Clifton Crais


Department of History

Office: Bowden 329

Phone: (404) 727-8396



Clifton Crais, Professor (B.A., University of Maryland, 1982; M.A., Johns Hopkins, 1984; Ph.D., 1988). Over the course of my career my research interests have ranged from African history, inequality, and comparative world history, to biography, neuroscience, creative non-fiction, memory, trauma and narrative. I am author of over one hundred works, including:  History Lessons:  A Memoir of Madness, Memory, and the Brain (Overlook and Penguin, 2014); The South Africa Reader: History, Culture, Politics (Duke, 2014), co-edited with Thomas McClendon; Poverty, War, and Violence in South Africa (Cambridge 2011); Sara Baartman and the Hottentot Venus: A Ghost Story and a Biography (Princeton, 2008, 2010,) on the woman more famously known as the “Hottentot Venus,” and the subject of a feature film, Venus Noire; The Politics of Evil: Magic, Power and the Political Imagination in South Africa (Cambridge, 2002, 2009), White Supremacy and Black Resistance in Pre-Industrial South Africa: The Making of the Colonial Order in the Eastern Cape, 1770-1865 (Cambridge, 1992), editor of The Culture of Power in Southern Africa: Essays on State Formation and the Political Imagination (Portsmouth, 2003), co-editor of Breaking the Chains: Slavery and its Legacy in Nineteenth-Century South Africa (Johannesburg and Bloomington, 1995); and Area Editor of the Encyclopedia of World History, 8 vol. (Oxford University Press, 2008).

My new work is a projected two-volume Global History of the Present.  I am particularly interested in connecting human and non-human histories, the force of violence in the making of the contemporary world, and in alternative ways of envisioning past and present.

My Curriculum Vitae


  • BA, University of Maryland, 1982.
  • MA, Johns Hopkins University, 1984.
  • PhD, Johns Hopkins University, 1988.


  • African history
  • comparative and cross cultural history
  • history and theory

Current Graduate Students

Recently-Appointed Doctoral Graduates