in the text are all carefully chosen to add to the narrative…Readers with an interest in nineteenth-century publishing…will find much of interest.” — Robert Laurie, The Library: The Transactions of the Bibliographical Society.
“This methodologically sophisticated study is a landmark in interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary scholarship…the book offers a lucid account of the scientific, political and cultural contexts in which John Murray’s travel writers authored their narratives of non-European explorations. Historians of science and geographers will find vital information about the ways travel and exploration contributed to the emergence of modern science…Travels into Print [is] an invaluable contribution to the fields of geography, history of science and history of the book. It will be a benchmark against which the value of further interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary studies will be measured.” — Eleni Loukopoulou, The British Journal for the History of Science.
“[A] significant interdisciplinary study that makes contributions not just to the history of geographical exploration and of the book trade, but also to the history of science, art, and cartography, as well as to popular culture, literary studies, and theories of the meaning and reception of ideas…In summary, this is a well-researched, in-depth analysis of a relevant and interesting subject. It is recommended for those interested in historical geography, the history of books, or the relation between popular culture and exploration.” — Beau Riffenburgh, Polar Record.
“[A]stute and valuable…Though Travels in Print is concerned with a specific genre of writing which appeared from one publishing house at a well-defined moment in time, the intervention it makes is an important one to remember for all students of authorship.” — Jasper Schelstraete, Authorship.
Keighren, Innes M. Bringing geography to book: Ellen Semple and the reception of geographical knowledge. London: I.B.Tauris, 2010.
Bringing geography to book is published by I.B.Tauris. You can purchase a discounted copy from amazon.co.uk and amazon.com.
The publication of Ellen Semple’s Influences of Geographic Environment in 1911—a treatise on what would later be called environmental determinism—coincided with the emergence of geography as an independent academic discipline in North America and Britain. A controversial text written by one of America’s first female professional geographers, it exerted an important but varied influence on generations of geographers. Some considered it a monument to Semple’s scholarship and erudition—a timely manifesto for a scientific approach to human geography. For others, it was conceptually flawed. Accepted by some, repudiated by others, Influences was lauded and criticized in almost equal measure.
Innes M. Keighren examines the different reactions to Semple’s book. He explains why Influences was encountered differently by different people, at different times and in different places, and reveals why the book aroused the passions it did. Attending to archival records, personal correspondence, published reviews, provenance and marginalia, the author traces a geography of the book’s reception and outlines the contribution geography can make to understanding the way knowledge and ideas, in the guise of the printed text, are conceived, transmitted and received. The result is a pioneering work that provides a wholesale re-visioning of the way in which geographical knowledge is disseminated.
“[R]esearchers working on the historical geographies of print media and their audiences will surely applaud Keighren’s detailed description of how Influences ‘travelled’” — Noel Castree, Annals of the Association of American Geographers.
“As an easily read, scholarly text Keighren’s book is a valuable case study of the circulation of knowledge” — Ron Johnston, Journal of Historical Geography.
“[A] promising venture by an author from whose research we can expect to see further innovative contributions in the years to come” — William A. Koelsch, The Northeastern Geographer.
“[D]etailed in execution and refreshingly bold in design…at once an addition to the literature, and a happy accomplishment much the product of diligence and goodly judgement” — Geoffrey J. Martin, The Geographical Review.
“I commend Keighren for his substantial and innovative study” — Janice Monk, Environment and History.
“Must reading for history of geography and science scholars. Highly recommended” — Leon Yacher, Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries.
Craggs, Ruth, Hilary Geoghegan, and Innes M. Keighren, eds. Collaborative geographies: the politics, practicalities, and promise of working together. Historical Geography Research Series No. 43. London: Royal Geographical Society, 2013.
Collaborative geographies is published by the Historical Geography Research Group of the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers).
Given the exciting and innovative nature of current and recent collaboration in historical geography, this volume reflects on the nature of the collaborative process—its politics, practicalities, and promise. The collection’s ten chapters explore what it means, both practically and intellectually, to work together in the production of geographical knowledge. By drawing together the reflections of students, academics, and partner organisations, this volume explores the benefits and challenges of working collaboratively. In addition to being a showcase for current collaborative undertakings, the volume also examines how productive relationships are developed and managed, how the competing demands of the academic and public sector are negotiated, and how geographical knowledges are communicated to, and informed by, partner organisations.
“Collaborative Geographies is…a celebratory text, and it represents an important addition to the small body of literature that seeks to engage with the idea of ‘collaboration’ and the related concepts of impact and knowledge exchange” — Ealasaid Munro, Journal of Historical Geography.
Evans, Sarah L., Innes M. Keighren, and Avril Maddrell. “Coming of age? Marking the centenary of women’s admission to the Royal Geographical Society”. The Geographical Journal 179, no. 4 (2013): 373–76.
Keighren, Innes M., and Charles W. J. Withers. “Questions of inscription and epistemology in British travelers’ accounts of early nineteenth-century South America”. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 101, no. 6 (2011): 1331–46.
