James Clifford - RCMC-FEL Senior Scholar
RCMC/FEL Distinguished Fellow | 2016

James Clifford

James Clifford was the first RCMC/FEL Distinguished Fellow in April/May 2016.


James Clifford, Emeritus Professor at UCSC and Visiting Professor at Stanford, is best known for his historical and literary critiques of anthropological representation, travel writing, and museum practices. Clifford co-edited (with George Marcus) the influential intervention, Writing Culture, the Poetics and Politics of Ethnography (1986). Clifford has just published Returns: Becoming Indigenous in the 21st Century (2013), a book that is the third in a trilogy. The first volume, The Predicament of Culture (1988) juxtaposed essays on 20th-century ethnography, literature, and art. The second, Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late 20th Century (1997) explored the dialectics of dwelling and traveling in post-modernity. The three books are inventive combinations of analytic scholarship, meditative essays, and poetic experimentation.

Photo © Sebastian Bolesch / HKW

About FEL

The Fund for Ethnology in Leiden (FEL) tries to improve our shared knowledge and awareness of the marvels of the world’s visual and material culture, and to enhance collaboration between Leiden University, National Museum for Ethnology (Museum Volkenkunde), and other international centres for the study of world heritage. The Fund was an independent foundation and has been discontinued since 2018. It is now an earmarked fund at the Research Center for Material Culture. The Fund continues to support the annual and public Adriaan Gerbrands Lecture, the RCMC/FEL Junior Fellowship program and the RCMC/FEL Distinguished Fellowship program.

Read more about RCMC/FEL programs here.