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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 master's 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 master's 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.   


  • 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

Richard has long been interested in the treatment of international boundaries and territorial definition within political geography and the social sciences more generally, as reflected in his founding of the 'Geopolitics' journal in 1996.

He is a specialist in archival sources for the study of boundary and territorial disputes, particularly those of the Arabian Peninsula and Persian Gulf, the regional focus of his research interests.



  • 5SSG2040 Territory, State and Nation
  • 7SSG5212 Critical Geopolitics


  • Geopolitics, Territory and Security MA
  • 7SSG5090 Boundaries, Sovereignty and the Territorial State
  • 7SSG5091 Territorial and Boundary Dispute Resolution
  • 7SSG5092 Geopolitics of Natural Resource Disputes
  • 7SSG5153 Critical Geographies of Terrorism

PhD supervision

Richard welcomes students looking to research:

  • The evolution of disputed international boundaries
  • Imperial territorial policy and boundary-making.  
  • Emerging territorialities at the state and sub-state level
  • Developing borderland geographies
  • Territorial disputes as symbols of national and regional rivalries
  • Political geography/Geopolitics of the Arabian Peninsula/Persian Gulf

Further details

See Richard's research profile