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Professor Richard Allen

Profile summary

Professional biography

Richard Allen has had a long career at The Open University involved a number of leadership roles. He was Sub-Dean for Curriculum Development (1995-1998) and then Dean and Director of Studies in the Faculty of Arts (1998-1999 and 2000-2007). As Sub Dean, Richard Allen led the Faculty’s successful campaign which resulted in the introduction of named subject degrees in 2000, and was influential in formulating the structure of the BA Humanities Programme and the BA (Hons.) English Programme. As Dean, he was able to expand the Faculty and its profile of courses, fostering the introduction of online teaching and also the introduction of a Creative Writing programme. Throughout he also aimed to expand the cultural reach of the Faculty’s teaching and research, through for example, the initiatives taken under the heading of the Ferguson Centre for African and Asian Studies and the adopting of Wasafiri a magazine of international contemporary writing.

Quality Assurance matters became a particular interest. Richard Allen was a member of the Steering Group for the Quality Assurance Agency Institutional Audit in 2004, and was academic lead for the Audit in 2009. Both lead to positive judgements on the University’s work. With the PVC, Curriculum and Awards, he led the work which resulted in the led to The Open University gaining international accreditation for its teaching and awards from the US Middle States Commission for Higher Education in 2005, and was academic lead for the reaccreditation in 2010. Latterly he has been appointed as a Reviewer by the Quality Assurance Agency and been involved in a number of reviews of universities and colleges.

As indicated below Richard Allen has been involved for a number of years in collaborative work in Indian Higher education. He has been Visiting Professor in the Departments of English at the University of Mumbai and the Delhi University. In 2004 he co-taught an MPhil class on ‘Representations of India in British Writings’ at Delhi University and in 2005 acted as a consultant to the School of Open Learning there. With Dr Savita Datta of the University of Delhi, Richard Allen led a project funded as part of the UK India Education Initiative designed to develop capacity in the use of new technology in teaching in the University of Delhi.

Research interests

For most of his career Richard Allen’s research interests have been closely integrated with his teaching interests and the results are to be seen in the texts books produced for The Open University; these include work on: gender issues and specifically literature and gender (in Issues in Women’s Studies, Approaching Literature, MA in English Foundation Module) and on colonialism, empire and literature (in Literature in the Modern World, Literature and Nation: Britain and India 1800-1990, Understanding Global heritage). In 2011, with Professor Suman Gupta also of The Open University, Richard Allen was awarded funding by the Arts and Humanities Research Council for a two year project, Prospects for English Studies: India and the UK. This established a network of scholars from the three leading universities in Delhi so as to explore current issues and changes in prospect in English Studies in India in response to changing economic, cultural and political pressures.  

Teaching interests

Richard Allen has contributed to widely to teaching in Literature and to interdisciplinary courses at the Open University. His interests are in Romanticism, literature of the colonial period and literary relations between Britain and India. Courses in which he played a leading part include: Approaching Literature (material on Frankenstein, A Doll’s House, and a television essay Persisting Dreams on the influence of Byron on Verdi and Delacroix), Literature and Nation: Britain and India 1800-1990 (general editor jointly with Professor Harish Trivedi of the University of Delhi, and other material on theoretical issues and texts including Mansfield Park, Tale of Two Cities, A Passage to India, Look Back in Anger), Understanding Global Heritage (material on the destruction of the Mosque at Ayodhya, and the National Museum in Delhi). Throughout his career at The Open University Richard Allen has acted as an associate lecturer latterly being particularly associated with the course Enlightenment to Romanticism.


“Liderazgo académico” y las condiciones del trabajo académico (2018-07-01)
Gupta, Suman and Allen, Richard
Literatura: teoría, historia, crítica, 20(2) (pp. 293-319)

Raja Rao and world literature (2012-12)
Allen, Richard
Summerhill: Journal of the Indian Institute for Advanced Study, 18(2)

Social Analysis and the COVID-19 Crisis: A Collective Journal (2020-11-27)
Gupta, Suman; Allen, Richard; Schuller, Sebastian; Tu, Peter; Basu, Maitrayee; Gupta, Ayan-Yue; Durao, Fabio Akcelrud and Katsarska, Milena
ISBN : 9780367636616 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Delhi and London

Reconsidering English Studies in Indian Higher Education (2015-05-01)
Gupta, Suman; Allen, Richard; Chattarji, Subarno and Chaudhuri, Supriya
Routledge Research in Higher Education
ISBN : 9781138794641 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : Abingdon

Heritage and nationalism (2010)
Allen, Richard
In: Harrison, Rodney ed. Understanding the Politics of Heritage. Understanding global heritage (pp. 197-233)
ISBN : 9780719081521 | Publisher : Manchester University Press | Published : Manchester

Mary Shelley as editor of Percy Shelley (2001-02)
Allen, Richard
In: Bellamy, Joan; Laurence, Anne and Perry, Gillian eds. Women, Scholarship and Criticism: Gender & knowledge c.1790-1900 (pp. 77-90)
ISBN : 978-0-7190-5719-1 | Publisher : Manchester University Press | Published : Manchester