Dr Richard Coulton, BA (Oxford) MA PhD (London)
Lecturer in English and e-Strategy Manager
I grew up in North Wales and attended secondary school in Chester before reading English at the University of Oxford. Despite (or rather in order to rectify) my undergraduate failure to finish either Clarissa or Tristram Shandy, I came to Queen Mary in 1999 and completed an MA in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Romanticism. An AHRC-funded PhD followed (under the supervision of Markman Ellis) on horticultural networks and discourse in eighteenth-century London. Since that time I have held a one-year Fellowship in Garden and Landscape Studies at Dumbarton Oaks (Washington, DC). I currently work as a Lecturer in English Literature, as well as job-sharing the senior administrative role of e-Strategy Manager with Matthew Mauger.
I have taught a range of undergraduate modules, as well as contributing to team-taught MA modules, and PhD skills training. I particularly enjoy teaching on the School’s eighteenth-century literature modules, and at various points in time I have been the convenor of ESH219 Representing London, ESH223 Satire, Scandal, and Society, and ESH6013 Seducing Narratives. I also take a lead in supporting undergraduate research and currently convene the compulsory final-year module ESH6000 English Research Dissertation. This includes designing and delivering Research Training Workshops in Semester 1, and the Writing Support Programme in Semester 2. Much of this skills-focused teaching has been in company with Matthew Mauger.
In the 2015-16 academic year, I am teaching on:
- the intellectual life and material cultures of the long eighteenth century
- landscape, horticulture, and georgic in eighteenth century Britain
- networks, communities, and practices of knowledge production in the eighteenth century
- sociability and status in the eighteenth century
- the cultural, social, and imaginative life of the metropolis, London in particular
Recent and On-Going Research:
My research focuses on the intellectual life and material cultures of eighteenth century Britain. I typically locate my attention to these broad interests by examining discourses and practices of natural knowledge, and I am especially fascinated by their production in the context of social negotiation and inevitable compromise. My doctoral dissertation investigated the status of, relationships between, and writings by professional horticulturists (above all commercial nurserymen) in eighteenth-century London. Much of this remains unpublished, but I have recently completed a journal article summarising the thesis of my PhD, which is due to appear in the London Journal.
More recently my research has extended in complementary directions, through explorations of formal georgic, the cultural history of tea and of Anglo-Chinese transactions, and the professional sociability of the eighteenth-century book-trade. A forthcoming journal article on the politics of cider-production in England will focus on John Philips’s curious celebration of the 1707 Act of Union in his long poem Cyder (1708). In collaboration with Markman Ellis and Matthew Mauger, I wrote Empire of Tea, published by Reaktion in 2015. This builds on our work (together with Ben Dew) as editors of Tea and the Tea-Table (2010). I am now working with Charlie Jarvis at the Natural History Museum to research James Cuninghame, an East India Company surgeon and factor who was the first European to dispatch botanical and zoological specimens home from China. Book Theft in Eighteenth-Century London is another collective endeavour, this time with Chris Reid and Matthew Mauger, and will be published as a Palgrave Pivot title in 2016. My contribution examines the victim-prosecutors of book-theft, and includes material on the technologies of article surveillance and networks of communication implemented by booksellers in order to counter property crime.
Alongside these thematic research interests, I am keen to examine and understand the impact of digital and electronic tools and methods upon the humanities. Book Theft in Eighteenth-Century London explicitly exploits an online resource, Old Bailey Online, and incorporates a methodological statement that details the search, analysis, and documentation processes that underpin the project. Going forward, I plan to maintain and develop an active practice in and intellectual scrutiny of such digital research.
''The Darling of the Temple-Coffee-House Club': Science, Sociability and Satire in Early Eighteenth-Century London', Journal for Eighteenth Century Studies, 35 (2012), 43-65
ed., Tea and the Tea-Table in Eighteenth-Century England, vol. 2: Tea in Natural History and Medical Writing (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2010)
I would welcome enquiries from potential doctoral students interested in any of the areas of my research.