Centre for African Studies (LUCAS)

General enquiries

Leeds University Centre for African Studies
c/o POLIS,
Social Sciences Building,
University of Leeds
Leeds LS2 9JT

Tel: 0113 343 5069

LUCAS Schools Project coordinator

Richard Borowski


LUCAS special offer – VL Allen – The History of Black Mineworkers in South Africa

Thanks to Kate Carey, LUCAS are able to offer a special discount for copies of the late Professor Vic Allen’s classic work The History of Black Mineworkers in South Africa:

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Copies of this 3-volume study are available at greatly reduced prices (UK p&p free)

Vol I: Mining in South Africa and the Genesis of Apartheid, 1871-1948     £10

Vol II: Apartheid Repression and Dissent in the Mines, 1948-1982            £10

Vol III: Organise or Die, 1982-1994                                                         £10

Set of 3 volumes     £25

To order / for payment details, please email LUCAS: african-studies@leeds.ac.uk

This entry was posted in History, LUCAS, Research.

CfP: Caribbean Carnival Cultures

Call for Papers – Caribbean Carnival Cultures

The Centre for Culture and the Arts at Leeds Beckett University in partnership with Leeds West Indian Carnival will be hosting an international conference on Caribbean Carnival Cultures on 19 – 21 May, 2017.

This conference will coincide with the fiftieth year of the Leeds West Indian Carnival, the oldest Caribbean-style street carnival in Europe, created and led by British Caribbeans. The keynote speaker for the conference will be internationally renowned Trinidadian Carnival Playwright, Screenwriter, Actor and Director Tony Hall.

The conference will bring together researchers, participants, costume designers, musicians, filmmakers and founder members of the Caribbean carnival in the UK and internationally to gather in Leeds to showcase and analyse the phenomenal people’s art of carnival.

Call for Papers

The Centre for Culture and the Arts is open to ideas and suggestions regarding contributions for the conference. These may take the form (but are not limited to) papers, panels, workshops and exhibitions. The exact structure of the conference will be shaped by the following topics. We are particularly interested in discussing the exceptional fusion of art, politics, pleasure and play that carnival represents. Some of the key areas we hope to cover are:

  • The relationship between carnival and diasporic identities.
  • The cultural history of Caribbean carnival in the UK.
  • Carnival and the politics of emancipation and practices of resistance.
  • Transcultural relationships between UK and global Caribbean carnivals.
  • Carnival and the body.
  • Carnival as a site for conviviality, pleasure and social cohesion.
  • The commercialisation of carnival.
  • Intergenerational relationships and carnival practices.

We invite submissions of abstracts of no more than 250 words for suggested papers, panels, workshops or exhibitions. Abstracts are welcomed from all disciplines and can address the themes outlined above, but we also welcome proposals that fall outside the list of topics. Complete panels should consist of a minimum of three and a maximum of four presenters. Academic presentations will be 20 minutes long. Abstracts should be submitted along with a short bio of no more than 150 words to Danielle Hall, Conference Administrator at d.hall@leedsbeckett.ac.uk by 1 June 2016.

We look forward to hearing from you and coming together in celebration of international Caribbean carnival cultures.

Best Wishes

Dr Emily Zobel Marshall and Professor Max Farrar.


This entry was posted in Conferences, History.

CfP: Postcolonial Education: Teaching, Learning and Schooling in and after Empire

The Fourth Biannual Northern Postcolonial Network Symposium

‘Postcolonial Education: Teaching, Learning and Schooling in and after Empire’

University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University, June 17th 2016, in association with the Institute for Colonial and Postcolonial Studies and the Centre for Culture and the Arts. Co-organised by Dr Matthew Whittle, Dr Rachel Bower, Dr Jonathan Saha and Dr Emily Zobel Marshall with NPN

FREE Attendance

Call for Papers: Postgraduate and Early Career Researcher Roundtable

The Fourth Biannual Northern Postcolonial Network Symposium will concentrate on the topic of ‘Postcolonial Education’. Taking place on Friday 17th June 2016, at theRose Bowl (5th Floor, Room 513) the day will bring together academic and non-academic audiences to debate the current and very pressing issues of teaching, learning and schooling in and after Empire. The focus is therefore on conversation rather than on the delivery of formal academic papers. The one-day symposium encourages educators and students – both broadly defined – to reflect on issues of teaching postcolonial histories and literatures in schools, universities, activist networks, and community organisations. Building on current debates about ‘decolonising education’ (evident in the Rhodes Must Fall and Why Is My Curriculum White? campaigns) we will explore the formative role of education during colonial rule and in postcolonial contexts through a set of interactive roundtables and workshops. Contributors are encouraged to think through the continuities and breaks with the past, and the implications of this for addressing issues such as race and migration in teaching, student experiences and/or the development of curriculum today.

