Jake Subryan Richards

Jake Subryan Richards

Research Interest

Jake Subryan Richards is a historian of law, empire, and the African diaspora in the Atlantic world. His research concerns how enslaved and free people interacted with law in a world structured by Atlantic empires. His first book project analyzes the history of the suppression of the transatlantic trade in enslaved African people. The book investigates the legal status attributed to people ‘liberated’ from slaving ships by naval patrols and subjected to bonded apprenticeship.

He has published his research in Past and Present, Comparative Studies in Society and History, and Modern Intellectual History.

Richards is interested in uncovering sources that tell new stories about people who lived under slavery and post-slavery regimes. These sources range from legal records in archives to objects and images in museums. His future research projects include using museum collections to tell histories of enslavement in the Atlantic world.

Richards was previously Assistant Professor of Modern British History at Durham University. He earned his PhD at the University of Cambridge (2020) and was a Visiting Fellow in the Department of African and African-American Studies at Harvard University on a US-UK Fulbright Commission Postgraduate Scholarship (2016-2017).

Richards is a BBC Radio 3/AHRC New Generation Thinker and a British Art Network Emerging Curator.


Political Thought and the Emotion of Shame: John Stuart Mill and the Jamaica Committee during the Governor Eyre Controversy’, Modern Intellectual History, (2022)

The Adjudication of Slave Ship Captures, Coercive Intervention, and Value Exchange in Comparative Atlantic Perspective, ca. 1839–1870’, Comparative Studies in Society and History, 62:4 (2020)

Anti-Slave-Trade Law, “Liberated Africans” and the State in the South Atlantic World, c.1839–1852’, Past & Present, 241:1 (2018), pp. 179–219

Political Culture in Jamaica Before Anticolonial Nationalism’, History Compass, 15 (2017)