Richard L. Smith earned his Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 1972 and has been on the faculty in the History Department at Ferrum College since 1976, where he teaches courses in African, Asian, European, and ancient history. From 2007-09 he was the Williams Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Humanities. He has been awarded a John B. Stephenson fellowship for research and a Joseph Malone fellowship for study in Syria and Kuwait as well as two Fulbright-Hays grants, one for Indonesia and the other for francophone West Africa. He was a Visiting Scholar at the Institute of African Studies at Columbia University. Dr. Smith is the author of three books and monographs and three dozen articles, chapters in edited collections, and book reviews. In 2008 he was featured in the role of "expert" on the Discovery Channel show "The Lost Gold of Timbuktu" in the Josh Bernstein series "Into the Unknown." He authored Cha pter 15 of Volume 5 on world trade and commerce between 500 and 1500 A.D. for the forthcoming edition of the authoritative Cambridge History of the World.