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Professor Richard Smith FBA


About this Fellow

My research and publications have focused on the history of marriage, principally in medieval Europe, peasant inheritance practices and customary law, welfare practices and their demographic correlates in medieval and early modern England and urban historical epidemiology. Much of this work has been undertaken while Director of the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine at Oxford University and Director of the Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure. I currently hold a Senior Investigator Award from the Wellcome Trust (2014-2019) to undertake research on 'Migration, Mortality and Medicalization: investigating the long-run epidemiological consequences of urbanisation in England 1600-1939'.



Current post

  • Emeritus Professor of Historical Geography and Demography and Director, Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure, University of Cambridge

Past Appointments

  • University Lecturer in Population History, University of Oxford, 1983 - 1989
  • Reader in History of Medicine and Director of Wellcome Unit for History of Medicine, University of Oxford, 1990 - 1994
  • Director, Cambridge Group for the History of Population and Social Structure, University of Cambridge, 1994
  • Emeritus Professor of Historical Demography and Geography, University of Cambridge, 2011


Life, Death and the Elderly: Historical Perspectives 1991


Welfare of the Individual and the group: Malthus and externalitioes American Philosophical Society 2001


The World We Have Gained: Histories of Population and Social Structure 1986


Bastardy and its comparative history 1981


Land, kinship and life-cycle 1984


Medieval society and the manor court 1996


Other Anthropology and Geography Fellows

Professor Hastings Donnan

The comparative study of borders that have experienced conflict, violence and war; related issues of trauma, memory and displacement; border crossings, transitions and transgressions; Islam; Ireland; Pakistan

Professor Stuart Elden

The history, concept and practice of territory; contemporary territorial and boundary disputes and geopolitics; political and social theory; the history of geographical and political thought

Professor David Mosse

Historical anthropology of religion, social-political systems and livelihoods, especially with reference to Indian caste inequality and activism, religious pluralism (Hindu and Christian) and common property resources; the anthropology of knowledge, institutions and international development.

Professor Richard Wrangham

Chimpanzee social ecology; primate and human behaviour in a comparative framework, including influences of diet, violence and culture; self-domestication and the evolution of reduced aggression; primate conservation