Dr John Clark
Dr John Clark

John Clark

BA (W. Ontario), MA (Toronto), DPhil (Oxon.) - Senior Lecturer

Contact Details

E-mail -  jfc2@st-and.ac.uk
Telephone - +44 (0)1334 462910
Fax - +44 (0)1334 462914

Research Profile on Research@StAndrews



Teaching and Research Interests

My research and teaching focus principally on nineteenth- and twentieth-century British and North American history, with special reference to environment, science, and medicine. After my undergraduate studies at the University of Western Ontario (BA Hons), I embarked on postgraduate studies at the University of Toronto (MA), where I pursued work on Canadian and British intellectual history.  In many ways, research on nineteenth-century Canadian natural history at Toronto laid the foundations for my long-standing interest in the history of natural history.  I have examined the ways in which social roles and cultural assumptions of naturalists and scientists have shaped the formation of their knowledge of the natural world. 

After completing my doctorate at Oxford, I held a Canadian SSHRC-funded postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Oxford before taking up a Wellcome Lectureship in the History of Medicine and the Life Sciences at the University of Kent, Canterbury. I subsequently moved to the University of St Andrews to become director of the Institute for Environmental History, where I oversee the interdisciplinary postgraduate programme in Environmental History, and I am a lecturer in the School of History.

My research and publications have focused on environmental history, the history of natural history, comparative psychology, gender and science, and the history of medicine. From 2001-5, I was the (Associate) Director of the AHRC Research Centre for Environmental History (with Stirling University). I directed a major research initiative in environmental history, focusing upon the history of waste in Britain. This research was organized around three on-going projects: ‘The Language of Waste’; ‘Recycling and Trash Culture’; and ‘The Management of Household Waste in Britain’ (You can hear me speak about the history of waste on a television programme entitled, Trashopolis’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJZNWfNWRIw).  I continue to work on the history of waste, in addition to a broader research project on the history of environmentalism.

Main Publications


Clark, JFM, ed., Special Issue: Avebury’s Circle: The Science of John Lubbock (1834-1913), Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London (March 2014).

Clark, JFM and John Scanlan, eds., Aesthetic Fatigue: Modernity and the Language of Waste (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2013)

ヴィクトリア朝の昆虫学―古典博物学から近代科学への転回 [単行本]
ジョン・F.M. クラーク  (著), John F.M. Clark (原著), 奥本 大三郎 (翻訳), 藤原 多伽夫 (翻訳) [Japanese translation of Bugs and the Victorians (Toyo Shorin, 2011), 335 pp]

Clark, JFM, Bugs and the Victorians (Yale University Press, 2009), 323 pp.

  • Shortlisted for the 2009 History of Science’s Pfizer Prize for Outstanding Book
  • Shortlisted for the Watson Davis and Helen Miles Davis Prize (for promoting public understanding of science), History of Science Society, 2010.
  • For sample reviews, see Judith Flanders in The Telegraph,  9 June 2009:

Ian Pindar in the Guardian, 12 September 2009:
and Simon Schama in the Financial Times, 27 June 2009:

 Clark, JFM, with D Mabberley, J Pickering and S Raphael, Women and Natural History (Oxford, 1996) [An exhibition catalogue]


Clark, JFM, ‘Pesticides, pollution, and the UK’s silent spring, 1963-64: poison in the garden of England’, Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science, 71 (2017), 297-327.

Clark, JFM, ‘The forgotten story of how a toxic spill and a book launched Britain’s environmental movement’, The Conversation, February 21, 2017

Clark, JFM, ‘From the other side of the ocean: environment and empire’, The Canadian Historical Review, 95 (Dec 2014), 574-84.

Clark, JFM, ‘Introduction to Avebury’s Circle: The Science of John Lubbock (1834-1913)', Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London ( March 2014), 3-6.

Clark, JFM, ‘John Lubbock, Science, and the Liberal Intellectual’, Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London (March 2014) 65-87.

Clark, JFM, ‘Sowing the seeds of economic entomology: the development of medical entomology in Britain’, Parassitologia, 50 (2008)

Clark, JFM, ‘“The incineration of refuse is beautiful”: Torquay and the introduction of municipal refuse destructors’, Urban History, 34 (August 2007), 254-76.

Clark, JFM, ‘“The eyes of our potatoes are weeping”: the rise of the Colorado beetle as insect pest’, Archives of Natural History, 34 (April 2007), 109-28.

Clark, JFM, ‘History from the ground up: bugs, political economy, and God in Kirby and Spence’s Introduction to Entomology (1815-1856)’, Isis 7 (March 2006), 28-55

Clark, JFM, ‘Bugs in the system: insects, agricultural science, and professional aspirations in Britain, 1890-1920’, Agricultural History, 75 (2001), 83-114

Clark, JFM, ‘The Irishmen of birds’, History Today, 50 (2000), 16-18

Clark, JFM, ‘John Lubbock and mental evolution’, Endeavour, 22 (1998), 44-47.

Clark, JFM, ‘“The complete biography of every animal”: ants, bees, and humanity in nineteenth-century England’, Studies in the History and Philosophy of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 29 (1998), 249-67.

Clark, JFM, ‘“The ants were duly visited”: making sense of John Lubbock, scientific naturalism, and the senses of social insects’, British Journal for the History of Science, 30 (1997), 151-176.

Clark, JFM, with Alan Costall and Robert H Wozniak, ‘Conwy Lloyd Morgan (1852-1936): an introduction to his work and a bibliography of his writings’, Teorie & Modelli, n.s. 2 (1997), 65-92.

