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Richard Blakemore


Areas of interest

My research focuses on the history of human society and the sea, particularly during the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. My main current interest is the social history of seafarers. As sailors travelled ever further and more frequently during the early modern period, building and maintaining commercial networks and contacts across cultures, they brought home new wealth, objects and ideas. They also contributed to the emergence of new social, economic, political, and legal situations in Britain, Europe, and around the globe. My present research considers the experiences of seafarers across this period, their perceptions of the maritime environment, their professional culture, their relationships with communities ashore, and their role within empire and other political and legal regimes. I also have broader research interests in the development of maritime communities, global and maritime trade and warfare, cultural interactions with the sea, maritime law, and the history and popular perceptions of piracy.

Postgraduate supervision

I am supervising PhD research on:

  • Piracy, crime at sea, and the High Court of Admiralty during the early seventeenth century (Graham Moore)
  • The evolution of privateering and piracy during the 1690s and early 1700s (Luke Walters)

My students are working in partnership with The National Archives, the Berkshire Record Office, and the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, in their own research projects and through professional placements.

Postgraduate research teaching/skills

  • Early modern archival collections, especially legal records and state documents
  • Early modern print
  • Collaborating with museums and archives



  • Year 1: Journeys Through History: People, Power, and Revolution
  • Year 2: Encountering the Atlantic World, 1450-1850
  • Year 2: Going Public: Presenting the Past, Planning the Future
  • Year 2: Historical Approaches and My Dissertation
  • Year 3: Pirates of the Caribbean: Empire, Slavery, and Society, 1550-1750
  • Year 3: Sea Changes: Britain and the Maritime World, 1500-1800 (including a trip to meet curators and view the collections at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich)
  • Year 3: Dissertation Supervision

Postgraduate MA (postgraduate taught)

  • The Sea in History (option module)
  • Theory and Themes: Global History
  • Historical Skills and Resources: Digital History, Academic Writing

Research centres and groups

  • Trustee of the British Commission for Maritime History
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Early Modern Research Centre, University of Reading
  • Gender History Cluster, University of Reading
  • Honorary Associate Research Fellow, Centre for Maritime Historical Studies, University of Exeter

Impact and public engagement


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