The conference is particularly keen to facilitate wider and more inclusive forms of participation than traditional academic conferences. To this end, postgraduate and early career researchers, educators outside of higher education, community activists, as well as creative performers, will be key participants. We can also confirm that there will be a screening of the film Sugar Cane Alley, which is based on the autobiographical book by the Martican writer Joseph Zobel. This will be accompanied by an introduction and Q&A with Zobel’s granddaughter, Dr Emily Zobel Marshall.  Additional confirmed contributors include Dr Claire Chambers (York)Dr Kate Houlden (Anglia Ruskin) and Dr Sarah Lawton Welsh (York St John).

We warmly invite postgraduates and early career researchers to submit a 200-word abstract for a short piece of work to be discussed as part of a roundtable at the start of the symposium. Priority will be given to proposals that speak to the symposium topics and that keep a public audience in mind. To reap the full benefits of discussion on the day, full versions of papers (up to 1500 words) will be circulated to attendees three weeks prior to the symposium. For the roundtable itself, each presenter will prepare a brief (5-minute) introduction based on the pre-circulated piece.

Please submit a paper proposal of 200 words to the symposium organisers at northernpoconetwork@gmail.com by Friday 25th March 2016.

Notices of acceptance: Friday 25th April 2016

Deadline for full papers: Friday 20th May 2016 (up to 1500 words)

Full papers pre-circulated: Friday 3rd June 2016


This entry was posted in Conferences, History, Research, Symposium.

Life is Waiting: Referendum and Resistance in Western Sahara

A screening of the award-winning documentary Life is Waiting: Referendum and Resistance in Western Sahara.

award-winning documentary poster


Date: 17 March 2016
Time: 17:00 – 19:00

Room: B.10 Parkinson Building, Leeds University

Most people think that colonialism in Africa is ended. But in Western Sahara, the end of Spanish rule gave way to a new occupation, this time by Morocco. Over four decades later, the world continues to look the other way as the Saharawi people face arrests, torture and disappearances for demanding their independence.

Join us in Parkinson Building, room B.10 for a screening of the documentary “Life is Waiting” (mainly in Spanish and Arabic with English subtitles) to hear from an incredible cast of Saharawi cultural activists and artists about their non-violent resistance to military occupation. Afterwards, there will be a talk and Q&A with a Saharawi cultural activist.

For more information please email Joanna Allan at jhm3jca@leeds.ac.uk


This entry was posted in Film, History.

The Battle of Algiers – film screening and roundtable

The Battle of Algiers
[screening and round table]

March the 2nd at 5 pm
Phil Taylor Cinema
School of Media and Communication [2nd floor – room 2.13] Clothworkers’ Building North- (building 56 on Campus Map)
University of Leeds

(w/ English subtitles)

Originally banned in France, this 1966 Italian-Algerian historical war film depicts the Algerian War (1954–62) against the French government in North Africa. The film concentrates on the years between 1954 and 1957 when the guerrilla fighters regrouped and expanded into the Casbah, which was met by French paratroopers attempting to regain territory. The film is followed by a discussion and analysis of the relevance of this film in current times.

Round table with:
Alan O’Leary
Associate Professor and Director of Research and Innovation at the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies and author of the forthcoming book The Battle of Algiers.
Salman Sayyid
Reader at the School Sociology and Social Policy and author of the books A Fundamental Fear: Eurocentrism and the Emergence of Islamism and Recalling the Caliphate.

More about the film:
Original title: La Battaglia di Algeri [معركة الجزائر‎; La Bataille d’Alger] Italy/Algeria – 1966 – 121 min. – B&W – 1.85:1 – French, Arabic
Directed by: Gillo Pontecorvo
Written by: Gillo Pontecorvo, Franco Solinas
Music by: Ennio Morricone, Gillo Pontecorvo
Cinematography: Marcello Gatti
Edited by: Mario Morra, Mario Serandrei
Trailer: https://vimeo.com/134274127

Admission is free but due to copyright restrictions is only open to university staff and students.

This entry was posted in Film, History.

