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Professor Sarah A Radcliffe

Professor Sarah A Radcliffe

Professor of Latin American Geography and Fellow of Christ's College

Management Committee, Centre of Latin American Studies



  • 1986-1987: Post-Doctoral Researcher, Institute of Latin American Studies, University of Liverpool
  • 1987-1990: Post-Doctoral Fellow, Centre of Latin American Studies, University of Cambridge
  • 1990-1995: Lecturer, Department of Geography, Royal Holloway University of London
  • 1995-2002: University Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
  • 2002-2008: Senior Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
  • 2008-2012: Reader in Latin American Geography, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
  • 2012- present: Professor of Latin American Geography


  • BSc Geography and Anthropology, University College London
  • PhD on Migration, Rural Households and Andean Development, University of Liverpool


Research interests

Sarah's research interests fall into four major areas:

  • Development, Social Heterogeneity and Postcolonial Governance, including recent research on "Exclusion and intersectionality in Ecuadorian development" (Funded by British Academy, and ESRC). Listen here to a recent seminar given by Sarah Radcliffe on the topic of decolonizing development and contemporary politics in Ecuador. The seminar was given at the Institute for the Americas in December 2015.
  • Geographies of contested postcolonial national identities: includes current research on "Intercultural Bilingual Education in Chilean classrooms: Exploring youth identities, multiculturalism and nationalism" (ESRC funded 2011-14)
  • Postcolonialism, Culture and Social Development: Contentious politics around development futures; includes recent work querying the extent to which Ecuador's current development policy is "postneoliberal" – see Geoforum 2012
  • Political transnationalism and development networks, including research on ethnodevelopment policy formation in Andean countries

Research students

Sarah has supervised numerous PhD students (both UK and overseas), and welcomes enquiries from prospective applicants interested in pursuing PhD research at Cambridge on topics related to her own research (postneoliberal development and governance; social heterogeneity (intersectionality) and development policies, the postcolonial politics of territory and cartography). Recent and current PhD topics include:

  • Indigenous rights, land title and resource conflicts: Bolivia under the MAS government
  • Low income urban Indigenous women's work in the plurinational state of Bolivia
  • Indigenous women, gender-ethnic performance and political participation in Yucatán, Mexico
  • Grounded experiences of low-income rural women of Peru's Conditional Cash Transfer
  • Indigenous women and boundary-making power on the Ecuador-Colombia border

Potential PhD students

I am currently interested in supervising work on the contentious politics around social difference, citizenship and state policy; on the politics and policy of 'leave no one behind' agendas coming from the Sustainable Development Goals; and various issues related to Indigenous geographies, including gender difference. My own research has focused on the Andean countries, although I have also supervised students' work in Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, the United States and on themes around migrants and rights in Europe. If you have another topic in mind, you're welcome to contact me directly if you think there may be interests in common.

Reading group


Selected recent publications:


  • Book cover2009 Indigenous Development in the Andes: Culture, Power, and Transnationalism. Duke University Press, Durham and London
  • 2006 Culture and Development in a Globalizing World: geographies, actors and paradigms. S A Radcliffe (Editor). Routledge. 280pp.
  • 1996 Re-Making the Nation: place, politics and identity in Latin America. S A Radcliffe and S Westwood. Routledge. 196pp. [Published in Spanish translation in Ecuador in 1999.]
  • 1993 Viva: women and popular protest in Latin America, S A Radcliffe and S Westwood (Editors). Routledge. 264pp.

Journal articles (selected)

  • 'Geography and Indigeneity II: Critical geographies of indigenous bodily politics.' Progress in Human Geography Online First DoI 10.1177/0309132517691631 (2017)
  • 'Mapuche Youth between Exclusion and the Future: Protest, civil society and participation in Chile.' Children's Geographies 14(1): 1-19. DOI: 10.1080/14733285.2014.964667 (2016)
  • 'Geography and Indigeneity I: Indigeneity, coloniality and knowledge. Progress in Human Geography 41(2) 220–229 DoI 10.1177/0309132515612952 (2015)
  • 'Subaltern Bureaucrats: Indigenous professional registers of engagement with the Chilean state.' Comparative Studies in Society and History 57 (1): 248-273 (2015). First author with A J Webb.
  • 'Whitened geographies and education inequalities in southern Chile,' Journal of Intercultural Studies 36 (2): 129-148, (2015) with A Webb
  • 'Gendered frontiers of land control: Indigenous territory, women and contests over land in Ecuador.' Gender, Place and Culture 2013 DoI:10.1080/0966369X.2013.802675
  • 'Mapuche demands during educational reform, the Penguin Revolution and the Chilean Winter of Discontent.' Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism 13 (3): 319-341, 2013
  • 'The ethno-environmental fix and its limits: Indigenous land titling and the production of not-quite-neoliberal natures in Bolivia,' with P. Anthias. Special issue 'Not quite neoliberal natures' K. Bakker (ed.) Geoforum 2013 doi:10.1016/j.geoforum.2013.06.007
  • 'Development for a postneoliberal era? Sumak kawsay, living well and the limits to decolonization in Ecuador'. Geoforum (2012) 43: 240-249. doi:10.1016/j.geoforum.2011.09.003
  • 'Dismantling Gaps and Myths: How indigenous political actors broke the mould of socioeconomic development', in Special issue on 'The rise of indigenous populations as political actors in the 21st century.' Brown Journal of World Affairs 18 (2) 2012
  • 'Ethnicity, development and gender: Tsachila indigenous women in Ecuador', with A.Pequeno. Development and Change 41 (6): 983-1016(2010)
  • 'Relating to the land: multiple geographical imaginations and lived-in landscapes', Response to Peter Hulme's 2011 RGS-IBG Plenary lecture, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 2012.
  • 'Environmentalist thinking and/in geography.' Progress in Human Geography 34(1): 98-116, with E.Watson, I. Simmons, A. Fernández-Armesto, and A. Sluyter (2010)
  • "Re-Mapping the Nation: Cartography, geographical knowledge and Ecuadorian multiculturalism" Journal of Latin American Studies 42(2) May 2010: 293-323
  • 'National maps, digitalisation and neoliberal cartographies: Transforming nation-state practices and symbols in postcolonial Ecuador.' Trans. Institute of British Geographers October 2009, 34: 426-444.
  • 'Development and geography II: Towards a postcolonial development geography?' Progress in Human Geography 2005 29 (3): 291-298
  • 'Neoliberalism as we know it, but not in conditions of its own choosing: A Commentary', Environment and Planning A, part of a special issue on 'Geographies of neoliberalism in Latin America', 2005, T Perreault and P Martin (Editors) 37: 323-329
  • 'Development and Culture: transnational identity making in Latin America', R Andolina, S A Radcliffe and N Laurie Political Geography 2005, 24 (6): 678-702 (August)
  • 'Ethno-development: social movements, creating experts and professionalising indigenous knowledge in Ecuador' N Laurie, R Andolina and S A Radcliffe Antipode: Journal of Radical Geography 2005, 39 (3): 470-496

Book chapters (selected)

  • 2016 'The Difference Indigeneity Makes: Socio-natures, knowledges and contested policy,' in M Raftopoulos & M Coletta (eds.) Provincializing Nature: Multidisciplinary Approaches to the Politics of the Environment in Latin America. ILAS Book Series, London, pp.161-185.
  • 2016 'Civil society: Management, Mismanagement and Informal Governance,' in D. Hammett & J Grugel (eds.) Handbook of International Development. London, Palgrave Macmillan.
  • 2015 'Gender and Postcolonialism,' in A. Coles, L. Gray and J. Momsen (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Gender and Development. Routledge, pp. 35-46.
  • 2014 'Genre, race et appartenance ethnique comme freins au développement' [Gender and race-ethnicity as barriers to development], in H. Guetat-Bernard and M. Saussey (eds.) Genre et savoirs: pratiques et innovations rurales au Sud. Marseille, IRD Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, pp.61-83.
  • 2014 'Plural knowledges and Modernity: Social difference and geographical explanations,' in K. Okamoto and Y. Ishikawa (eds) Traditional wisdom and modern knowledge for the earth's future. Springer. International Perspectives in Geography 1, pp.79-102.
  • 2011 'Third Space, abstract space and coloniality: National and subaltern cartography in Ecuador,' in Postcolonial Spaces: The politics of place in contemporary culture, A Teverson and S Upstone (eds.). London, Palgrave.
  • 2011 'Representing the Nation' in Mapping Latin America: Space and Society, 1492-2000. K Offen and J Dym (eds), Chicago, University of Chicago Press.
  • 2010 'Epílogo: Historias de vida de mujeres indígenas a través de la educación y el liderazgo: Intersecciones de raza, género y locación' [Indigenous women's life-histories through education and leadership: Intersections of race, gender and location] in Celebraciones centenarias y negociaciones por la nación ecuatoriana. V Coronel and M Prieto (eds.), pp.317-348. Quito: FLACSO, Sede Ecuador and Ecuador Ministry of Culture.
  • 2008 "Women's movements in Ecuador in the twentieth century," in C. de la Torre and S. Striffler (eds.) The Ecuador Reader: History, Culture, Politics. Duke University Press, Durham and London, pp. 284-296.
  • 2008 "Governance, citizenship and Ecuadorian indigenous women" [Las mujeres indígenas ecuatorianas bajo la gobernabilidad multicultural y de género], in P Wade, F Urrea, & M Viveros (eds) Raza, etnicidad y sexualidades: ciudadanía y multiculturalismo en América Latina. Univalle /La Universidad Nacional, Bogota, Colombia. pp. 105-136


Sarah teaches on undergraduate courses in the Geographical Tripos:

  • Second Year: Ciitzenship, Cities and Civil Society
  • Third Year: Political Geography of Postcolonialism

External activities

  • Chair of the Management Committee of Centre of Latin American Studies