CLR James

C.L.R. James
C. L. R. James

C.L.R. James, in full Cyril Lionel Robert James, (born Jan. 4, 1901, Tunapuna, Trinidad—died May 31, 1989, London, Eng.), West Indian-born cultural historian, cricket writer, and political activist who was a leading figure in the Pan-African movement. 

James was certified as a teacher at Queen’s Royal College in Port of Spain, Trinidad (1918). In 1932 he moved to England, where he published The Life of Captain Cipriani (1932; revised as The Case for West-Indian Self-Government, 1933) with the personal and financial support of the West Indian cricketer and politician Learie (later Lord) Constantine. During the 1930s James was a cricket correspondent for The Guardian (Manchester) and became increasingly involved in Marxist politics and the African and West Indian independence movements. His most notable work was The Black Jacobins (1938), a Marxist study of the Haitian slave revolution of the 1790s, which won him widespread acclaim

Biography Source

Texts by JamesTexts about JamesVideos on James
  • The Making of the Caribbean Peoples” (2013)

    Citation: James, C. L. R. The Making of the Caribbean Peoples. Bogle L’Ouverture Publications, 1971.
    Info: “This lecture on what James has called “perhaps the strangest community in existence” was delivered in Canada in the summer of 1966, at the Second Montreal Conference on West Indian Affairs.”

  • Toussaint Louverture: The Story of the Only Successful Slave Revolt in History; A Play in Three Acts” (2013)

    Citation: James, Cyril Lionel Robert, et al. Toussaint Louverture the Story of the Only Successful Slave Revolt in History: a Play in Three Acts. Duke University Press, 2013.
    Info: “In Toussaint Louverture, James demonstrates the full tragedy and heroism of Louverture by showing how the Haitian revolutionary leader is caught in a dramatic conflict arising from the contradiction between the barbaric realities of New World slavery and the modern ideals of the Enlightenment.”
    (This play was written by James in 1934.  The play was performed at London’s Westminster Theater and starred Paul Robeson. It was presumed lost until rediscovered in 2005.)

  • Walter Rodney and the Question of Power” (1981)

    Citation: James, C. L. R. Walter Rodney and the Question of Power. Race Today Publications, 1983.
    Info: “This is a speech first given in 1981 and then published in Race Today in 1983 that assesses Rodney’s life and work.”

  • Fanon and the Caribbean” (1978)

    Citation: James, CLR. 1978. “Fanon and the Caribbean.” in International Tribute to Frantz Fanon: Record of the Special Meeting of the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid. New York, NY: United Nations Centre against Apartheid.

  • The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Overture and San Domingo Revolution” (1963)

    Citation: James, C. L. R. Os Jacobinos Negros: Toussaint L’Ouverture e a Revolução De São Domingos. Boitempo, 2000.
    Info: This title chronicles the successful revolt when brutally treated slaves in Saint Domingo rose up in rebellion against their French masters during the French Revolution in 1791.

  • Decolonial Strategies in World Politics: C.L.R. James and the Writing and Playing of Cricket” by Priya Dixit (2018)

    Citation: Dixit, Priya. “Decolonial Strategies in World Politics: C.L.R. James and the Writing and Playing of Cricket.” Globalizations, vol. 15, no. 3, 2018, pp. 377–389., doi:10.1080/14747731.2018.1424284.
    Info: “In this paper, Dixit addresses and considers sports – specifically the sport of cricket – as a global phenomenon, useful for discussing key decolonizing strategies. This paper argues that cricket, as a form of popular culture, offers language and practices to critique oppressive sociopolitical norms and global hierarchies”.

  •  The Theory of Haiti: The Black Jacobins and the Poetics of Universal History” by David Scott (2014)Citation: Scott, David. “The Theory of Haiti.” The Black Jacobins Reader, 2014, pp. 115–138., doi:10.1215/9780822373940-009.
    Info: “This essay inquires into the uses of Haiti and its revolution as emblematic for contemporary theory. It raises a question about the new “philosophic” construction of Haiti—and its revolution—as an originary or exemplary moment of “human rights,” less to impugn universality as such than to caution that it is always important to ask about the ideological construction of the theory-problems in our scholarship”.
  • “C.L.R. James: The Black Plato of our Generation” (2013) by Robert C Lalljie  

    Citation: C Lalljie, Robert.  2013.  “C.L.R. James: The Black Plato of our Generation.” In The Making of the Caribbean Peoples and CLR James: The Black Plato of our Generation.  Amazon Digital Services, LLC.

  • Urbane Revolutionary: C.L.R. James and the Struggle for a New Society–Rethinking Race, Politics, and Poetics” (2009) by C Høgsbjerg 

    Citation: Høgsbjerg, Christian. “Urbane Revolutionary: C.L.R. James and the Struggle for a New Society Rethinking Race, Politics, and Poetics: C.L.R. James’ Critique of Modernity.” Historical Materialism, vol. 17, no. 3, 2009, pp. 221–234., doi:10.1163/146544609×12469428108709.
    Info: “This review-essay examines two recent works of scholarship on the life and work of the late Trinidadian intellectual and activist C.L.R. James (1901-89). While recognising the respective merits of Frank Rosengarten’s (2008) and Brett St Louis’s (2007) the essay argues that a critical weakness of both works is their problematic discussion of James’s Marxism.”

  • James and Postnational Studies” (2006) by Chris Gair  

    Citation: Gair, Chris (ed.).  2006.   James and Postnational Studies.  London: Pluto Press.

  • C.L.R. James: The Artist as Revolutionary(1997) by P. Muhle 

    Citation: Buhle, Paul, et al. C.L.R. James: the Artist as Revolutionary. Verso, 2017.
    Info:  “Paul Buhle, a longtime editorial collaborator with James, has produced a rich and informed analysis of his accomplishments. Drawing upon extensive interviews with James, his critics and his erstwhile supporters, together with many previously unpublished documents, Buhle’s book offers an appreciative and enlightening portrait of the man and his times.”

  • The C.L.R. James Reader.” (1992) by Anna Grimshaw (1992)

    Citation: James, Cyril L. R., and Anna Grimshaw. The C.L.R. James Reader. Blackwell, 1992.

  • C. L. R. James’ Caribbean(1992) by Paget Henry and Paul Buhle 

    Citation: Henry, Paget. C. L. R. James’s Caribbean. Duke Univ. Press, 1992.
    Info: “In C. L. R. James’s Caribbean, noted scholars examine the roots of both James’s life and oeuvre in connection with the economic, social, and political environment of the West Indies.”

  • C.L.R. James: A Revolutionary Vision for the Twentieth Century” (1991) by Anna Grimshaw 

    Citation: Grimshaw, Anna.  1991.  C.L.R. James: A Revolutionary Vision for the Twentieth Century.  New York, Smyrna Press.
    Info: “This essay was originally published in booklet form (comprising pp. 9-43) by The C.L.R. James Institute and Cultural Correspondence, New York, in co-operation with Smyrna Press, April 1991”.

  • Francophone Caribbean Perspectives on C.L.R. James
  • James Rewriting Marx
  • C.L.R. Interview on his Black  Jacobins