Dr Richard G. Smith BA (Hons), PhD, FRGS

My Swansea University Staff Page

Tweeting here

Email: r.g.smith@swan.ac.uk

Postal Address: Dr Richard G. Smith, Department of Geography, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea, SA28PP, UK.


Theorist at work (literally)

Biography/Research Interests

I am a philosopher and urbanist. Educated at Lawrence Sheriff School (Rugby, Warwickshire), University of Hull (BA Hons, 1st) and University of Bristol (PhD). My doctorate on the philosophy of Jean Baudrillard was supervised by the non-representational theorist Professor Sir Nigel Thrift – see my critical tribute here. I was awarded the first Phyllis Mary Morris Scholarship from the School of Geographical Sciences at the University of Bristol.

I have extensive international knowledge and experience. I have visited more than 100 countries worldwide, and have presented my research at more than 50 international conferences, universities, and public events.

My research concerns poststructuralist philosophy:

First, in Baudrillard Studies as author of numerous articles, and editor of Jean Baudrillard: Fatal Theories (Routledge, 2009), The Baudrillard Dictionary (Edinburgh University Press, 2010), ‘Baudrillard Redux’ (Special Issue of Cultural Politics, 2011), Jean Baudrillard: from Hyperreality to Disappearance: Uncollected Interviews (Edinburgh University Press, 2015), Jean Baudrillard: the Disappearance of Culture: Uncollected Interviews (Edinburgh University Press, 2017), and Editor of the International Journal of Baudrillard Studies (See current Call for Contributions). I organized the first major international and interdisciplinary UK conference on Baudrillard’s work in 2006, was interviewed about Baudrillard for South Korean TV, and am currently organizing the second major UK conference (Oxford, 2018). Current research is focused, among other things, on completing several books: Smith, RG ed. (2019) Jean Baudrillard: The Missing Pieces, Uncollected Writings and Photographs (Edinburgh University Press); Smith, RG & Turner C eds. (2019 onwards) Jean Baudrillard: Untranslated German Interviews (Seagull Books) [3 volumes]; Smith, RG & Turner C eds. (2019 onwards) Jean Baudrillard: Untranslated French Interviews (Seagull Books) [3 volumes]; Smith RG ed. (2018) Entretiens avec Jean Baudrillard (‘Perspectives critiques’ Presses Universitaires de France); and, Smith RG (2020) Jean Baudrillard: Extreme Theory (Edinburgh University Press).

Second, in Urban Studies, with research focusing on poststructuralism, assemblage theory, and actor-network theory. My broad expertise in poststructuralist theory has enabled me to recast the conceptual apparatus and empirical approach of urban studies to effectively critique and overturn the neo-Marxist world city, global city, and interlocking world city network concepts (and the error of the ordinary cities notion) to understand cities not only as connected, but as always striving to prohibit and disguise their unbinding and destabilization as networked assemblages: e.g. see ‘World city actor-networks’ (2003) and ‘World city topologies’ (2003) in Progress in Human Geography; ‘Beyond the global city concept and the myth of “command and control”‘ (2014) and ‘Questioning the theoretical basis of current global city research: structures, networks, and actor-networks’ (2011) in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research; ‘The ordinary city trap’ in Environment and Planning A (2013);  etc. My latest research is concerned with ‘London After Brexit (see TED Talk), and with introducing, explaining, developing, and inventing an approach to Urban Studies that is founded on the philosophy of Jean Baudrillard. See, for example, my entry on ‘Jean Baudrillard’ for The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Urban and Regional Studies (2017). My research on world cities features in the AS / A Level Geography syllabus. Current service to the wider discipline concerns my editing of a major textbook – Smith RG ed. (2018) The Companion to Urban Studies (Routledge).

Third, in Photography. I am something of an ‘amateur expert’ or ‘professional hobbyist’ when it comes to the practice of photography. But my interest is not in the practice of photography per se, but in photography as a theoretical practice. My photography concerns a metaphysical problem: the verification of reality. A focus on the absence of the real which defines my current writing/curation of a book entitled ‘Apophatic Urban Photography’. See my chapter on ‘Baudrillard’s Photographic Theory’ for The Routledge Companion to Photography Theory (published late 2018).


A list of my 100+ publications (published or in press; not those in preparation – i.e. invited, under contract, under translation, or in draft for intended submission to a journal etc.) is available through my Swansea University Staff Page.

My research has been reported on extensively in the world’s print media (in >25 newspapers and magazines), and my journal papers are among the most highly-cited and reprinted in the world – a few examples: on ISI web of science my Cities (1999) paper – ‘A Roster of World Cities’ – has 365 citations; my Annals of the Association of American Geographers (2000) paper – ‘World city network: a new meta-geography’ – has 211 citations; one of my Progress in Human Geography (2003) papers – ‘World city actor-networks’ – has 82 citations and is noted as one of the fifty most frequently cited. My research is reprinted in no fewer than 9 edited collections, and has been translated into Chinese.

You can access my publications via the original sources; some are also available through ‘Cronfa’ (Swansea University’s Research Repository), and, through other on-line portals:

Amazon Author Page / Edinburgh University Press / Routledge / Seagull Books / Academia.edu / ORCID / ResearchGate / Google Scholar / ResearcherID / Scopus / LinkedIN / Google+