Kim Clark
Department of Anthropology

Western University
Office: SSC 3412 &
SSC 3323 (Chair’s office)

(519) 661-2111
Ext. 85090 &                      Ext. 85085 (Chair’s office)

Fax: (519) 661-2157
Address: Department of Anthropology
University of Western Ontario
London, ON
N6A 5C2


Academic Background
Professor and Department Chair (Anthropology, University of Western Ontario, 2015-present)
Faculty Scholar (Social Science, University of Western Ontario, 2015-17)

PhD (Anthropology, New School for Social Research, 1993)
M.A. (Anthropology, New School for Social Research, 1990)
B.A. (Anthropology, University of British Columbia, 1986)
Research Interests

My research program has been informed since my graduate work by an interest in livelihood strategies and struggles, in the formation over time of relations among social groups with differing degrees and kinds of power, and by the uneven processes by which groups and regions are incorporated politically and economically into the Ecuadorian national polity. I have approached these questions by seeking what Max Gluckman called many years ago “social situations,” or contexts of encounter where members of different social groups are drawn into interactions, bringing with them varying and sometimes overlapping interests and intentions. While my research has taken place in specific locations, it is not primarily community-based.

 My 1998 book explored uneven experiences of national incorporation by region, ethnicity and class in Ecuador by examining a link that connected localities: the national railway. That infrastructure project was shot through by political processes, which were evident even in the choice of route. It also was incorporated into rather different political and economic projects by different regional groups, although their interests converged sufficiently to allow for a fragile consensus to emerge around the railway project (facilitated by the use of a shared but contested discourse). At the local level, too, specific instances of social conflict revealed the constellations of opportunities and problems that simultaneously were associated with railway construction, and how various social groups aligned themselves in different ways vis-à-vis the project in different circumstances.

 I then moved to a consideration of racial and national ideologies during postdoctoral work and thereafter, both as expressed during peasant livelihood struggles and as articulated by dominant groups in a range of public venues.  I was interested there in such issues as the triangular relationship between indigenous peasants, landowners, and the state, and in general in practices, strategies, and negotiations, as well as ideologies. Some of this work is presented in journal articles and in a co-edited volume on indigenous-state relations in Ecuador.

 In the process of exploring archival sources on those topics, I became aware of the rich documentation about the everyday activities involved in Ecuadorian medicine and public health. I approached public health initially as a site where members of dominant and subordinate groups came together, and where ideologies were forged about the problematic biology and behaviour of subordinate groups. As I pursued those topics, however, the evidence led me to consider public health workers as much more varied in background and perspective, and the public health service itself as a state agency and workplace where different groups of employees came together with a range of motivations, which often had a significant effect on the design of programs and how they were delivered. I became increasingly interested in the implications of this material for how we understand governance and state formation, tied to my ongoing interest in political processes. Rather than impute motives to the actors involved in these processes, to the extent possible I seek to explore what they thought they were doing in particular situations and programs, and to understand the complex social landscape on which they were acting, with its pressures, limits, and opportunities. A decade of research on these topics is presented in part in my 2012 book on gender and state formation, and another book is in progress that I envision as a historical institutional ethnography of the Public Health Service (some of these research results can be found in recent book chapters).

Select Publications
Gender, State and Medicine in Highland Ecuador: Modernizing Women, Modernizing the State, 1895-1950. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012.
Highland Indians and the State in Modern Ecuador. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007. Co-edited with Marc Becker.
The Redemptive Work: Railway and Nation in Ecuador, 1895-1930. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1998

Articles and Book Chapters

“New Arenas of State Action in Highland Ecuador: Public Health and State Formation, c. 1925-1950,” in State Theory and Andean Politics: New Approaches to the Study of Rule, edited by Christopher Krupa and David Nugent (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015), 126-141.

“A Project of Governing and its Contradictions: Maternal-Infant Care in Highland Ecuador,” in Governing Cultures: Ethnographic Perspectives on Political Labor, Power, and Government, edited by Kendra Coulter and William R. Schumann (New York: Palgrave-MacMillan, 2012), 47-67.
 “Ecuadorian Indians, the Nation and Class in Historical Perspective: Rethinking a ‘New Social Movement’.” Anthropologica 47 (2005): 31-43

"The Language of Contention in Liberal Ecuador,” in Culture, Economy, Power: Anthropology as Critique, Anthropology as Praxis, edited by Winnie Lem and Belinda Leach (Albany: SUNY Press, 2002). Pp. 150-162.

“Race, ‘Culture’ and Mestizaje: The Statistical Construction of the Ecuadorian Nation, 1930-1950.” Journal of Historical Sociology 11:2 (1998), 185-211.


“Racial Ideologies and the Quest for National Development: Debating the Agrarian Problem in Ecuador (1930-1950).” Journal of Latin American Studies 30: 2 (1998), 373-393.

"Globalization Seen from the Margins: Indigenous Ecuadorians and the Politics of Place.” Anthropologica 39 (1997): 17-26.
"Indians, the State and Law: Public Works and the Struggle to Control Labour in Liberal Ecuador.” Journal of Historical Sociology 7:1 (1994), 49-72.

Selected Spanish-Language Publications


La obra redentora: El ferrocarril y la nación en Ecuador, 1895-1930. Quito: Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar and Corporación Editora Nacional, 2004.

Articles and Book Chapters

“El ferrocarril y las políticas de redención en el Ecuador,” in El camino de hierro: Cien años de la llegada del ferrocarril a Quito, edited by María Pía Vera (Quito: FONSAL, 2008). Pp. 83-109.


“Raza, ‘cultura’ y mestizaje en el primer censo de Ecuador,” in Formaciones de indianidad: Articulaciones raciales, mestizaje y nación en América Latina, edited by Marisol de la Cadena (Bogotá: Envión Editores, 2007), pp. 149-171.


“Los feminismos estéticos e anti-estéticos en el Ecuador de comienzos del siglo veinte: Un análisis de género y generación.” Procesos (Quito) 22 (2005): 85-105.


“La formación del estado ecuatoriano en el campo y la ciudad (1895-1925).” Procesos (Quito) 19 (2003): 117-130.


“El sexo y la responsabilidad en Quito: Prostitución, género y el estado, c. 1920-1950.” Procesos (Quito) 16 (2001): 35-59.


“La medida de la diferencia: Las imágenes indigenistas de los indios serranos en el Ecuador (1920s a 1940s),” in Ecuador racista: Imágenes e identidades, edited by Emma Cervone and Fredy Rivera (Quito: FLACSO, 1999). Pp. 111-126.


“Población indígena, incorporación nacional y procesos globales: Del liberalismo al neo-liberalismo (Ecuador, 1895-1995).” In Globalización, ciudadanía y política social en América Latina: Tensiones y contradicciones, edited by Andrés Pérez Baltodano (Caracas: Nueva Sociedad, 1997). Pp. 149-171.


“Género, raza y nación: La protección a la infancia en el Ecuador, 1910-1945.” In Palabras del silencio: Las mujeres latinoamericanas y su historia, edited by Martha Moscoso (Quito: Abya-Yala, DGIS-Holanda, and UNICEF, 1995). Pp. 219-256. (Reprinted in Antología de estudios de género, edited by Gioconda Herrera [Quito: FLACSO and ILDIS, 2001], pp. 183-210.)


“‘El bienestar nacional’: Experiencias del mercado interno en el Ecuador, 1910-1930.” Procesos (Quito) 7 (1995): 59-88.