Professor Clare Anderson

Clare Anderson 2013Professor of History

Contact Details

  • Tel: +44 (0)116 229 7528
  • Email:
  • Twitter: @sysgak
  • Office: Room 101, 6 Salisbury Road
  • Office Hours: By appointment
  • Dissertation Office Hour: N/A

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 currently lead an ERC funded team that is working on a global history of penal colonies, 1415-1960 - The Carceral Archipelago (2013-18). During this project, I have undertaken research on Australia, the Cape Colony and the Caribbean, as well as the French penal colonies of Guiana and New Caledonia. I am also 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 are working with researchers to produce historical materials on Guyana's jails during the British colonial period, in partnership with the Guyana Prison Service.

I am a member of the British Academy Area Panel for South Asia, I sit on the Advisory Council of the Institute for Historical Research, 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). I am on the editorial boards of the Journal of World History and Australian Historical Studies; and I am editor of the Journal of Colonialism and Colonial History.


Office Hours: By appointment
Dissertation Office Hour: N/A

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 a 5-year ERC funded project The Carceral Archipelago: transnational circulations in global perspective, 1415-1960 and a 1-year BA funded project History and Security Sector Reform: Crime and Punishment in British Colonial Guyana, 1814-1966.

I am principal investigator of the 3-year AHRC funded Collaborative Doctoral Partnership (with The National Maritime Museum), The History of Prison Hulks: 1776-1864. Anna McKay is the project's PhD student. I 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.


I currently supervise students working on gender and the convict colony of Sakahlin Island, Russia; Western Australian labour history; British convict hulks in the nineteenth century; opium use amongst Indian indentured migrants; Wilberforce and abolition; the Salvation Army's overseas migration schemes; 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; British officers in the Indian army; and criminal justice in 1820s Britain. I would be happy to take on postgraduates working across all 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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