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Professor Richard Smith

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


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'.

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 - )

Principal publications
Land, kinship and life-cycle, 1984
Bastardy and its comparative history, 1981
Medieval society and the manor court, 1996
Life, Death and the Elderly: Historical Perspectives, 1991
Welfare of the Individual and the group: Malthus and externalitioes, 2001
The World We Have Gained: Histories of Population and Social Structure, 1986


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