Prof Robin Cohen

Professor Emeritus of Development Studies

Robin Cohen is Emeritus Professor and Former Director of the International Migration Institute, University of Oxford. He is Senior Research Fellow at Kellogg College.

He has held full professorships at the Universities of the West Indies and Warwick and taught also at the Universities of Ibadan, Birmingham, Stanford, Toronto and Berkeley. He served as Dean of Humanities at the University of Cape Town (2001/3) and directed the nationally designated UK Centre for Research in Ethnic Relations at Warwick (1985/9).

His books include Labour and Politics in Nigeria (1974, rev. 1982), Endgame in South Africa? (1986), The New Helots: Migrants in the International Division of Labour (1987, 2023), Frontiers of Identity: The British and the Others (1994), Global Diasporas: An Introduction (1997, rev. 2008, 2012), Global Sociology (co-author, 2000, 2013), Migration and its Enemies (2006). and Encountering Difference (co-author 2016)  and Migration: The Movement of Humankind from Prehistory to the Present (2019).

He has edited or co-edited 21 further volumes, particularly on the sociology and politics of developing areas, ethnicity, international migration, transnationalism and globalisation. His major works have been translated into Chinese, Danish, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Slovenian and Spanish.

With Nicholas Van Hear, he is currently working on issues of mass displacement and a history of migration studies at Oxford


In the media

Books and monographs

Cohen, Robin (with Nicholas Van Hear) (2019) 'Refugia: Radical Solutions to Mass Displacement', Routledge
Cohen, Robin (with Carolin Fischer) (eds) (2018) 'Routledge Handbook of Diaspora Studies', Routledge
Cohen, Robin (with Olivia Sheringham) (2016) 'Encountering difference: diasporic traces, creolizing spaces', Polity Press (Korean edition, 2018)
Cohen, Robin (with G Jonsson) (eds) (2011) 'Migration and Culture', Cheltenham: Edward Elgar
Cohen, Robin (with P Toninato) (2009) 'The Creolization Reader: Studies in Mixed Identities and Cultures', London and New York: Routledge pp 416
Cohen, Robin (2008) 'Global Diasporas: An Introduction', London and New York: Routledge pp 226
Cohen, Robin (with P Kennedy) (2007) 'Global Sociology', Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan
Cohen, Robin (2006) 'Migration and its Enemies: Global Capital, Migrant Labour and the Nation State', Aldershot: Ashgate pps 252
Cohen, Robin (2003) 'The New Helots: Migrants in the International Division of Labour', Reprinted Aldershot: Ashgate pps 290
Cohen, Robin (with S Vertovec) (eds) (2002) 'Conceiving Cosmopolitanism: Theory, Context and Practice', Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press pps 314
Cohen, Robin (2001) 'Global Diasporas: An Introduction', New Routledge edition pps 374

Journal articles and special issues

Cohen, Robin (with Nicholas Van Hear) (2017) 'Diasporas and conflict: distance, contiguity and spheres of engagement', Oxford Development Studies 45 (2) 171–84
Cohen, Robin (with Nicholas Van Hear) (2017) 'Visions of Refugia: territorial and transnational solutions to mass displacement', Planning Theory and Practice 18 (3) 494-504
Cohen, Robin (2015) 'Reconsidering social inclusion/exclusion in social theory: nine perspectives, three levels', Mondi Migranti: Rivista di studi e ricerche sulle migrazioni internazionali 1 7–29
Cohen, Robin (2010) 'Cinematic Representations of Diaspora: Italians and Jews', Crossings: Journal of Migration and Culture 1(1) 5-23
Cohen, Robin (with Olivia Sheringham) (2008) 'The salience of islands in the articulation of creolization and diaspora', Diaspora: a journal of transnational studies 17 (1) 6–17
Cohen, Robin (with Olivia Sheringham ) (eds) (2008) 'Islands, Diaspora and Creolization', Special issue of Diaspora: A Journal of Transnational Studies 17 (1)
Cohen, Robin (2007) 'Creolization and cultural globalization: The soft sounds of fugitive power', Globalizations 4(3) pp 369-384
Cohen, Robin (2006) 'Introduction: From Fear to Solidarity', Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 32(4) pp 561-7
Cohen, Robin (2006) 'Migration and Health in Southern Africa', Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 32(4) pps 181
Cohen, Robin (2005) 'La liberte de circulation de devises et de personnes: les debats avant et apres le 11 Septembre 2001', Migrations Societe 27(102) pp 45-69
Cohen, Robin (2004) 'Il mondo delle diaspore ci fa paura', Reset (Rome) 84 pp 75-78
Cohen, Robin (2004) 'Quella ebraica, madre di tutti le diaspore', Reset (Rome) 82 pp 44-48
Cohen, Robin (2004) 'Chinese Cockle-Pickers, the Transnational Turn and Everyday Cosmopolitanism: Reflections on the New Global Migrants', Labour, Capital and Society 37(2) pp 130-49
Cohen, Robin (2003) 'Crossing the Line. Migration: The End of Borders', Index on Censorship 32(2) 60-9


