Robbie Richardson specializes in eighteenth-century British and transatlantic literature and culture. He received his PhD in English and Cultural Studies from McMaster University, followed by a SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship through the Institute for Comparative Studies in Literature, Art, and Culture (ICSLAC) at Carleton University. He spent 7 years based in London, teaching at the University of Kent in Canterbury and Paris, which has informed his interdisciplinary research looking at the interactions between Indigenous and European cultures. His interests include Indigenous Studies, art and material culture, the history of museums and collecting, and the literature of empire. He is a member of Pabineau First Nation (Mi’kmaw) in New Brunswick, Canada.
Richardson’s book The Savage and Modern Self: North American Indians in Eighteenth-Century British Literature and Culture (University of Toronto Press, 2018) examines the representations of North American “Indians” in novels, poetry, captivity narratives, plays, and material culture from eighteenth-century Britain. It argues that depictions of “Indians” in British literature were used to critique and articulate evolving ideas about consumerism, colonialism, “Britishness,” and, ultimately, the “modern self” over the course of the century.
Richardson’s next book project looks at the history of Indigenous objects from the Americas and the South Pacific in Europe up to 1800, and the ways in which these materials and the epistemologies they represented informed primarily British understandings of their own past and present. He has current and forthcoming publications on British depictions of wampum and the origin of writing, on the tomahawk and scalping knife trade, and on eighteenth-century antiquarian collections of Indigenous objects. He is co-editing a special issue of Eighteenth-Century Fiction called “The Indigenous Eighteenth Century.”