Dr Paul Richardson MA, PhD

Dr Paul Richardson

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
Lecturer in Human Geography

Contact details

School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Paul Richardson is Lecturer in Human Geography. He is a political and historical geographer with regional interests in Russia and Eurasia.


  • PhD Geography - University of Birmingham, 2011
  • MA Geography - University of California Los Angeles, 2003
  • BA Geography - University College London, 2000


Dr Richardson completed an ESRC funded PhD at Birmingham in 2011. In the same year, he was awarded a Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Slavic Research Center, Hokkaido University, Japan.

In 2012 he became a Visiting Associate Professor in the School of Regional and International Studies at the Far Eastern Federal University in Vladivostok, Russia. Prior to joining GEES, he was a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow in Russian and East European Studies at the University of Manchester (2013-2016).


Dr Richardson is module lead for the final year course “Russia in a Global Context” and the MSci module “Geopolitics and Globalization”

Postgraduate supervision

Dr Richardson would be happy to hear from potential graduate students with research proposals around the following areas: 

  • Russia
  • International borders / Territorial disputes
  • Political geography / geopolitics
  • Sovereignty
  • Identity politics
  • Nationalism and national identity


Dr Richardson has research interests in the politics of identity in post-Soviet space, the Eurasian Union and regional integration, and territorial disputes and geopolitics in the Asia-Pacific region. His conceptual focus is centred on borders, sovereignty, territory and identity. He has published on these themes in leading journals across disciplines, including Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers; Politics; Geopolitics; Eurasian Economics and Geography; Journal of Borderlands Studies; Global Change, Peace, and Security. His book – At the Edge of the Nation: The Southern Kurils and the search for Russia’s national identity – was published in 2018 with the University of Hawaii Press.


His research has been funded by a number of prestigious awarding bodies, including the ESRC, the Leverhulme Trust, and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. He has also received awards from the British Council, the Kone Foundation, and the AHRC. In addition, he has given invited talks on his research at a number of world renowned institutions, including the University of California Berkeley, University of Cambridge, Ludwig Maximilan University, Swedish Institute of International Affairs, Royal Holloway, King’s College London, University of Kyushu, University of Hokkaido, and the Autonomous University of Nayarit, Mexico.

Other activities

  • 2018 – Scientific Committee: Association for Borderlands Studies World Conference (Vienna/Budapest)
  • 2017 - Vice-Chair, Political Geography Research Group, Royal Geographical Society-IBG
  • 2016-17 - Korea-Europe Next Generation Policy Expert Network, Chatham House, London (Sep 2016), and the Korea Foundation, Seoul (Mar 2017)
  • Board Member of the Association for Borderlands Studies (2013-16)
  • Visiting researcher: University of Eastern Finland (July 2016); University of Kyushu, Japan (Nov-Dec 2015)
  • 2015 - Scientific Committee: 3rd International Conference on Eurasian Politics Society, Centre for Strategic Research and Analysis (Istanbul)
  • 2015 - Programme Committee: Association for Borderlands Studies (Portland, OR)
  • 2012 - Organising Committee: Border Regions in Transition XII (Busan/Fukuoka)
  • 2011 - Editor: Eurasia Border Review
  • 2009 - Editorial Advisory Board: Journal of Global Analysis
  • Peer Reviewer: University of Cambridge Press; Environment and Planning D: Society and Space; Europe-Asia Studies; Geopolitics; Nationalities Papers; Modern Language Review; GeoJournal; Eurasia Border Review; Sage; Rowman and Littlefield



At the Edge of the Nation: The Southern Kurils and the search for Russia’s national identity, Honolulu University of Hawai’i Press (2018)


Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles:

‘Geopolitical Cultures, Pragmatic Patriotism, and Russia’s Disputed Islands,’ Eurasian Geography and Economics (2018). Available online at DOI: 10.1080/15387216.2017.1421474

‘1917-2017: The Geopolitical Legacy of the Russian Revolution,’ Geopolitics, 22:3 (2017), pp.665-692. Co-authored with Bassin, M., Kolosov, V., Clowes, E., Agnew, J., and Plokhy, S.

‘Introduction: From Post-Soviet to Eurasian? Reconfiguring borders and space’ Journal of Borderlands Studies, 32:1 (2017), pp.1-6. Co-authored with Smith, J.

