Robin Cohen was born in South Africa and studied politics and history at the University of the Witwatersrand, leaving in 1964 as the repressive apartheid regime tightened its grip. He met his wife Selina Molteno in London, who was then working for the Anti-Apartheid Movement. They lived in Nigeria during that country’s civil war (1967–9), while Robin undertook doctoral studies on the labour movement. After 36 years in exile they returned to a post-apartheid South Africa for 3 years, where Robin was Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Cape Town (2001–3). Robin has been an active editor and writer. For example, he is editor of the Routledge series on Global diasporas, the Elgar international library of studies on migration and the Cambridge survey of world migration. With Steve Vertovec and Ali Rogers he co-founded the journal Global Networks. His 10 authored books are listed on this site. He has edited or co-edited 23 other books and special issues, and published many papers, to which links are available. Open access papers can be downloaded from this site. His major works have been translated into Danish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese and Spanish.His initial work on labour movements in Africa, was followed by developing interests in the sociology and politics of developing areas, social identity, international migration, transnationalism and globalisation. He is best known for being one of a small group of scholars who revived the ancient notion of diaspora in the 1990s and gave it fresh conceptual purchase. He was Principal Investigator on the Oxford Diasporas Programme funded by the Leverhulme Trust (2011–5). A book about Robin's academic influence was published in 2016, titled From New Helots to New Diasporas: A Retrospective for Robin Cohen (eds. Nicholas Van Hear, Selina Molteno and Oliver Bakewell) It is fully downloadable from this site.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Diasporas, Creolization, Globalization, Island Societies, Development, Migration, African Studies
Friends, food, travel (especially to France and South Africa)