Engels book

My new book, A Rebel’s Guide to Engels, is now available (published by Bookmarks).

Here’s the link to buy it: https://bookmarksbookshop.co.uk/view/49652/A+Rebels+Guide+to+Engels

Video of one of the first launch events online from Bookmarks books: www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=846151445907867&ref=watch_permalink

For more on the Rebel’s Guide series and other Bookmarks publications go to: https://bookmarksbookshop.co.uk/

Call for Papers
RGS-IBG Annual International Conference, London or online (to be confirmed) 31 August – 3 Sept 2021

Friedrich Engels and Geography

Convenor: Dr Camilla Royle (King’s College London)

Sponsorship: History and Philosophy of Geography Research Group https://hpgrg.org.uk/

Deadline for submissions: Monday 1 March 2021.

Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) was Karl Marx’s closest collaborator. Although mentioned less often than Marx in geographical discussions, he was an important theorist in his own right. With his pathbreaking work The Condition of the Working Class in England (1845) he analysed the social drivers of poverty, ill health and environmental pollution in urban areas (Clark and Foster, 2006), concerns he returned to in his later work on housing (Larsen et al, 2016, Smith, 2008, p179). Engels was aware of the devastating effects of pandemics in the Victorian era and described how people’s working and living conditions allowed for deadly diseases such as cholera and typhoid to spread. But he was driven by the need to change this reality. Influenced by the Chartist movement, the revolutions of 1848 and the Paris Commune he was a political organiser and journalist. His wide-ranging work addressed science, anthropology, philosophy, military history and more (Hunt, 2010).

Engels worked closely with Marx, his economic thinking influenced Capital and he edited the second and third volumes after Marx’s death (Mavroudeas, 2020). However, some have questioned whether Engels’ interpretation of Marxism gave it a deterministic, economistic or dualist slant alien to Marx’s own thought (Carver, 2003; Smith, 2008, pp34-5). They have suggested that this was partly responsible for reformist and authoritarian versions of socialist practice in the 20th century.

The recent bicentenary of Engels’ birth has led to renewed discussion of his life and ideas. This session will examine his contribution to geographical thinking today. Possible themes might include (but are not limited to):

  • Engels as a philosopher and as a Marxist
  • Geographies of workers’ and peasant struggles and revolutions
  • The housing question today
  • Engels on social epidemiology, health and urban life
  • Engels on women, gender and the family
  • Engels on science, nature and the environment
  • The relevance (or otherwise) of Engels to geography in the 21st century

Proposed format: Papers and discussant. 1 x 1 hr 40 minute session.

Discussant: Terrell Carver of the University of Bristol

Please send abstracts (maximum of 250 words) for a 15-20 minute paper presentation to Camilla.e.royle@kcl.ac.uk by 1 March. Include a proposed title and affiliation.


Please indicate whether you would prefer to take part in person, online or either.

The conference has revised contribution limits for presenters so be aware that you will only be able to present one paper during the conference.



Carver, T, 2003, Engels: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press).

Clark, B and JB Foster, 2006, The Environmental Conditions of the Working Class, Organization & Environment, 19(3), pp375-388.

Harvey, D, 1972, Revolutionary and Counter Revolutionary Theory in Geography and the Problem of Ghetto Formation, Antipode, 4(2), pp1-13.

Hunt, T, 2010, The Frockcoated Communist: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels (Penguin).

Larsen, H, Hansen, A, MacLeod, G and Slater, T, 2016, The Housing Question Revisited, ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 15(3), pp580-589.

Mavroudeas, S, 2020, Friedrich Engels and his Contribution to Marxism, Human Geography, 13(2), pp187-190.

Smith, N, 2008, Uneven Development: Nature, Capital, and the Production of Space, 3rd ed (University of Georgia Press).