Dr Richard Ward
I completed a PhD in History at the University of Sheffield in January 2011, under the supervision of Professor Robert Shoemaker. My research interests are in the history of crime and justice in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain, particularly the interaction between print culture, public opinion, and criminal justice. My PhD thesis on Print Culture and Responses to Crime in Mid-Eighteenth-Century London addressed the neglected issue of the impact of print upon the making and administration of the law, through a case-study of the London crime wave of 1747-1755.
At the University of Sheffield I was a tutor in early modern history, teaching a first-year module on 'The Disenchantment of Early Modern Europe, c. 1570-1770', and a second-year module on 'Digital Resources for the Study of Early Modern History'.
I am currently working as a Research Fellow at the University of Leicester on the Wellcome Trust funded project Harnessing the Power of the Criminal Corpse, investigating Strand 1 on the relationship between the criminal justice system and the criminal body in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Britain. The punishment of the criminal corpse by dissection or hanging in chains was a central means by which the state attempted to enforce conformity with the law, yet previous research has all too often stopped at the point of death. By bringing together scholars from a range of disciplines – including archaeology, folklore, literature, philosophy, and history – this project will explore the meanings attached to the criminal corpse and the many ways in which that power could be (and still is) exploited.
In 2012 I was awarded the Herman Diederiks Prize by the International Association for the History of Crime and Criminal Justice for my article 'Print Culture, Moral Panic, and the Administration of the Law: The London Crime Wave of 1744', published in the journal Crime, History & Societies.