I am a historian and anthropologist with research interests that range from the culture and morality of international development to questions of agrarian change, natural resource management and the environment. My doctoral thesis (SOAS 2005) looked at the historical development of forest management in the Indian Himalayas and how nomadic herders responded to changes in the systems of property rights governing access to pasture.
From the grazing pastures of the Himalayas my research has also taken me to the subterranean basement levels of the British Library tracing colonial scientific records (Axelby and Nair 2010) and around the U.K. looking at British identity and history for the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. More recently, together with Emma Crewe I have applied an anthropological perspective to the world of aid and international development (2013).
Crewe, Emma and Richard Axelby, 2013. Anthropology and Development: Culture, Morality and Politics in a Globalised World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Axelby, Richard and Savithri Preetha Nair, 2010. Science and the Changing Environment in India 1780-1920. London: British Library Publishing.
Axelby, Richard, 2008. ‘Calcutta Botanic Garden and the re-ordering of the Indian environment’. Archives of Natural History, 35 (1), April 2008, pp.150-163.
Axelby, Richard, 2007. ‘It takes two hands to clap: how Gaddi shepherds in the Indian Himalayas negotiate access to grazing’. Journal of Agrarian Change, Vol .7, no.1, Jan 2007, pp.35-75.