University of Leicester historian bestowed British Academy honour

A University of Leicester expert on imperial and global history has been recognised for their contribution to the humanities and social sciences.   

Professor Clare Anderson, Professor of History and Director of the Leicester Institute for Advanced Studies, has been elected to the Fellowship of the British Academy as a UK Fellow.

Professor Anderson is a leading authority on the history of empires and global history, and focuses on the history and legacies of colonial prisons, penal colonies, and forced migration and labour.

Founded in 1902, the British Academy is the UK’s national academy for the humanities and social sciences. It is a Fellowship of over 1,600 of the leading minds in these subjects from the UK and overseas. Current Fellows include the classicist Professor Dame Mary Beard, the historian Professor Sir Simon Schama and philosopher Professor Baroness Onora O’Neill, while previous Fellows include Dame Frances Yates, Sir Winston Churchill, Seamus Heaney and Beatrice Webb. The Academy is also a funding body for research, nationally and internationally, and a forum for debate and engagement.  

Professor Anderson said: “The British Academy generously supported my first postdoctoral project, awarding me £2,200 in 1999 to support historical research in the India Office archives.

“It is no exaggeration to say that the work that I was able to complete at that time was fundamental for the development of later, more ambitious research projects and programmes.

“I can hardly believe that almost 25 years have passed, since then, and I am thrilled to have received the great honour of being elected as Fellow.”

In 1997, Professor Anderson became a lecturer in the-then Department of Economic and Social History at Leicester. She joined the Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick as a reader in 2007 and returned to Leicester as Professor of History in 2011, moving to a research-focused chair in 2017. Professor Anderson is of the Leicester Institute of Advanced Studies (LIAS), where she endeavours to encourage and support interdisciplinary excellence across departments, schools and colleges, including through university and wider partnership working locally, nationally, and internationally.

Professor Anderson has given public and keynote lectures in many countries and has been a visiting fellow at UT Sydney and the University of Tasmania. She has held both the Caird Research Fellowship and Sackler-Caird Senior Research Fellowship at the National Maritime Museum, and is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Higher Education Academy.

In recognition of her professional standing, in 2022, then Prime Minister Boris Johnson appointed Professor Anderson as a trustee of Royal Museums Greenwich. She is now also vice-chair of its Collections and Research Committee.

Welcoming the new Fellows, Professor Julia Black, President of the British Academy, said: “It is with great pleasure that we welcome yet another outstanding cohort to the Academy’s Fellowship. The scope of research and expertise on display across our newly elected UK, Corresponding and Honorary Fellows shows the breadth and depth of knowledge and insight held by the British Academy. It is our role to harness this to understand and help shape a better world. 

“With the vast expertise and wide-ranging insights brought by our new Fellows, the Academy continues to showcase the importance of the SHAPE (Social Sciences, Humanities and the Arts for People and the Economy) disciplines in opening fresh seams of knowledge and understanding, while simultaneously advancing the well-being and prosperity of societies worldwide. I wholeheartedly congratulate each of our new Fellows on this achievement and look forward to working together.”