Marxism, Colonialism and Cricket

Out now from the CLR James Archives series with Duke University Press…


Marxism, Colonialism, and Cricket: C. L. R. James’s Beyond a Boundary

Edited by David Featherstone, Christopher Gair, Christian Høgsbjerg, Andrew Smith

Widely regarded as one of the most important and influential sports books of all time, C. L. R. James’s Beyond a Boundary is—among other things—a pioneering study of popular culture, an analysis of resistance to empire and racism, and a personal reflection on the history of colonialism and its effects in the Caribbean. More than fifty years after the publication of James’s classic text, the contributors to Marxism, Colonialism, and Cricket investigate Beyond a Boundary’s production and reception and its implication for debates about sports, gender, aesthetics, race, popular culture, politics, imperialism, as well as English and Caribbean identity. Including a previously unseen first draft of Beyond a Boundary‘s conclusion alongside contributions from James’s key collaborator Selma James and Mike Brearley, former captain of the English Test cricket team, Marxism, Colonialism, and Cricket provides a thorough and nuanced examination of James’s groundbreaking work and its lasting impact.

Contributors. Anima Adjepong, David Austin, Hilary McD. Beckles, Mike Brearley, Selwyn R. Cudjoe, David Featherstone, Christopher Gair, Paget Henry, Christian Høgsbjerg, Selma James, Roy McCree, Minkah Makalani, Clem Seecharan, Andrew Smith, Neil Washbourne, Claire Westall


“Few books of the twentieth century inhabit the core of life and carry such human insight as C. L. R. James’s Beyond a Boundary, certainly not with sport as their subject. Marxism, Colonialism and Cricket brings together a series of new reflective essays on James’ epochal book, by writers of the Caribbean, America, and the U.K.—from England’s greatest cricket captain to a cricket-loving Vice-chancellor of the University of the West Indies. Half a century after its first publication, Beyond a Boundary still creates profound depths of response and entirely fresh critical understanding.”
Chris Searle, author of Pitch of Life: Writings on Cricket

“With the publication of Marxism, Colonialism, and Cricket we finally have a critical volume dedicated to C. L. R. James’s seminal text worthy of the original. The stellar line-up of contributors is as broad and impressive as Beyond a Boundary itself. Marxism, Colonialism, and Cricket will quickly become required reading not just for those interested in the intellectual and political life of C. L. R. James but, as importantly, in how we make sense of the contested political terrain of popular culture and sports in the twenty-first century.”
Ben Carrington, author of, Race, Sport and Politics: The Sporting Black Diaspora


Over half a century later, Beyond a Boundary remains the most important study of sport to have emerged from within the tradition of historical materialism. However, in the decades following its publication, there have been multiple theoretical paradigms, such as feminism and postcolonialism, which have emerged to add layers of interpretation to our understanding of sport and its function in late capitalist society. The authors of Marxism, Colonialism and Cricket usefully set themselves the task of trying to integrate the insights offered by these and other perspectives with the pioneering vision developed by James in a bygone era.
Sean Ledwith, Marx and Philosophy of Books, February 2019.

‘the most outstanding sports book of 2019, to date’:
Mark Perryman, the founder of Philosophy Football

This stimulating collection of essays, like James’s book itself, is based in cricket but radiates well beyond it. Stemming from a conference in Glasgow (much of it available at it does full justice to the range and intellectual ambition of its subject, with an excellent introductory summary of the current debates over James from the editors.
David Murray, Symbiosis (October 2019)

‘a must read for C.L.R. James scholars, those interested in cricket, sports in general, Caribbean studies, postcolonial studies, cultural studies and interdisciplinary studies’
Leslie R. James, ‘The Aftermath of Beyond a Boundary: C.L.R. James in the Twenty-First Century’, C.L.R. James Journal, 25: 1-2 (2019)

‘The essays contained here provide us with light on James’s achievement’
F.S.J. Ledgister Caribbean Quarterly, 66 (2020)

This collection emerges from a fiftieth anniversary conference: the book and James emerge as problematic, celebrated, and inspirational. The collection is theoretically, culturally, and politically demanding, critical and affectionate, full of insight and aware of its limits, and acutely engaged with the Beyond a Boundary’s significance and signification.
Malcolm MacLean, Journal of Sport History 47, 1 (2020)

Read the review in the Nordic Sports Forum here:

This collection of essays was curated to mark 50 years since the publication of Beyond a Boundary and represents a thorough and nuanced interrogation of James’s work.
Thomas Fletcher, Cultural Sociology, 2020

Read the introduction to the work for free here:

Click to access 978-1-4780-0147-8_601.pdf 

Launch events – 

Friday 26 October 2018, 6.30pm Bookmarks Bookshop, 1 Bloomsbury St, London, WC1B 3QE

Friday 16 November 2018, Crossroads Women’s Centre, 25 Wolsey Mews, London, NW5 2DX – you can watch this launch online here: