Centre for Studies in Literature


Mr Clive Clare-Barker

  • Qualifications: BSc (Hons) Sociology (University of Leicester), Diploma in Applied Social Studies (Portsmouth Polytechnic), MA Contemporary Fiction (Merit) University of Winchester
  • Role Title: PhD Student
  • Address: Milldam, Burnaby Road, Portsmouth, Hants PO1 3AS
  • Telephone: 023 9284 6033
  • Email: clive.clare-barker@port.ac.uk
  • Department: School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies
  • Faculty: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences


My background encompasses both commerce and academia, with the latter now taking precedence in researching the relationship between the discourses of art and science, explored through mortality as represented in the works of J. M. Coetzee.

My research focuses on the humanist convention that individual autonomy is synonymous with the development of Enlightenment reason, but rendered problematic by the Darwinian understanding of humankind as species. I explore Coetzee's corpus as challenging not only the humanist convention that art and science are mutually exclusive discourses, but also how the West's Judeo-Christian tradition has over-determined its understanding of mortality. In this respect, Coetzee's deconstruction of the numerous oppositions shaping his formative years under apartheid: black and white, civilized and savage, master and slave and human and non-human, explores the way Western reason assigns mortality selectively to categories defined as 'other'. My research investigates Coetzee's corpus as a form of fiction that evokes new knowledge, which is mediated through the prism of mortality, a category that intermingles both cultural and biological factors. The objective of my research is to demonstrate how Coetzee's fiction introduces a profound interrogation of reason's place-mark of the sovereign individual on the chain of being, while acknowledging science as an inclusive discourse in literature, not as a means of providing definitive intellectual closure, against which Postmodernism cautions, but as an important contribution in broadening the scope and substance of literary scholarship.



  • Animality
  • Science Writing
  • Senescence
  • Contemporary Fiction
  • Post-humanism