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


Symposium in Honour of Bishop Christopher Senyonjo

Symposium in Honour of Bishop Christopher Senyonjo

We are delighted to announce that the University of Leeds is awarding an honorary degree to Rev. Christopher Senyonjo, and that a symposium will be held to celebrate this occasion.

Rev. Senyonjo served the Church of Uganda as Bishop of the Diocese of West Buganda from 1974 till his retirement in 1998. He has been one of the few religious leaders in Uganda, and indeed in Africa, who actively supports members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community and advocates for the recognition of their human rights, in a context of widespread social and political homo- and trans-phobia.

The honorary degree will be awarded to Senyonjo during the graduation ceremony of the School of Philosophy, Religion and History of Science in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures at the University of Leeds on 17 July 2018.

On the following day, the School’s Centre for Religion and Public Life, in collaboration with the Leeds University Centre for African Studies, is hosting a symposium in honour of Senyonjo’s work and to mark and celebrate the occasion of the degree award. The symposium will feature several speakers reflecting upon Senyonjo’s life and ministry in the context of Uganda and from the perspective of Christian theology. It will also feature representatives of various bodies in the university and the city of Leeds, who will briefly reflect upon the inspiration that Senyonjo presents to their work.

You are warmly invited to attend this event, which will take place on Wednesday 18 July, from 14:30 to 16:30h in room G.12 in the Clothworkers North building (check here for directions), to be followed by a drinks reception. Limited places are available, so please confirm your attendance by email to african-studies@leeds.ac.uk.

For more information, please contact Dr Adriaan van Klinken (a.vanklinken@leeds.ac.uk).

This entry was posted in Leeds, LUCAS, Symposium.

Call for contributions to Leeds African Studies Bulletin #80 (2018/19)

Call for contributions to Leeds African Studies Bulletin #80 (2018/19)

The Leeds African Studies Bulletin is published annually by the Leeds University Centre for African Studies (LUCAS).  Founded in 1964, it has published pieces by many distinguished African writers and Africanist scholars over the years, including Wole Soyinka, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Jack Mapanje, James Currey, Morris Szeftel, Michael Barratt Brown, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Martin Banham, the late Lionel Cliffe, Ray Bush, Femi Osofisan, James Gibbs and Jane Plastow.   We would welcome proposals for articles for our forthcoming issue which can be on any aspect of African Studies.  We would like to invite people to submit a 200-word abstract (by 2 July 2018). If selected, the full article of 6,000-8,000 words should be submitted by 1 September 2018 latest. The decision about final acceptance for publication is subject to peer review.

Please email any queries or proposals to african-studies@leeds.ac.uk, while for more information about the Bulletin including details of past issues please see here: http://lucas.leeds.ac.uk/bulletin/


Dr Akin Iwilade, Lecturer in African Studies, School of Politics and International Studies, University of Leeds

Dr Adriaan van Klinken, Associate Professor of Religion and African Studies & Director of LUCAS, University of Leeds

This entry was posted in History, Journal, Leeds, LUCAS, Research.

French research seminar on Algeria

French Research Seminar

Speaker: Dr Beatrice Ivey (University of Leeds)


Title of paper: “Performative Masculinity and the ‘Connective’ Memory of Colonialism in Algeria”

Date and venue: Tuesday 1 May, 5.10 pm: Baines Wing 3.06. All welcome.



This paper will explore the interactions of memory and gender in a comparative analysis of literary works by French-Algerian writers Ahmed Kalouaz and Nina Bouraoui. It will develop recent theories of the transnational and transcultural nature of memory, that she refers to as ‘connective’ memory, to define the ways in which memories are not simply discrete or self-contained but can forge connections with diverse histories and remembering subjects. The main focus of this presentation will be to show how ‘connective’ cultural memory, as an act of cultural imagination, is gendered. Although memory studies and gender theory have both undergone ‘performative turns’ in the last three decades, there has been no sustained effort to consider the intersecting performativity of gender and memory. It will draw attention to the implicit naturalisation of masculine perspectives in certain ‘connective’ narratives of memory by Kalouaz, before exploring how memory, as an affective engagement with the past in Bouraoui’s writing, can be acquired and produced through performative articulations of masculinity.



This entry was posted in Leeds, Research, Seminars.

The Battle of Algiers: Screening and Symposium

The Battle of Algiers (1966)

From ‘Yesterday’s Mujahiddin’ to today’s Postcolonial Classroom

A screening and symposium at the University of Leeds

Friday 4 May 2018

Hosted by the Centre for World Cinemas and Digital Cultures (CWCDC) and the Iqbal Centre for the Study of Contemporary Islam.

The event is free and all are welcome. However, space is limited for the afternoon session, so please sign up (afternoon session only) on the Eventbrite page at:


Times and venues

Morning session (screening and discussion) 09:30-13:00: Roger Stevens Lecture Theatre 14: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/campusmap?location=5162
Afternoon Session (academic presentations and roundtable) 13:00-17:30: Leeds Humanities Research Institute (LHRI), 29-31 Clarendon Place:http://www.leeds.ac.uk/campusmap?location=5099


 Morning session: screening and discussion (Roger Stevens Lecture Theatre 14)

Participants are asked to read Nicholas Harrison’s article ‘Yesterday’s Mujahiddin: Gillo Pontecorvo’s The Battle of Algiers’, in R. Weaver-Hightower and P. Hulme (eds), Postcolonial Film (London: Routledge, 2014), pp. 23-46. The article is available to download here:https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jXOYr2NmbxJqLbBt7xUXDzKzyJTW10gE/view?usp=sharing

09:30   Introduction

09:45   Screening of new restoration of The Battle of Algiers (Cult Films 2018)

12:00   Discussion: Islam in The Battle of Algiers

Chair Dr Mustapha Sheikh (Co-director Iqbal Centre for the Study of Contemporary Islam, Leeds)


Dr Fozia Bora (Lecturer in Middle Eastern History and Islamic History, Leeds)

Prof Nicholas Harrison (Professor of French and Postcolonial Studies, King’s College London)

Prof S Sayyid (Professor of Social Theory and Decolonial Thought, Leeds)

Afternoon session: academic presentations and roundtable (LHRI)

13:15   Buffet lunch (provided)

13:45   Introduction

14:00   Presentations

Chair Dr Tajul Islam (Co-director Iqbal Centre for the Study of Contemporary Islam, Leeds)

14:00     Presentation 1 Prof Alan O’Leary (Professor of Film and Cultural Studies, Leeds): ‘The Battle of Algiers and the Orientalist Tradition’. RespondentProf S Sayyid (Professor of Social Theory and Decolonial Thought, Leeds)

14:45     Presentation 2 Dr Neelam Srivastava (Reader in Postcolonial and Comparative Literature, Newcastle): The Battle of Algiers in the Postcolonial Classroom’. Respondent Beatrice Ivey (Postgraduate Researcher in French, Leeds)

15:30     Presentation 3 Dr Carl Vincent (Principal Lecturer of Classical Music, Leeds College of Music): ‘East and West: Music in The Battle of Algiers’.Respondent TBC

16:15   Coffee break

16:30   Roundtable

                Chair Dr Neelam Srivastava (Reader in Postcolonial and Comparative Literature, Newcastle)


Dr Laura Ager (Co-director/programmer, Leeds Film Fringe)

TBC Prof Martin Evans (Professor of Modern European History, Sussex)

Prof Nicholas Harrison (Professor of French and Postcolonial Studies, King’s College London)

Prof John Mowitt (Leadership Chair in Critical Humanities, Leeds)

Prof S Sayyid (Professor of Social Theory and Decolonial Thought, Leeds)

17:30   End

This event has been generously supported by the School of Languages, Cultures and Societies (Leeds), and the Society for Italian Studies. It has been convened by Alan O’Leary in consultation with Neelam Srivastava and organised with the assistance of Rachel Johnson (Postgraduate Researcher, Leeds).

This entry was posted in Film, Journal, Leeds, Symposium.

CfP: Women of the Global South and its Diasporas: Rights, Representation, Activism Symposium

From the Women’s Paths Research Group:

Call for Papers

Women of the Global South and its Diasporas: Rights, Representation, Activism Symposium

5th of June 2018

Deadline for abstracts: Monday April 16th 2018

Women’s Paths is a research group based at University of Leeds. It was established in 2015 by feminist researchers from a variety of disciplines to bridge the gap between women’s issues in the community and feminist scholarship. This year’s focus is to promote intersectional feminism and issues that particularly effect BAME women. Our seminar series has explored transwomen and feminism, violence against women and Caribbean feminisms thus far.

