Emeritus Professor of Geography
  • Emeritus Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford

Academic Profile

Professor Colin Clarke is an Emeritus Professor at Oxford University and an Emeritus Fellow of Jesus College, Oxford. He has taught at the Universities of Toronto and Liverpool, where he was, until 1981, Reader in Geography and Latin American Studies. He has carried out numerous field investigations in Mexico and the Caribbean and published 12 books and more than 100 research papers and chapters.

He is the author of Kingston, Jamaica: Urban Development and Social Change, 1692-1962 (University of California Press, 1975), East Indians in a West Indian Town: San Fernando, Trinidad, 1930-1970 (Allen and Unwin, 1986), Class, Ethnicity and Community in Southern Mexico: Oaxaca's Peasantries (Oxford University Press, 2000), Kingston, Jamaica: Urban Development and Social Change, 1692-2002 (Ian Randle Publishers, 2006), and Decolonizing the Colonial City: Urbanization and Stratification in Kingston, Jamaica (Oxford University Press, 2006); editor of Society and Politics in the Caribbean (St Antony's / Macmillan 1991); co-author of A Geography of the Third World (Methuen 1983; second edition Routledge 1996); and co-editor of Geography and Ethnic Pluralism (Allen and Unwin, 1984), Politics, Security and Development in Small States (Allen and Unwin, 1987), and South Asians Overseas (Cambridge 1990).

Professor Clarke has been an editor of the Bulletin of Latin American Research, and a member of the editorial board of the Third World Planning Review and the European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies. He is currently on the editorial board of the Cahiers d'Outre Mer.

Professor Clarke has been Chairman of the Society for Caribbean Studies (and a Life Member since 2004); President of the European Association for Research on Central America and the Caribbean (Life President since 1988); and Chairman of the Society for Latin American Studies. Between 1998 and 2002 he led a research project entitled 'Decolonizating the Colonial City: Kingston, Jamaica, 1940-1991' (funded by the Leverhulme Trust). He received the Gold Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society in 1999, and in 2003 was lifted up by Sri Chinmoi to mark his contribution to human development issues in Latin America and the Caribbean. In 2004 he was awarded the degree of D.Litt. by Oxford University in recognition of his research and publications on Mexico and the Caribbean.

At Oxford he has been Tutor for Admissions at Jesus College, Chairman of the Faculty Board of Anthropology and Geography, Chairman of the Inter-Faculty Committee for Latin American Studies, and Head of the School of Geography and the Environment.

Current Research

Professor Clarke's research interests include urbanization in developing countries; race, ethnicity and class; peasantries; and the problems of small, recently de-colonized states. His regions of specialization are the Caribbean, Latin America and, more recently, Central Europe. Although he is a geographer, his research interests overlap with social anthropology, sociology and history.

Since he completed his book on Mexico in 2000, Professor Clarke has concentrated on the Caribbean, and in 2006 published two books on Kingston, the capital of Jamaica, in which he examined the process of urbanization and the structure of colour-class stratification and cultural pluralism over more than three centuries. More recently he has turned his attention to Trinidad, and is currently preparing for publication an ethnographic journal he kept jointly with Gillian, his wife, focusing on race, religion and politics in San Fernando and the neighbouring Naparimas. Based on research carried out in the second year of Trinidad's independence (1964), the journal takes the reader into the very heart of a plural society, newly freed from colonialism.

Professor Clarke is currently engaged in a new project, entitled 'Racist Regimes', the aim of which is to compare Caribbean slavery with the Jewish Holocaust in Europe. This research is not about slavery in the USA, where slaves were a minority of the labour force, and labour-intensive sugar was not the major export crop; nor is it about the full range of victims of the Holocaust, the inclusion of whom would render the research less manageable. Its focus is the Caribbean, especially the British colony of Jamaica, where the harsh, tropical, sugar-plantation regime involved the labouring to death of slaves of African origin; and the Holocaust, which involved both labouring to death and outright mass murder perpetrated on Jews by Nazi Germans in the occupied territories of Central Europe.

The objectives are to produce a systematic comparison between slavery in the Caribbean and the Holocaust in Central Europe; to show how the theory of differential incorporation informs race laws and exclusion from citizen's rights; to draw out the commonalities between slavery and the Holocaust; to identify the differences between the two regimes/systems; and, through the comparison, to achieve a profounder understanding of each racist regime. Holocaust survivor/writer Primo Levi (2004) commented in the Afterword to If This Is A Man: 'in every part of the world, wherever you begin by denying the fundamental liberties of mankind, and equality among people, you move toward the concentration camp system, and it is a road on which it is difficult to halt' (390-1).


Selected Publications

Publications are those that were listed on the old website. Publications database integration forthcoming.
  • Cover: Post-colonial TrinidadClarke, C. and Clarke, G. (2010) Post-colonial Trinidad: an ethnographic journal. Studies of the Americas Series, Palgrave Macmillan 272 pp. ISBN: 9780230622005.
  • Clarke, C. (2010) From slum to ghetto: multiple deprivation in Kingston, Jamaica. Chapter 12 in, McGregor, D., Dodman, D. and Barker, D. (eds.) Global Change and Carribean Vulnerability: environment, economy and society at risk. University of West Indies Press, pp. 261-278. ISBN: 978-976-640-221-1.
  • Clarke, C., Peach, C. and Vertovec, S. (eds.) (2009) South Asians Overseas: Migration and ethnicity. Cambridge University Press. Paperback re-issue.
  • Clarke, C. (2007) Population Movements in the Caribbean. In, K. Lawrence (ed.) General History of the Caribbean, Volume IV. The 'Long' Nineteenth Century: Nineteenth Century Transformations. London: Unesco Publishing and Macmillan.
  • Lowenthal, D. and Clarke, C. (2007) Triumph of the Commons: Barbuda Belongs to all Barbudans Together. In, J. Besson and J. Momsen (eds.) Land and Development in the Caribbean. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 147-158.
  • Clarke, C. (2006) Kingston, Jamaica: Urban Development and Social Change, 1692-2002. (second and expanded edition) Ian Randle Publishers, Kingston, Jamaica. pp.378.
  • Clarke, C. (2006) Decolonizing the Colonial City: Urbanization and Social Stratification in Kingston, Jamaica. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 298.
  • Clarke, C. (2006) Politics, Violence and Drugs in Kingston, Jamaica. Bulletin of Latin American Research, 25(3): 420-440.
  • Clarke, C. and D. Howard (2006) Contradictory Socio-Economic Consequences of Structural Adjustment in Kingston, Jamaica. Geographical Journal, 172(2): 106-129.
  • Clarke, C. (2006) From Slum to Ghetto: Social Deprivation in Kingston, Jamaica. International Development Planning Review, 28(1): 1-34.
  • Clarke, C. and D. Howard (2005) Race and religious pluralism in Kingston, Jamaica. Population, Space and Place, 11: 119-136.
  • Clarke, C. (2002) The Latin-American structuralists. In, V. Desai and R. Potter (eds.) The Companion to Development Studies. pp. 92-96.