Upcoming LUCAS seminars / events 2016

James Morris (York), ‘The Orchestra on the Titanic? Oxfam in Kenya, 1963-2002’.
Tuesday 2 February, 4-5.30pm (Michael Sadler LG10)

Alex Beresford (Leeds), ‘South Africa’s Political Crisis: Unfinished Liberation and Fractured Class Struggles’.
Thursday 3 March, 4–5.30pm (seminar and book launch) (Michael Sadler LG 19)

For more details, please see the LUCAS events page or contact african-studies@leeds.ac.uk

This entry was posted in Book Launch, History, LUCAS, Research, Seminars.

American Research events at Leeds University

Some upcoming seminars / lectures of interest at Leeds University

Wednesday January 27th
Zoe Trodd (University of Nottingham)
Picturing Frederick Douglass: The Most Photographed American of the 19th Century
Grant Room, Michael Sadler Building, 3-5 pm

Zoe Trodd is Professor of American Literature in the Department of American and Canadian Studies at the University of Nottingham, founding co-director of the Centre for Research in Race and Rights,. Her focus is the history, literature and visual culture of protest movements, especially antislavery. She is the author of many books including American Protest Literature and Picturing Frederick Douglass: An Illustrated Biography of the Nineteenth Century’s Most Photographed American details available here:

Thursday February 18th
Julio Decker (University of Sussex)
Imperial Infrastructures: German and American railroads in Namibia and the Philippines
Grant Room, Michael Sadler Building, 5-7 pm

Wednesday March 9th
Gary Gerstle – Race & Resistance Annual Lecture
Race and Nation in the Age of Obama
Michael Sadler Building, room LG19, 6-8 pm

CERS 2016 Lecture in Celebration of the UN International Decade for People of African Descent
Professor Paul C Taylor
Penn State University

Title: Facing Ferguson- Reflecting on Racial Innocence

On August 9, 2014, Michael Brown and Darren Wilson met on a street in Ferguson, Missouri. A short time later one of them was dead, the other was mired in controversy, and this town had become an emblem for the complex tangle of issues that roils the politics of racialized states. How do we position ourselves to face these issues productively and intelligently?
I will argue that facing Ferguson means refusing the seductions of racial innocence. I will develop the notion of racial innocence from its roots in the work of James Baldwin, and then draw out some implications for contemporary democratic politics. The main suggestion will be that one form of racial innocence leads to the temptation of despair, and that we can only understand this temptation, and prepare to resist it, by shifting our focus from spectacular violence to persistent vulnerability.
Date: Thursday, 10th March
Place: Room 12.25, Social Sciences Building
Time: 5-7 pm

This entry was posted in History, Research, Seminars.

Oluwale Now: Remembering Human Rights in an Age of Crisis

David Oluwale Now – Friday 26 February – University of Leeds

David Oluwale matters as much now as ever. Since his violent death in 1969 many have warned against dwelling on his life, believing Leeds must let go of this painful past in order to move on. Others in the city, however, have felt differently. A number of artists and authors have revisited Oluwale’s ordeal, and the memorial garden now being established by the David Oluwale Memorial Association is offering other ways of understanding past injustice, belonging, and the future of our city. On both sides of the Atlantic recent events are now vindicating these efforts. National responses to the EU asylum crisis are reproducing Oluwale’s institutional mistreatment on a mass scale, while, in the US, the Black Lives Matter movement has revealed that the brutal policework he faced daily belongs neither to the past nor Yorkshire exclusively. Oluwale matters now, then, and not only in Leeds but because his ordeal reverberates through institutional abuses now occurring throughout the US and EU.

Hosted in partnership with DOMA and the University of Leeds, Oluwale Now brings together those whose garden, art and literary work has (like the famous graffiti near the old Hayfield Hotel) collectively acted to Remember Oluwale. An academic panel featuring Kasia Boddy and George McKay will reflect on gardening, freedom and memory, while our gardening theme will then be extended as the acclaimed artist Corinne Silva presents both her short film on Oluwale Wandering Abroad and her new work on gardening in warzones Garden State. Our city’s preeminent literary artist Caryl Phillips will reflect on his work excavating Oluwale’s life in Leeds, and the Guardian journalist Gary Younge will reflect on police conduct in the context of his extraordinary coverage of the Black Lives Matter campaign. Here we ask why popular narratives of racial progress are now proving so powerless in the face of an old and all too familiar logic in which images of racial dehumanisation are again being used to justify acts of racist violence. Out of Oluwale’s ordeal, for all its horrors, did forms of community resistance emerge which we might rekindle in the present crisis? What might we learn from the antiracist activism of the past, and how might we reclaim the collective energy of outrage? How can we use such lessons, harnessing them in a contemporary moment of rising homelessness, ongoing sexual exploitation, and anti-immigrant hatred? Oluwale Now offers a moment of local and global connection, a chance to take stock of his life and death amid a contemporary crisis in which the basic rights of so many are again being denied.