Women’s Paths’ symposium aims to explore how feminist scholarship and practice might coalesce to create real change for women of the Global South, including in the diaspora. This symposium is an important platform to hear and discuss urgent issues, challenges, initiatives and achievements which are significant to the lives of women of colour. We bring together scholars researching across a range of disciplines to form a multidisciplinary approach to how we might cooperatively confront a multiplicity of experiences and issues. The scope of this symposium includes, but is not restricted to the following topics:

· Global Feminist Theories, Politics and Activism

· Intersections of identities (i.e. religion, disability, gender- particularly trans and non-binary)

· Discrimination and human rights violations

· Environmentalism and sustainable development

· Development and decolonisation

· Sexuality and reproductive rights (LGBTQIA, sexual health, cultural, social and economic issues)

· Resistance through creativity (performance, art, literature, spirituality, love, Afrofuturism, black joy)

Abstract Guidelines

We invite academic papers, practise-based reflections, and creative performances responding to the theme. If you wish to present a paper, we invite you to submit an abstract. The length of the abstract should not exceed 250 words. It should be written in English, in format Times New Roman, pt. 12 and submitted via email: (to Amber Lascelles: enall@leeds.ac.uk and Ope Adegbulu: lwoad@leeds.ac.uk)

In the abstract header, please include a short bio.

The abstract should contain the following elements:

· The subject of the paper

· The aim of the paper

· Themes that would be covered by the paper (3-4) key words)

Deadline for abstracts: Monday April 16th 2018

Our symposium is funded by the Postcolonial Studies Association, the British Sociological Association’s Migration, Diaspora and Transnationalism Study Group, and the School of Law at the University of Leeds. A number of travel bursaries will be provided.

Women’s Paths look forward to bringing people together for a pertinent symposium addressing women’s rights. We hope to build lasting connections between academics, PhD researchers and activists to inspire action and create change.

This entry was posted in Conferences, Leeds, Symposium.

In conversation with Mustapha Benfodil

In conversation with Mustapha Benfodil.  

Time and venue: 5.10pm Wednesday 7 March in Quaker Hall, Quaker Meeting House, 188 Woodhouse Lane, Leeds LS2 9DX (300 m up Woodhouse Lane from Parkinson Steps – note new location off campus) 

French at Leeds and International Writers at Leeds are delighted to welcome the Algerian journalist, writer and visual artist Mustapha Benfodil, who will read from some of his poetry, novels and journalism in English translation. These readings will be followed by a discussion in English and French facilitated by interpreters.  

Born in the western Algerian city of Relizane in 1968, Mustapha Benfodil is one of Algeria’s most prominent journalists, working for the leading daily newspaper, El Watan, recently the subject of a documentary (Contre-pouvoirs) by Malek Bensmaïl (2016). Mustapha Benfodil is part of an emerging generation of avant-garde Algerian writers and artists of the post-civil war era and is known for his blending of the boundaries between literature, art and political activism.

His novels include Zarta! (Barzakh, 2000), Les Bavardages du Seul (Barzakh 2003) – winner of the prize for the best Algerian novel in 2004 – and Archéologie du chaos [amoureux] (Barzakh, 2007; published in France by Al Dante, 2012). He is the author of five plays, including Clandestinopolis (2005; staged at the Avant-scène théâtre, Paris, 2008); Les Borgnes (2011); and Le Point de Vue de la Mort (Al Dante, 2013). Mustapha has also published in book form his experiences as war reporter in Iraq: Les six derniers jours de Baghdad: journal d’un voyage de guerre (2003). An English translation of his poetry is forthcoming in 2018 (Cocktail Kafaïne). This year also sees the publication of L’AntiLivre that maps the social and political evolution of Algeria over several decades based on Mustapha’s personal diaries. 

For more information about this event, please contact Dr. Jim House: j.r.house@leeds.ac.uk

This entry was posted in Leeds, Research.