Cohen, Robin (with Gunvor Jónsson) (2011) 'Connecting culture and migration'. In Robin Cohen, Gunvor Jónsson (eds) Migration and Culture , Cheltenham: Edward Elgar
Cohen, Robin (2010) 'Social Identities, Diaspora and Creolization'. In K Knott, S McLoughlin (eds) Diasporas: Concepts, Identities, Intersections , London: Zed Books
Cohen, Robin (2009) 'The Creolization Debate: Analysing Mixed Identities and Cultures'. In R Cohen, P Toninato (eds) The Creolization Reader: Studies in Mixed Indentites pps 1-22 , London and New York: Routledge
Cohen, Robin (2009) 'Solid, Ductile and Liquid: The Changing Role of Homeland and Home in Diaspora Studies'. In Y Sternberg, EB Rafael (eds) Transnationalism: Diasporas and the Advents of a New Dis(order) , Leiden: Brill
Cohen, Robin (2007) 'Diasporas: Changing Meanings and Limits of the Concept'. In W Berthomiere, C Chivallon (eds) Les diasporas dan le monde pp 39-48 , Contemporain Paris: Karthala and Maison des Ciences de l'Homme (Bordeaux Pessac)
Cohen, Robin (2005) 'Preface'. In Chan Kwok Bun (ed) Migration, Ethnic Relations and Chinese Business xi-xii , London: Routlege
Cohen, Robin (2005) 'Diaspora, the Nation State and Globalization'. In B Mazlish, A Iriye (eds) The Global History Reader pp 92-103 , New York: Routledge
Cohen, Robin (2005) 'Reti di migranti transnazionali'. In M Tirabassi (ed) Itinera: paradigmi delle migrazioni italiane 21-42 , Turin: Edizioni della Fondazione Giovanni Agnelli
Cohen, Robin (2003) 'Preface'. Global Diasporas: An Introduction (Greek Edition) 21-4 , Athens
Cohen, Robin (with S Vertovec) (2002) 'Introduction: Conceiving Cosmopolitanism'. In S Vertovec, R Cohen (eds) Conceiving Cosmopolitanism: Theory, Context and Practice pp 1-22 , Oxford: Oxford University Press
Cohen, Robin (with R Fine) (2002) 'Four Cosmopolitan Moments'. In S Vertovec, R Cohen (eds) Conceiving Cosmopolitanism: Theory, Context and Practice 137-62 , Oxford: Oxford University Press
Cohen, Robin (2001) 'Labour in an Age of Global Insecurity'. In B Harriss-White (ed) Globaliszation and Insecurity: Political, Economic and Physical Challenges pp 203-17 , Basingstoke: Palgrave
Cohen, Robin (2001) 'Fuzzy Frontiers of Identity: The British Case'. In H Goulbourne (ed) Race and Ethnicity: Critical Concepts in Sociology Vol 2 Solidarities and Communities , London: Routlege
Cohen, Robin (2001) 'European and East-West Migration in a Global Context'. In M Cross (ed) The Sociology of Race and Ethnicity , Cheltenham: Edward Elgar
Cohen, Robin (2001) 'Diaspora'. In NJ Smelser, P B Baltes (eds) International Encyclopaedia of the Social and Behavioural Sciences pp 3642-5 , Oxford: Pergamon
17 January, 2020
New book by Robin Cohen, Nicholas Van Hear sets out proposal for transnational polity for refugees
16 October, 2018
New book edited by alumna Carolin Fischer and Robin Cohen: Routledge Handbook of Diaspora Studies
10 Feb, 2021
'COVID vaccines: rich countries have bought more than they need – here’s how they could be redistributed'. Robin Cohen writes for the Conversation
16 Jun, 2020
'Falling Statues and Morality: Cecil Rhodes can’t be rescued by history'. Robin Cohen draws on his personal history to examine contemporary attitudes towards Cecil Rhodes
14 Apr, 2020
'Coronavirus puts class dimension of mobility into sharp focus'. Prof Robin Cohen wrote for the Conversation on how the pandemic demonstrates the salience of class to the spread, containment and impact of infectious diseases
20 Mar, 2020
‘"Take me home": The coronavirus virus and panic mobility'. Robin Cohen writes about how humans can act as unwitting bearers of lethal viruses by moving rapidly away from known sites of infection
Research interests: