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Department of Geography


Professor Sarah A Radcliffe FBA

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



  • 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

Social and Territorial Inequalities in Latin America research programme

Sarah’s research engages with social and territorial inequalities in Latin America. Currently, I am working across four main areas:

  • Geographies of Indigenous Citizenship: In collaboration with PhD students and colleagues in Peru and Ecuador I am undertaking research to track the ways Indigenous groups rework existing substantive citizenship and articulate practices and meanings of citizenship with Indigenous practice and politics. Funded by the Leverhulme Trust, this project examines the daily practices and spaces through which citizenship is articulated relationally through exclusion and in alternative conceptions and practices. See [website also in Spanish] The research builds on previous research in Chile with Mapuche youth and their perspectives on becoming citizens in a neoliberal and conditionally-multicultural country (ESRC funded 2011-14).
  • Equality in diversity: policy, practice and people in Ecuador’s Buen Vivir. Funded by the British Academy, Isaac Newton Trust, and ESRC Impact Acceleration Account, this research explores the institutional, conceptual and socio-political dynamics associated with implementing a rights-based form of citizenship and development. Ongoing research in Ecuador speaks to debates around participatory and inclusive development, while also providing lessons for the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Intersectional dynamics of power, development and new forms of knowledge production. Recent research examined Indigenous women’s experiences of exclusion from development and their intersectional proposals for policy change (funded by ESRC). Listen here to a 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.
  • Decolonial Geographies: I am interested in the ways in which we could learn about, write, and do geography in ways that open it out to other ways of seeing, living in and knowing the world. As well as writing an introductory book on the topic at the moment, I was Chair for the 2017 Royal Geographical Society with IBG conference, which addressed the theme ‘Decolonising Geographical Knowledges’ and I run a Decolonial Research Lab with graduates and post-docs.

Research students

Sarah has supervised numerous PhD students from the UK, Europe and Latin America. I am currently supervising student work on Indigenous autonomous territories, on street-level bureaucrats and new state formations in Ecuador, the Amazonian bioeconomy in Brazil, colonial histories of education in Zimbabwe, water insecurity in upstate New York, and Indigenous women’s work in peri-urban low-income settlements in Bolivia. Recent and current PhD topics include:

  • Indigeneity and diaspora political geographies among Amazigh in Paris
  • Epera women and body-territory in settler colonialism in Ecuador
  • Indigenous women, gender-ethnic performance and political participation in Yucatán, Mexico
  • Grounded experiences of low-income rural women of Peru’s Conditional Cash Transfer

Potential PhD students

I am not taking applications for PhD research at Cambridge from October 2022, although I am able to take enquiries from potential MPhil students in Geography and Latin American Studies. The research topics related to postcolonial citizenship, indigeneity, decolonizing geography, and critical approaches to development are those closest to my current research.  My research expertise is in the Andean countries, although I have  supervised students’ work in Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatemala, the United States and indigeneity 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


[Publications will be loaded automatically from the University’s publications database…]


Sarah teaches on undergraduate courses in the Geographical Tripos:

  • Second Year: Citizenship, Cities and Civil Society
  • Third Year: Geographies of Postcolonialism and Decoloniality

External activities

  • Member of Advisory group, Santo Domingo Centre of Excellence for Latin American Research, British Museum, London, 2019-present
  • Former Chair of Management Committee of Centre of Latin American Studies