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Richard Schofield

Richard Schofield

Richard SchofieldSenior Lecturer 


Tel: +44 (0)207848 1345

Department of Geography
King's College London
K7.53 King's Building 
Strand Campus

Research Interests

  • Territorial policy in decolonisation
  • The unique geopolitics of island sovereignty dispute
  • Delimitation questions in complex territorial dispute settlement
  • Historiography in boundary and border geographies
  • Multi-disciplinarity and dispute settlement


After studying Geography and the Middle East at the School of Oriental and African Studies and the University of Durham in the early 1980s, Richard Schofield spent a couple of years running an oriental bookshop in London, simultaneously writing up his Masters thesis on the Shatt al Arab (Iran-Iraq) dispute for publication. Thereafter, he collaborated with Gerald Blake in a major archival research project on Arabian Boundaries, the success of which allowed for the institution of Durham’s International Boundaries Research Unit in 1989. 

Richard then joined the SOAS Geography department part-time to help run its Geopolitics Research Centre. Most other time was spent in dusty government archives, either compiling lengthy and detailed documentary anthologies on Britain’s colonial boundaries or researching historical aspects of live boundary cases in International Law.  

Richard founded the highly-rated Geopolitics (and International Boundaries) journal in 1996 and took up a full-time post during 1997 in SOAS Geography to launch and convene the Masters programme in International Boundary Studies.  This survives at King’s in modified and expanded form to constitute Geography’s well-regarded Geopolitics, Territory and Security programme.   

Richard made the short hop down to the Strand in 2001 with the merger of the SOAS and King’s Geography departments.  In addition to convening the aforementioned Masters programme, he teaches a popular 2nd year undergraduate module – Territory, State and Nation.  Ten doctoral students have now successfully completed their theses under Richard’s supervision.  He is also currently Chair of the SSPP Postgraduate Taught (Masters) Examinations Board.  

Richard continues to advise state governments, law and oil companies on contemporary territorial issues and frequently appears on the media to discuss such matters.  His publications were used as the base references in the settlement of the Iraq-Kuwait (1993) and Saudi Arabia-Yemen (2000) territorial disputes, while he made a decisive impact as an expert witness in the Abyei arbitration at the PCA during 2008-9. 

Richard’s major study Arabian Boundaries: New Documents, 1966-1975 was released in 2009-10 by Cambridge University Press in 18 volumes. In April 2013 he co-convened (with Volterra Fietta and the UK Law of the Sea Division) the inaugural London International Boundary Conference at the Royal Geographical Society.   Current research projects include The Unique Geopolitics of Island Sovereignty Disputes and Border Geographies: Historiography, Ethnography and Law

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