Clark, JFM, ‘“A little people but exceedingly wise”? Taming the ant and the savage in nineteenth-century England’, La Lettre de la Maison française d’Oxford, no. 7 (1997), 65-83.

Clark, JFM, ‘Beetle mania: the Colorado beetle scare of 1877’, History Today, 42 (1992), 5-7

Clark, JFM, ‘Eleanor Ormerod (1818-1901) as an economic entomologist: “pioneer of purity even more than of Paris Green”’, British Journal for the History of Science, 30 (1992), 431-452


Clark, JFM, ‘Intellectual History and the History of Science’, in Richard Whatmore and Brian Young, eds., Companion to Intellectual History (Oxford: John Wiley & Sons, 2016), pp. 155-69.

Clark, JFM, ‘Patrick Matthew (1790-1874)’, in HCG Matthew, Brian Harrison and Lawrence Goldman (eds), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, May 2010) [new article on nineteenth-century arboriculturist and purported evolutionary precursor of C Darwin].

Clark, JFM, ‘Jesse Cooper Dawes (1878-1955)’ in HCG Matthew, Brian Harrison and Lawrence Goldman (eds), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2009) [new article on twentieth-century sanitary engineer].

Clark, JFM, ‘In the shadow of progress: the rise of municipal waste disposal in Britain’, in The Environmental Histories of Europe and Japan, ed. Tsunetoshi Mizoguchi (University of Nagoya, 2008), pp. 127-38.

Clark, JFM, ‘The fire sermon: municipal waste incineration in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Britain’, in Waste – the social context(Conference proceedings, 11-14 May 2005, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: CD-Rom), pp. 140-49.

Clark, JFM, ‘Introduction’ to DA Christie and EM Tansey (eds), Environmental Toxicology: The Legacy of Silent Spring, Wellcome Witness to Twentieth Century Medicine, vol 19 (London, 2004), pp v-x

Clark, JFM, ‘John Curtis (1791-1862)’, in Bernard Lightman (ed), The Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century British Scientists, 4 vols (London, 2004), i, p. 517

Clark, JFM, ‘William Kirby (1759-1850)’, ‘Eleanor Anne Ormerod  (1828-1901)’, ‘Edward Bagnall Poulton (1856-1943)’ , in Bernard Lightman (ed), The Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century British Scientists , 4 vols (London, 2004), iii, pp. 1147-1148, 1507-1511, 1618-1619.

Clark, JFM, ‘Arthur Everett Shipley (1861-1927)’, ‘William Spence (1782-1860)’, ‘James Francis Stephens (1792-1855)’, ‘John Obadiah Westwood (1805-1893)’, in Bernard Lightman (ed), The Dictionary of Nineteenth-Century British Scientists , 4 vols (London, 2004), iv, pp. 1814-1815, 1883-1884, 1907-1908, 2136-2137.

Clark, JFM, ‘William Platt Ball (1844-1917)’, ‘John Kidd (1775-1851)’, ‘Harold Maxwell Lefroy (1877-1925)’, ‘William Sharp MacLeay (1792-1865)’, ‘Francis Orpen Morris (1810-1893)’, ‘Andrew Murray’ (1812-1878)’, ‘Eleanor Anne Ormerod (1828-1901)’, ‘David Sharp (1840-1922)’, ‘Douglas Alexander Spalding (1841-1877)’, ‘William Spence (1782-1860)’, in HCG Matthew and Brian Harrison (eds), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 60 vols (Oxford, 2004), iii, pp. 577-578; xxxi, pp522-524; xxxiii, pp. 170-171; xxxv, pp. 784-786; xxxix, pp. 270-271, 864-865; xli, pp. 941-944; l, pp. 10-11; li, pp. 743-745, 813-814.

Clark, JFM with VB Wigglesworth, ‘Patrick Alfred Buxton (1892-1930)’, in HCG Matthew and Brian Harrison (eds), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 60 vols (Oxford, 2004), ix, pp. 287-289.

Clark, JFM with ESP Haynes, ‘Edward Clodd (1840-1930)’, in HCG Matthew and Brian Harrison (eds), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 60 vols (Oxford, 2004), xii, pp. 178-179.

Clark, JFM with GC Field, ‘Conwy Lloyd Morgan (1840-1930)’, in HCG Matthew and Brian Harrison (eds), Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, 60 vols (Oxford, 2004), xxxix, pp. 105-107.

Clark, JFM, ‘Ethology and Animal Behaviour’; and ‘Ideology’, in Arne Hessenbruch (ed), Reader’s Guide to the History of Science (London, 2000), pp. 230-232, 367-369.

Clark, JFM, ‘Mirrors to humanity? Historical reflections on culture and social insects’, in Darrell Addison Posey (ed), Cultural and Spiritual Values of Biodiversity (UNEP, 1999), pp. 242-246.

BOOK REVIEWS have been written for Annals of Science, Albion, Archives of Natural History, British Journal for the History of Science, Environmental History, History, Isis, and Social History of Medicine.

Administrative Duties

Teaching Duties

Offers the following Honours courses:

Postgraduate modules taught:

  • Environmental History: Nature and the Western World, 1800-2000
  • Environmental Disasters: Crisis, Catastrophe, and Risk in the Modern World (1755 to Present)
  • Disease and Environment (c.1500-2000)

Co-teaches the core postgraduate course on historiography and methodology:

Postgraduate Students

Arik Clausner - In Aid of Nation and Empire: The Emergence of the Professional British Entomologist
Jamie Hinrichs - 'Wilderness Walking and Writing: A Transatlantic Exchange between the USA and Great Britain

Main Publications


Bugs and the Victorians