John F. Richards (November 3, 1938 - August 23, 2007) was a historian
South Asia and in particular of the Mughal Empire. He was Professor
of History at Duke University, North Carolina, and a recipient in 2007
of the Distinguished Contributions to Asian Studies Award. He
participated in and encouraged a multi-disciplinary, multi-regional
approach to studies.
3 Further reading
4 External links
John Richards was born on November 3, 1938 in Exeter, New Hampshire.
His parents, Frank F. Richards and Ella Higgins Richards, subsequently
had two more children.
Richards graduated from the
University of New Hampshire
University of New Hampshire as
valedictorian in 1961 and on the same day he married his high school
sweetheart, Ann Berry. The couple moved to California and, in 1968, to
Madison when he received an appointment at the University of
Wisconsin. He was awarded a PhD in History by the University of
California at Berkeley in 1970. His thesis, later published at Mughal
Administration in Golconda (1975), was written under the direction of
Thomas R. Metcalf. This established him as "one of the leading
historians of the
Mughal Empire in the United States", according to
David Gilmartin, and he went on to write a volume of The New Cambridge
History of India titled The
Mughal Empire (1993).
Other works by Richards on the Mughal period include The Imperial
Monetary System of Mughal India (1987) and Kingship and Authority in
South Asia (1998). The impact of the Mughal empire on world events
caused him to consider the Mughals to be an "early modern" empire,
rather than the medieval one that most commentators believed it to be.
It was this belief that led him into studies of world trade and state
finances, as well as early modern world environmental history. In
2003, he published The Unending Frontier: Environmental History of the
Early Modern World (2003).
Richards had worked at
Duke University since 1977. He was heavily
involved with administration of the Council of American Overseas
Research Centers and in reforming the troubled American Institute of
Pakistan Studies. He was also in the vanguard of establishing the
American Institute of Afghanistan Studies, the first meeting of which
took place at
Duke University in 2003 and of which he was the
Richards died of cancer at home in Durham, North Carolina, on August
23, 2007, days before he was due to retire. He had two children.
A festschrift titled Expanding Frontiers in South Asian and World
History: Essays in Honour of
John F. Richards was published in 2013,
edited by Richard M. Eaton, Munis D. Faruqui, Gilmartin and Sunil
In 2011, the
American Historical Association
American Historical Association inaugurated a prize named
in his honor. This is awarded for the best book on South Asian history
published during each year.
^ a b c d Gilmartin, David. "About John F. Richards". Guha, Sumit;
Bhagavan, Manu. Society for Advancing the History of South Asia.
^ a b c d "History Professor John Richards Dies at Age 68". Durham
Herald-Sun. August 30, 2007. Retrieved 2015-05-02 – via
^ a b Townsend, Robert B. (January 2011). "
John F. Richards Prize for
South Asian History to Be Launched". American Historical Association.
Subrahmanyam, Sanjay (September 2007). "John F. Richards: A Brief
Memoir". Economic and Political Weekly. 42 (37): 3700–3702.
JSTOR 40276381. (Subscription required (help)).
John F. Richards Prize Recipients". American Historical