Professor Ian Klinke

Professor Ian Klinke

Tutorial Fellow in Human Geography




I am responsible for human geography teaching at St John’s. I also lecture at the School of Geography and the Environment, where I hold an Associate Professorship. My PhD is from University College London.


I currently lecture across the undergraduate curriculum, particularly on issues of political geography. My option course ‘Geography at war’ is open to second-year students. I have contributed to the UNIQ Summer School and co-organised subject days for state school applicants. I am determined to play my part in making Oxford an inclusive place.

Research Interests

Ian Klinke at Chatham House

I am a political and historical geographer who works on the history of geopolitics and the intellectual far right. I have recently completed a book on Friedrich Ratzel (1844–1904), the controversial founder of political geography and populariser of the term Lebensraum (living space). Life, Earth, Colony: Friedrich Ratzel's Necropolitical Geography (University of Michigan Press, 2023) illuminates his ideas and traces their reception from the late 19th century to the present. My first book, Cryptic Concrete: A Subterranean Journey into Cold War Germany (Wiley, 2018), examines West Germany’s now abandoned military landscape. It grapples with the socio-material architecture designed in the 1950s and 60s to protect and take life in nuclear war. In 2024, I will hold a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship.

What inspired me?

I found my way to geography both because of an interest in the history of geographic thought and because the field's interdisciplinarity spoke to the way in which I think. Human geography is a fascinating place to explore issues such as global inequality, climate change and colonialism in their contemporary and historical contexts. Because of its scope, it is also a fantastic place to theorise the relationship between society and space, nature and culture. What is there not to like?

Selected publications

Life, Earth, Colony

Klinke I., Life, Earth, Colony: Friedrich Ratzel's Necropolitical Geography (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2023)

Klinke I., ‘Vitalist temptations: Life, earth and the nature of war’, Political Geography, 72: 1–9 (2019)

Klinke - Cryptic Concrete

Klinke I., Cryptic Concrete: A Subterranean Journey into Cold War Germany (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2018)

Klinke I., Bassin M., ‘Lebensraum and its discontents’, Journal of Historical Geography, 61: 53–58 (2018)

Klinke I., ‘Geopolitics and the political right: Lessons from Germany’, International Affairs, 94(3): 495–514 (2018)