Withers, Charles W. J., and Innes M. Keighren. “Travels into print: authoring, editing and narratives of travel and exploration, c.1815–c.1857”. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 36, no. 4 (2011): 560–73. [Anthologized in Travel writing: critical concepts in literary and cultural studies, edited by Tim Youngs and Charles Forsdick, vol. 1, 175–98. London: Routledge, 2012]
Craggs, Ruth, Hilary Geoghegan, and Innes M. Keighren. “Introducing collaborative geographies”. In Collaborative geographies: the politics, practicalities, and promise of working together, Historical Geography Research Series No. 43, edited by Ruth Craggs, Hilary Geoghegan, and Innes M. Keighren, 5–10. London: Royal Geographical Society, 2013.
Keighren, Innes M. “Fieldwork in the archive”. In Fieldwork for human geography, by Richard Phillips and Jennifer Johns, 138–40. London: SAGE, 2012.
Keighren, Innes M. “Reading the messy reception of Influences of geographic environment (1911)”. In Geographies of the book, edited by Miles Ogborn and Charles W. J. Withers, 277–98. Farnham: Ashgate, 2010.
Keighren, Innes M. “Breakfasting with William Morris Davis: everyday episodes in the history of geography”. In Practising the archive: reflections on methods and practice in historical geography, Historical Geography Research Series No. 40, edited by Elizabeth A. Gagen, Hayden Lorimer, and Alex Vasudevan, 47–55. London: Royal Geographical Society, 2007.
Keighren, Innes M. “Knowledge made human. Review of Scholars in action: the practice of knowledge and the figure of the savant in the 18th century, edited by André Holenstein, Hubert Steinke, and Martin Stuber in collaboration with Philippe Rogger”. H-HistGeog, H-Net Reviews (2014).
Keighren, Innes M. “Turning the pages of science. Review of Science in print: essays on the history of science and the culture of print, edited by Rima D. Apple, Gregory J. Downey, and Stephen L. Vaughn”. H-HistGeog, H-Net Reviews (2013).
Keighren, Innes M. “Reading what Humboldt really wrote. Review of Political essay on the island of Cuba, by Alexander von Humboldt. Edited with an introduction by Vera M. Kutzinski and Ottmar Ette”. H-HistGeog, H-Net Reviews (2011).
Keighren, Innes M. “Science: a very human endeavour. Review of Never pure: historical studies of science as if it was produced by people with bodies, situated in time, space, culture, and society, and struggling for credibility and authority, by Steven Shapin”. H-HistGeog, H-Net Reviews (2011).
Keighren, Innes M. “Review of The passage to Cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the shaping of America, by Laura Dassow Walls and Alexander von Humboldt and the botanical exploration of the Americas, by H. Walter Lack”. Journal of Historical Geography 36, no. 2 (2010): 234–35.
Keighren, Innes M. “Revelations and revolutions in nineteenth-century earth science. Review of Worlds before Adam: the reconstruction of geohistory in the age of reform, by Martin J. S. Rudwick”. H-HistGeog, H-Net Reviews (2009).
Keighren, Innes M. “Writing the history of the world. Review of Bursting the limits of time: the reconstruction of geohistory in the age of revolution, by Martin J. S. Rudwick”. H-HistGeog, H-Net Reviews (2006).
Keighren, Innes M. “Victorian meteorology: tracing popular passion and elite science. Review of Predicting the weather: Victorians and the science of meteorology, by Katherine Anderson”. Endeavour 30, no. 2 (2006): 42–43.
Keighren, Innes M. “Reading the reception of Ellen Churchill Semple’s Influences of geographic environment (1911)”. PhD thesis, University of Edinburgh (2008).
Keighren, Innes M. “A Scot of the Antarctic: the reception and commemoration of William Speirs Bruce”. MSc thesis, University of Edinburgh (2003).
Keighren, Innes M. “The imaginary worlds of John Kirtland Wright”. BSc dissertation, University of Edinburgh (2002).
Conference Papers | Invited Papers
“Catechisms, grammars, and readers: towards a generic history of geography textbooks”. Paper presented at the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers), London, 30 August–2 September 2016.
“William Macintosh’s Travels: colonial mobility and the circulation of knowledge”. Paper presented at the 16th International Conference of Historical Geographers, London, 5–10 July 2015.
“‘Consistent neither with candour nor truth’: negotiating authorship and authority in William Macintosh’s Travels in Europe, Asia, and Africa (1782)”. Paper presented at the 111th Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Chicago, 21–25 April 2015.
“Circling the Society: women’s geographical frontiers in Edwardian London”. Paper presented at the 110th Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Tampa, 8–12 April 2014.
“Circling the Society: women’s geographical frontiers in Edwardian London”. Paper presented at the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers), London, 28–30 August 2013.