CGD / POLIS seminar – Prof Stephen Brown on aid effectiveness

Centre for Global Development / POLIS Research Seminar


“Applying the Aid Effectiveness Principles: Experiences from Mali, Ghana and Ethiopia”

Prof. Stephen Brown, University of Ottawa


Date: Monday, 26th Feb 2018


Location: Social Sciences Building 10.05, 4pm-5.30pm



Abstract: In 2005, foreign aid donors and recipients formally endorsed a few basic but far-reaching principles that had the potential to revolutionize global development cooperation. The Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness – with its emphasis on putting recipients in the proverbial driver’s seat, donors aligning their aid with recipients’ national development strategies and harmonizing among themselves – promised to transform the way donors and recipients worked together, especially how they designed and implemented aid, in the interest of greater effectiveness. Using the cases of Mali, Ghana and Ethiopia, I address the following questions: To what extent have the Paris Principles been applied? What explains this degree of commitment? What has been the effect on the donor-recipient relationship? What do these findings suggest regarding the future of the Aid Effectiveness Agenda?


Stephen Brown is a professor of political science at the University of Ottawa and currently a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Advanced Studies. His research focuses mainly on the intersection of the policies and practices of Northern countries and other international

For further information, please contact Dr. Simon Lightfoot s.j.lightfoot@leeds.ac.uk

This entry was posted in Leeds, Research, Seminars.

LUCAS Postgraduate Race workshop

LUCAS Postgraduate Race Workshop 

Monday 5 February, 5-7pm, Workshop Theatre



LUCAS (Leeds University Centre for African Studies) is conducting confidential research into the experiences of black and/or African post-graduates studying at the University and would like to invite you to a workshop/discussion as co-investigators to understand how well you feel you are supported, academically and pastorally, while studying in Leeds. To begin this process we are inviting you to a two hour workshop on

Monday 5th February, from 5-7pm in the Workshop Theatre.

The workshop will give you an opportunity to meet others in different Schools, to exchange views, take part in some ice-breaking workshop activities, discuss and partake of some light refreshments. Nothing said in the workshop will be recorded and it will be entirely confidential. It will also be up to those attending to decide if further meetings or activities will be helpful. LUCAS staff; Richard Borowski, Jane Plastow, Akin Iwilade and Winnie Bedigen will be working with you to facilitate open and productive debate.

If you would like to attend there is no need to register, just turn up on the day. However, if you would like to ask anything more about the workshop feel free to email Jane Plastow at j.e.plastow@leeds.ac.uk.

The Workshop Theatre is just near the main entrance to the University on Woodhouse Lane (number 61 on the campus map). As you come in at the side of the Parkinson steps the first building on the other side of the road is a large ex-church, The Emmanuel Institute. The next building as you walk into the campus is what looks like a smaller stone church but over the door it says WORKSHOP THEATRE. Come in and go upstairs to the first floor studio. (Don’t worry it’s not an acting session!)


This entry was posted in Leeds, LUCAS, Workshop.

CfP: Memory and Performance in African-Atlantic Futures



Memory and Performance in African-Atlantic Futures”

Three-day International Conference

31 August – 2 September 2018 – University of Leeds

At a time when new dynamics are emerging around the issues of justice (transitional, reparative, etc.), mourning and commemoration in Africa and its diaspora, the conference “Memory and Performance in African-Atlantic Futures” seeks to consider the current historical conjuncture and the extent to which it reveals new questions about memory in the historical, temporal and social contexts of slavery and imperialism. For example, how do the growing calls for reparations and the urge to restructure or challenge the politics of commemoration within imperialist societies point to the emergence of new “conceptual-ideological problem-spaces” (Scott, Conscripts of Modernity) in how African-Atlantic postcolonial communities engage with historical memory? How will an analysis of these dynamics, of the gaps they point to, and of the urgencies they highlight, foster new understandings of the stakes that the particular memories of slavery and imperialism bear within the spaces marked by this history, including the imperialist societies themselves?

In tackling these questions, we wish to consider the valences of performance in the contemporary moment and the extent to which they are cross-fertilising and mediating the most urgent issues in Africa-Atlantic memory. We wish to reflect on how spaces and modes of performance – including, but not limited to, theatre, dance, literary texts, music, visual art and sports – are being used to energise both the particular and the entangled concerns of aesthetics, politics and epistemology within the memories linked to African-Atlantic colonialism and slavery. Are contemporary performances of memory, particularly those that point to African and Afro-diasporic alternatives to Euro-Western modes and models, reflecting historico-political and cognitive shifts in how the relationship between African-Atlantic pasts, presents and futures is conceived?