‘Imperial Visions and the Remaking of Russia’s Eurasian Borders,’ Journal of Borderlands Studies, 32:1 (2017), pp.7-21 

‘Beyond the Nation and into the State: Identity, belonging and the “hyper-border,”’ Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 41:2 (2016), pp. 201–215

‘“Blue National Soil” and the Unwelcome Return of ‘Classical’ Geopolitics,” Global Change, Peace, and Security 27:2 (2015), pp. 229-236

‘Engaging the Russian Elite: Approaches, methods, and ethics,’ Politics 34:2 (2014), pp. 180–190

‘Contested Sovereignty: Humanitarian aid and visa-free exchange on the Southern Kuril Islands,’ Hokkaido Law Review [Hokudai Hogaku Ronshu], 63:2 (2014) [in Japanese]. Co-authored with Chi, N.

‘“A Germany in the Pacific:” The role of Japan in Russia’s turn to Asia,’ UNISCI Discussion Papers, 32 (May 2013), pp. 215-229

‘Place and the Geography of Italian Export Performance,’ European Urban and Regional Studies, 13:3 (2006), pp. 195-208. Co-authored with Shin, M., Agnew, J., and Breau, S.

‘The Saga of the “Second Industrial Divide” and the History of the “Third Italy”: Evidence from export data,’ Scottish Geographical Journal, 121:1 (2005), pp. 83–101. Co-authored with Agnew, J., and Shin, M.


Edited Books:

Borders and Transborder Processes in Eurasia (Vladivostok: Dalnauka, 2013) [co-editor with S. Sevastyanov, and A. Kireev]


Book Chapters:

‘Putin’s Eurasian Dialectic’ in Lane, D. and Samokhvalov. V. (eds) The Eurasian Project and Europe: Regional discontinuities and geopolitics (London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), pp.89-101.

‘The “Last Barren Islands” and the Territorialisation of Memory in the Russian Far East,’ in Paichadze, S. and Seaton, P. (eds) Voices from the Shifting Russo-Japanese Border: Karafuto / Sakhalin (Abingdon: Routledge, 2015), pp.158-174.

‘Vladivostok 2012: Borders, borderlands, and dual-dependency in the Russian Far East,’ in Sevastyanov, S., Richardson, P., and Kireev, A. (eds.) Borders and Transborder Processes in Eurasia (Vladivostok: Dalnauka, 2013), pp.150-166. [Also translated into Japanese as: ‘ウラジオストク2012年-APEC サミット開催と境界の変容,’ Kyokai Kenkyu [Japan Border Review], 5 (2014)]


Commentaries and Book Reviews:

‘Brexit Debates,’ Economic and Political Weekly, 51:17, 23 Apr (2016), pp.27-28. Co-authored with Triphati, D.

‘Border Studies: Perspectives from Asia,’ Ойкумена [Ecumene], 25:2 (2013), pp. 46-52 [in Russian]

Book Review: ‘Russia on the Edge: Imagined geographies and post-Soviet identity by Edith Clowes,’ Modern Language Review, 107:3 (2012), pp. 1014-1015

Book Review: ‘Soviet Fates and Lost Alternatives: From Stalinism to the new Cold War by Stephen F. Cohen,’ Canadian Slavonic Papers, 53 (2011), pp. 100-101

‘Bhutan Cements its Democracy,’ Political Reflection, 2:3 (2011), pp. 33-34

‘In the Deep Freeze? A Cold War legacy and the visa-free programme between Russia and Japan,’ Political Reflection, 1:2 (2010), pp. 69-74


Publications for the Media and Policy Communities:

‘With or Without EU? Britain set to decide its future in Europe,’ The Hindu, Jul 11 (2015). Co-authored with Triphati, D.

‘Russia’s Turn to Asia: China, Japan, and the APEC 2012 Legacy,’ Russian Analytical Digest, 145 (2014)

‘Russia’s Balancing Role in the Asia-Pacific,’ Far Eastern Federal University Experts’ Blog: Russian International Affairs Council, May 19 (2013)

‘Geopolitical Rivalry in the Asia-Pacific,’ Far Eastern Federal University Experts’ Blog: Russian International Affairs Council, May 19 (2013)

‘Eastern Promises: Russia and the 2012 APEC Summit,’ e-international relations, Sep 8 (2012)

‘Placing China in America's Strategic “Pivot:” The centrality of Mackinder’s theory,’ CLAWS Journal [Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi, India] Summer (2012). Co-authored with Chansoria, M.

‘Russia in the Asia-Pacific: Between integration and geopolitics,’ Asia-Pacific Bulletin, 150, Feb (2012)

‘Conferences and Contested Historical Memory,’ Hokkaido University Global Centre of Excellence Programme ‘Reshaping Japan’s Border Studies’ Live at the Border, 3, Sep (2010)

View all publications in research portal