“‘[D]aring absurdities, studied misrepresentations, and abominable falsehoods’: the geographical writings of William Macintosh (1738–c. 1809)”. Paper presented at the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers), London, 31 August–2 September 2011.
“‘Written amid hurry and confusion’: Richard Wilbraham’s inscriptive practices as regimen and comfort”. Paper presented at the 107th Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Seattle, 12–16 April 2011.
“Geologists on tour: representing the scenic and scientific gaze of earth scientists”. Paper presented at the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, Manchester, 26–28 August 2009.
“Journeys through print: John Murray and nineteenth-century travel writing”. Paper presented at ‘Tradition & Innovation’, the 17th annual conference of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing, University of St Michael’s College, University of Toronto, 23–26 June 2009.
“Accidental geographers: nineteenth-century British travellers in South America”. Paper presented at the 105th Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Las Vegas, Nevada. 22–27 March 2009.
“The ‘bogey-lady of a slightly silly concept’: rethinking the legacy of Ellen Churchill Semple”. Paper presented at the 103rd Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, San Francisco, California. 17–21 April 2007.
“Bringing geography to the book: charting the reception of Influences of geographic environment”. Paper presented at the RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers), London. 30 August–1 September 2006.
“Bringing geography to the book: charting the reception of Influences of geographic environment”. Paper presented at the 102nd Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers, Chicago, Illinois. 7–11 March 2006.
“Miss Semple’s Influences: a study in the historical geography of authorship, publishing, and reading”. Paper presented at ‘Material Cultures and the Creation of Knowledge’, Centre for the History of the Book, University of Edinburgh. 22–24 July 2005.
“Miss Semple’s Influences: a study in the historical geography of authorship, publishing, and reading”. Paper presented at ‘Navigating Texts and Contexts’, the 13th annual conference of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. 14–17 July 2005.
“Fragments, mother lodes, and the gaps that remain: recuperating the forgotten geographies of William Macintosh”. Address to the Human Geography Research Group seminar series, School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, University of Glasgow, 30 March 2016.
“Books on the move: travellers’ libraries and practices of en-route reading in the nineteenth century”. Paper presented at ‘Texts in Place/Place in Texts’, a one-day symposium forming part of ‘Cultural Participation in Place’, a Humanities and Arts Research Centre Fellowship, Royal Holloway, University of London, 21 May 2015.
“The plain and unvarnished truth: authorship, authority, and the search for credibility in nineteenth-century travel writing”. Address to the Society, Space and Culture seminar series, School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology, Queen’s University Belfast, 19 February 2015.
“Travels in a publisher’s archive: John Murray and nineteenth-century travel publishing”. Address to the Archives and Texts seminar series, Department of English Literature and Department of Modern Languages and European Studies, University of Reading, 27 October 2014.
“Beyond belief: knowing the world through books of travel, 1778–1859”. Address to the London Group of Historical Geographers, Senate House, University of London, 1 October 2013.
“‘What use is it to tell [the] truth if it looks like a fib?’: the search for credibility in nineteenth-century travel writing”. Address to the Trinity College Geography Society, University of Cambridge, 9 May 2013.
“Travel as text: working with a publisher’s archive”. Paper presented at ‘Silk Roads II: Objects, Collections, and Exhibitions’, a workshop of the AHRC Research Network ‘Re-Enacting the Silk Road: Transnational Encounters for the 21st Century’, Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers), London, 7 February 2013.
“Forgetting ourselves: canonicity and memory in geography”. Paper presented at ‘The Geographical Canon?’, St Catherine’s College, University of Oxford, 15 June 2012.
“Circulating seditious knowledge: the ‘daring absurdities, studied misrepresentations, and abominable falsehoods’ of William Macintosh”. Address to the Human Geography seminar series, School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol, 24 January 2012.
“Exploring the world from Albemarle Street: reading John Murray’s books of travel”. Address to the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, 29 March 2010.
“Journeys through print: John Murray and the extraordinary travels of Maria Graham”. Address to the West Port Book Festival, Edinburgh, 15 August 2009.
“Inscription, observation, and trust: understanding British travellers’ accounts of nineteenth-century South America”. Address to the Human Geography Research Group / Scotland’s Transatlantic Relations Project, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, 16 February 2009.
“Humboldt’s disciples or a capitalist vanguard? The written accounts of nineteenth-century British travellers to South America”. Paper presented at ‘Spaces for, and of Historical Geography’, Institute of Geography, University of Edinburgh. 6 November 2008.
“‘Metaphysics in muslin’: Maria Graham, John Murray, and travels in nineteenth-century South America”. Address to the Edinburgh Book History Seminar. 31 October 2008.
“Postgraduate voice”. Paper presented at ‘Practising Historical Geography’, the 10th annual postgraduate meeting of the Historical Geography Research Group, School of Geographical Sciences, University of Bristol. 2 November 2005.
“Reviewing Miss Semple’s Influences: a historical geography of reception”. Address to the Department of Geography, University of Kentucky. 29 April 2005.