Historic image of urban port town

Urban cultures research

Explore our work in urban cultures, 1 of our areas of expertise in History

Our research in the the area of urban cultures focuses on the histories, experiences, cultures and activities of urban-based societies.

It explores the relationship between the urban environment, individual and collective agency, and the rich and complex cultures that develop within cities – and by better understanding these connections, sheds new light on how urban cultures changed and evolved within international contexts.

Through our research, we're exploring how our urban environment has changed over time, and examining the particular social, historical and architectural factors that have shaped it.

We're studying how people imagined and interacted with their urban environment, and how living in a predominantly urban society affected the people, cultures and communities that existed within it.

Our research focuses covers the following topics


  • Magic, ghosts and the supernatural
  • Folklore and landscape
  • Gothic literature
  • Port towns and liminal spaces,
  • National identity
  • Migration
  • Nineteenth-century cultural, social and urban history
  • Sailortowns
  • Race, class and gender

Project highlights

  • Port Towns & Urban Culture

    Explores the importance of ports as liminal places where marine and urban spaces converge, producing a unique site of socio-cultural exchange that reinforced and challenged identities, perceptions and boundaries.

  • Supernatural Cities

    Brings together historians, cultural geographers, folklorists, social psychologists, anthropologists, sociologists, and literary scholars to explore the representation of urban heterotopias, otherness, haunting, estranging, the uncanny, enchantment, affective geographies, communal memory and the urban fantastical.

Discover our areas of expertise

Urban cultures is 1 of 3 areas of expertise in our History research area – explore the others below.

Research groups

We're researching aspects of social and cultural history in European societies, and further afield.
We're researching issues around citizenship and why people are considered to belong within certain nation-states.

Interested in a PhD in History?

Browse our postgraduate research degrees – including PhDs and MPhils – at our History postgraduate research degrees page.


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