Leeds University, Friday 26 February 2016
Remembering Human Rights in an Age of Crisis

2:20-3:40pm. Common Wealth? DOMA, Radical Gardening and Freedom after Empire.
An academic panel inspired by the David Oluwale Memorial Garden. Kasia Boddy (Faculty of English Cambridge), George McKay (UEA), Andrew Warnes (School of English, Leeds).

4:00-5:00pm. Corinne Silva, Wandering Abroad and Garden State
The London artist will here present her acclaimed 2009 Wandering Abroad, a film following in the footsteps of Oluwale’s life, as well as Garden State, her more recent project on the politics of gardening in the suburbs and conflict zones.

5:20-6:20pm. Caryl Phillips, Oluwale Then and Now
Chaired by Max Farrar of the David Oluwale Memorial Association, Caryl Phillips will here speak about the inspiration behind his work on David Oluwale’s life, Foreigners (2007).

6.30-7.30pm. Gary Younge, Black Lives Matter and Transatlantic Policing in 2016.
Chaired by John McLeod, Gary Younge will here speak about his experiences in the United States covering the Black Lives Matter movement as well as the acts of police aggression that led to it.

The day will also feature a live performance by local Leeds musicians, and it will be followed by a wine reception. Information about tickets will be posted here in the New Year. For any enquiries, please contact Andrew Warnes at a.warnes@leeds.ac.uk


This entry was posted in Conferences, History, Seminars and tagged .

CfP: The Battle of Algiers at 50

Call for Papers ‘The Battle of Algiers at 50: Legacies in Film and Literature’

Date: 18 May 2016. University of Sheffield, Interdisciplinary Centre of the Social Sciences (ICOSS)



‘The Battle of Algiers at 50: Legacies in Film and Literature’ is a one-day symposium organised by postgraduate students from the University of Leeds and Sheffield from the fields of Francophone studies and Geography. The symposium will offer a transdisciplinary platform for bringing together researchers at all stages in their careers who are interested in transcultural politics, literature and film, with the specific objective of considering the legacy and the futures of the anti-Colonial epic The Battle of Algiers 50 years since its release in 1966.

The formative effect that The Battle of Algiers has had on cinema in North Africa cannot be underestimated. It has largely been celebrated as an accurate and balanced depiction of violence during the battle of Algiers, and by extension, the Algerian War for Independence (1954-62). However, The Battle of Algiers is a film that has led many afterlives which transcend national and cultural borders. Both celebrated as an anti-colonial epic and example of Algerian nationalist heroism, the film, conversely, has also been held up as a document of French military expertise. The Criterion Collection’s 2004 re-release of the film in the United States demonstrates the constantly shifting status of the film on the global stage, featuring commentary from contemporary directors such as Spike Lee, but also interviews with counterterrorist experts in ‘The Battle of Algiers: A Case Study’.

This symposium is a unique opportunity to consider how these various legacies of The Battle of Algiers continue to inform understandings of Algerian history, but also influence perspectives on political violence and national identity throughout North Africa and beyond. What does it mean to consider the film as a ‘case study’ in terrorist and counterterrorist activities? How can we think about film as an alternative historical narrative of decolonization? In what ways has Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers influenced cinema and the arts in Algeria and beyond?

Confirmed Keynote

We are delighted to welcome Dr Jamal Bahmad from the University of Leeds as the keynote speaker.

We particularly welcome proposals for papers which explore the following areas:

The spectacle of political violence
Colonial legacies in film and literature
Memories of colonialism and anti-colonialism
Postcolonial and/or transcultural cinema(s)
‘Accented’ cinema
Transvergent filmmaking
Gender in revolution
Queer perspectives on the nation
Alternative histories in the arts
The screen as veil

Please send abstracts for papers (300 words) to Alex Hastie, Beatrice Ivey and Takfarinas Abdiouene at batailledalger50@gmail.com –  DEADLINE EXTENDED TO FRIDAY 12TH FEBRUARY 2016

While the principal language of the symposium will be English, the organisers welcome contributions in French and Arabic.




This entry was posted in Conferences, History.

