Photo of Richard D Sheldon

Dr Richard D Sheldon

B.A.(Hons.), M.A.(Lond.), Ph.D.(Birm.)

  • BS8 1TB


Research output per year

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Personal profile

Research interests

I am a social and economic historian by training and role but I also have strong interests in the history of ideas. This means I sometimes work on international comparisons over long periods of time and at other times study individual thinkers in close context.

My core interests lie in these main areas:

Global history 1700-1950,

British especially the history of radicalism and protest movements

The comparative study of famines and famine relief c.1700 to the present

The history of social and economic thought including demography.

I am currently working on economic underdevelopment and famines under imperial rule since 1750.

Research supervision

I welcome enquiries from prospective students wishing to research any topics linked to my interests. Past completions include:

Julian Davies, 'Artisans and the City: A Social History of Bristol's Shoemakers and Tailors, 1770-1800' (PhD 2003), joint supervision with Dr Kirsty Reid

Chris Heal, 'The hatting industry of Bristol & South Gloucestershire, 1540-1900' (PhD, 2012), Joint supervisor with Dr Evan Jones

Peter Evans, 'British and American Socialist Utopian Literature, c.1888-1900' (PhD, 2014), Joint supervisor with Dr James Thompson

Grace Di Meo 'Trial and Retribution: Gender, Murder and Justice in London, 1815-1868' (MPhil, 2015) Joint supervisor with James Thompson

Joe Krulder, 'Admiral Byng's British Execution' (PhD, 2015)

James Banfield,  'Police, Political Economy And The Crisis Of Security: Considering Patrick Colquhoun In The History Of British Economic Thought, 1770-1810' (MPhil, 2017)

Roger Bingham, 'The National Smelting Site at Avonmouth, Bristol: Government and the Market in Local, National and International Context' (PhD, 2018)

 Evangelos Zarokostas, 'From observatory to dominion: geopolitics, colonial knowledge and the origins of the British Protectorate of the Ionian Islands, 1797-1822' (PhD, 2018)

Daniel O' Brien, 'The Funeral as an Opportunity for Social Display 1700-1820' (PhD, 2018)

Leonard Baker, 'Spaces, Places, Custom and Protest in Rural Somerset and Dorset, c. 1780-1867' (PhD, 2019)

 My current students are working on a variety of projects including Gender and Crime in the nineteenth century; The Development of the Railway System in the English West; Franz Borkenau and the idea of Totalitarianism.


Structured keywords and research groupings

  • Urban Research Cluster
  • Cabot Institute Food Security Research

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Research Output

Figuring out the population bomb. Politics, science and demography 1948-2030

Sheldon, R. D., 2021, Sustainability and complexity: towards a post-disciplinary approach. Springer London

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book

Famine, Colonialism and Underdevelopment

Sheldon, R. D., 2020, (In preparation) Palgrave Encyclopedia of Imperialism and Anti-Imperialism. 2 ed. Palgrave Macmillan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


  • 3 Participation in conference
  • 2 Invited talk
  • 2 Media coverage or participation

Adam Smith's Invisible Hand

Richard D Sheldon (Participant)

30 Apr 2012

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesInvited talk

Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaelogical society

Richard D Sheldon (Participant)

25 Mar 2013

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference

Edmund Burke's statue in Bristol after Black Lives Matter Protests

Richard D Sheldon (Speaker)

15 Jun 2020

Activity: Other activity typesMedia coverage or participation