Professor Clare Anderson

Clare Anderson 2013Professor of History

Contact Details

  • Feedback and Support Times (Semester 2, 2020-21): By appointment only
  • Dissertation Hour (Semester 2, 2020-21): By appointment only

Personal details

MA (Hons), PhD

I received an MA (hons) in History & Sociology (1993) and PhD in History from the University of Edinburgh (1997). I then joined the Department of Economic and Social History at the University of Leicester, moving to the Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick in 2007. I returned to the School of History in 2011, becoming part of the School of History, Politics and International Relations in 2016.

My PhD and postdoctoral research centred on the history of prisons, penal settlements and penal colonies in Mauritius and South and Southeast Asia from the late eighteenth to early twentieth centuries. It also included studies of Asian indentured labour, the 1857 Indian Uprising, and aspects of the medical humanities in the South Asian and Indian Ocean contexts.

I held an ESRC Research Fellowship between 2002-6, for a project on Indian Ocean and Southeast Asian penal settlements, 1773-1906. Subsequently, I held the one-year Caird Senior Research Fellowship (2006) and then the two-year Sackler-Caird Research Fellowship at the National Maritime Museum (2007-9). I then developed research on subaltern experiences and biographies of Indian Ocean journeying, as well as mutiny and maritime radicalism. My next project involved in-depth work on the Andaman Islands - as Principal Investigator of the ESRC funded international collaborations Refugee Resettlement in the Andaman Islands (2008) and Integrated Histories of the Andamans (2009-13).

I have recently completed an ERC funded project on the global history of penal colonies, 1415-1960 - The Carceral Archipelago (2013-18). During this project, I undertook research on the British and French Empires in Australia, Bermuda, Gibraltar, the Cape Colony, the Pacific and the Caribbean. I was recently Principal Investigator of a British Academy Global Challenges Research Fund collaboration with Dr Mellissa Ifill at the University of Guyana: History and Security Sector Reform (2018-19). We worked with researchers to produce historical materials on Guyana's jails during the British colonial period, in partnership with the Guyana Prison Service. I am now Principal Investigator, again with Dr Mellissa Ifill and the Guyana Prison Service, of the ESRC funded Global Challenges Research Fund project MNS Disorders in Guyana’s Jails, 1825 to the present day (2018-21).

I am a member of the Collections and Research Committee of Royal Museums Greenwich, and I am External Fellow of the Global History and Culture Centre, University of Warwick. I have held visiting fellowships at CAIA, University of Tasmania (2001), and visiting professorships at the University of Technology Sydney (2009, 2011), and served previously on the British Academy Area Panel for South Asia and on the Advisory Council of the Institute for Historical Research. I am currently on the editorial board of the Journal of World History, English Historical Review, and edit the Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History.


My teaching is on the history of Empire, migration and historiography.


A list of publications can be found here.

Current projects

I am principal investigator on the ESRC project MNS Disorders in Guyana's Jails, 1825 to the present dayI am also Principal Investigator of the 4-year ESRC funded Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (with The Salvation Army International Heritage Centre), The Salvation Army's overseas settlements and colonies, 1890-1939. Adam Millar is the project's PhD student. Finally, I am Principal Investigator of the 4-year ESRC funded Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (with The Howard League for Penal Reform), The History of The Howard League for Penal Reform, 1866-1948. Jess Kebbell is the project's MSc/PhD student.


I currently supervise PhD students working on women’s letter writing in British India; the India Museum at Kedleston Hall; opium use amongst Indian indentured migrants; William Wilberforce and the abolition of slavery; the Salvation Army's overseas migration schemes; migration from Guernsey; the history of The Howard League’s penal reform campaigns; and (with Sociology) the Palestinians of Syria since 2011.

I have previously supervised students working on the East India Company warehouses of London; lascars in the Indian Ocean; Indigenous-settler relations in colonial Canada; the making of history in post-colonial Bermuda; extraterritoriality in treaty port China; colonisation and penal confinement in Australian islands; Western Australian labour history; British officers in the Indian army; criminal justice in 1820s Britain; gender and the convict colony of Sakahlin Island; and British convict hulks in the nineteenth century. I am happy to take on postgraduates working across many areas of colonial and global history, as well as the history of punishment, the history of labour and migration, and the aftermaths and contemporary resonances of European empires.

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