Black History Month events at Leeds University

LUU Black History Month has been really impressive so far, with an amazing launch night of poetry, music and spoken word, and Akala on the richness of African civilisation also a particular highlight. Other upcoming events of potential interest to LUCAS members include:

Heritage Corner Walk with Joe Williams
Saturday 10th October
Meet at Parkinson Steps
11am – 1pm
The Heritage Corner Walk has been the impetus behind a growing number of creative projects in Yorkshire. Over 20 years of research is conveyed in a magnificent corner of Leeds that colourfully reveals ancient African heritage, the contributions of transatlantic trade and celebrates the African presence in Leeds today. The walk all takes place on the scenic Leeds University central campus, so not long in distance. Wear suitable clothing, carrying water is never a bad idea and prepare to be amazed.
One highlight is the grave of circus owner PABLO FANQUE, as mentioned on the Beetles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper…’ album. Meet local hero WILSON ARMISTEAD who invited FREDERICK DOUGLASS, SARAH REMOND and other African Americans to Victorian Leeds. Hear the story of PRINCE ALAMAYU, from Ethiopia, whose body was transported from Leeds to Windsor Castle by train on the orders of Queen Victoria – in 1879.
The walk was founded in 2009 by your host Joe Williams, a local born actor and writer of many decades. The aim remains to provide a resource toward a better historical understanding of African and Caribbean histories, particularly relating to Yorkshire.
For more information visit: www.leedsinspired.co.uk/events/heritage-corner-walk

‘The Black Jacobins: Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian Revolution’
– presented by Christian Høgsbjerg (Leeds University Centre for African Studies)
Thursday 15th October
Baines Wing SR 2.06
1pm – 2pm
This talk will explore the Haitian Revolution of 1791-1804, an epic and inspiring liberation struggle which overthrew slavery, colonialism and white supremacy and led to the birth of the world’s first independent black republic outside Africa, through a discussion of C.L.R. James’s classic historical account, The Black Jacobins (1938).

‘The Fifth Pan-African Congress, Manchester – October 1945’
Friday 16th October
Baines Wing SR 1.13
1pm – 2pm
The Second World War led to an almost universal feeling among Africans and people of African descent that colonial liberation was the order of the day, and this struggle would be achieved by force if necessary. Seventy years ago black radicals from across the world gathered in Manchester at the Fifth Pan-African Congress to co-ordinate their resistance to racism and imperialism. The writer and performer Tayo Aluko (‘Call Mr Robeson’) and Marvina Newton (Angel of Youths) will join Christian Høgsbjerg (Leeds University Centre for African Studies) to discuss this historic event and its legacy for liberation struggles today.

Tayo Aluko’s superb show Call Mr Robeson is on at Seven Arts in Chapeltown the eventing of Friday 16 October

My Leeds My Culture
Saturday 17th October
Leeds City Museum
11am – 3pm
Visit Leeds City Museum to attend the closure of ‘My Leeds My Culture’ a collaboration between the charity Angel of Youths and Leeds Museum.
‘My Leeds My Culture’ is an exciting exhibition, showing the impact of African influences on Music, Sports, History, Faith, Art and Fashion. From Leeds carnival held every year, to the history of the Black Prince in Leeds, and his mother Queen Philippa.
The African diaspora have had an impact on Yorkshire throughout history.We aimed to show this link with Leeds at every single point in our exhibition.
As you move through the wonderful tour of ‘My Leeds, My Culture’ exhibition, you will see items that are quite exceptional and are very much part of our history, both as Leodisians and of African history.
From steelpan at carnival in the History and Heritage cabinet, hip hop clothing such as pumas and sweats in the Music displaying our impact on music, to expensive Kente cloth in the Fashion cabinet showing our influences on culture, to books written by novelists and the talking drum. We invite you to have a look around starting at the history and heritage cabinet, which shows our rich history when we were royals.
Find out more here: www.facebook.com/events/395444503989236/

Darcus Howe: A Political Biography – booklaunch with Robin Bunce
Wednesday 21st October, 16.00-17.30
12.21 Social Sciences Building
CERS Black History Month Lecture

Why is my Curriculum White? – Leeds Launch

Monday 26th October
Conference Auditorium 1
5.30 – 7.30pm
Following on from the successful UCL Campaign, we welcome the LUU launch of ‘Why is my curriculum White’

‘Why is my curriculum White?’, will examine and unravel the ideologies behind syllabuses that are often seen as reflective only of Western perspectives.
Tickets are free however you are required to sign up here: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/why-is-my-curriculum-white-luu-launch-tickets-18839686008

There are also a host of other fascinating and important events as part of LUU Black History Month, on the Prevent Strategy and so on so check out the full listings here:

This entry was posted in History.

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