The three-day international conference “Memory and Performance in African-Atlantic Futures” seeks to approach these issues from a vigorously cross-/inter-disciplinary perspective. We invite scholars, artists, curators and other professionals within fields as varied as literature, theatre and the performing arts, visual art, history, law, anthropology, cultural studies, to engage in a conversation around the dynamics of memory within the historical framework of African-Atlantic slavery and colonialism and the political, aesthetic and epistemological specificities that they engage in the current moment. We hope to underscore how these dynamics, too often overlooked in the critical and theoretical sites of memory studies, are currently shaping, reshaping and (re)mediating the global flows of memory.

We propose two main axes of investigation:

Shapes and forms of memory

How do we think the forms and effects of the enfleshed, material memories of slavery, colonialism and their afterlives and the ways in which these are enlisted in the spaces of performance, be they physical (theatre, dance, ritual, oral performance, etc.) or textual (the different performative manifestations of the written word)?

This question necessarily involves a consideration of how African diaspora time-senses fashion modes of performance of memory and how oral and ritual performance forms impact, shape, record and encode memory in the context of colonial violence. Can African and diasporic forms of embodied memory become tools that combat imperialism? How can the performance of post-slavery/ post-Empire memory shed new light on Western theories of memory that emerge from Holocaust studies or on Western theories of haunting, trauma and mourning?

Epistemologies of memory

What challenges do African diasporic modes of memory bring to Euro-Western epistemologies of justice, History, and the human? How does postcolonial memory call into question the social deployment of memory within the nation and across nations? At a time when the movement for reparations for slavery in the African diaspora is achieving unprecedented momentum, we invite contributions that question settled understandings of the triad of time, history and justice and those that address postcolonial engagements with memory through “corrective” performance practices of justice, “truth-telling” and witnessing. Additionally, in considering institutional marginalization, suppression, and exclusion of postcolonial memories, we seek contributions about practices that challenge the order of remembrance in official commemorations, museums, schools, archives and discourses.


Papers may address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

·      media and memory

·      institutions of memory

·      performance of memory

·      memory and the law

·      memory and reparations

·      memory and colonial enlightenment

·      memory and ‘the human’

·      new ‘problem-spaces’ and memory

·      memory and futures

·      decolonising memory

·      decolonising the museum

·      decolonising the curriculum

·      citation as a politics of memory


Presentations should last no longer than 20 minutes.

Submission Guidelines


Abstracts in English of no more than 300 words should be sent to afroatlanticfutures@gmail.com by Friday, 2 March 2018. Please send abstracts in PDF or Word format, accompanied by the title of the paper and a short biography. ­­­­­­


The organising committee will communicate acceptance decisions no later than 9 March 2018. Please consult the conference website (https://www.africanatlantic.net/) where further details will be posted.


Conference Convener

Dr. Jason Allen-Paisant (University of Leeds)

Confirmed Keynote Speakers

Dr. Louise Bernard (Museum of the Obama Presidential Center)

Prof. Lubaina Himid (University of Central Lancashire)

Prof. Tavia Nyong’o (Yale University)

Enquiries should be addressed to Dr. Jason Allen-Paisant (J.Allen1@leeds.ac.uk)


This entry was posted in Conferences, Leeds, Research.

CfP: Finding Africa seminar series 2018 – Theorising Africa: Reviewing a History of Ideas


Dear All,

Calling Africanists from all disciplines and departments, and those with an interest in broader issues surrounding African Studies:

Finding Africa is pleased to announce its seminar CFP for the academic year 2017/2018. Our topic is “Theorising Africa” and all topics are welcome.


                                    Finding Africa 2017/18 (UK)

Theorising Africa: Reviewing a History of Ideas

University of Leeds

Seminar Series 2018


The field of cultural theory has – for as long as it’s been a discipline – been dominated by Western epistemologies.  Our ways of knowing have, undoubtably, always required a framework through which they can be conceptualised – or even legitimised. The consequence of this institutionalisation of thought, which has its roots in a myriad of complex historical and structural implementations of power, is that other epistemologies often get overlooked or even rebranded under different names or theories, at the behest of fitting the demands and criteria of Western academe. The notion of a history of ideas that is grounded in a Euro-American paradigm obscures, and limits, our understanding of and engagement with the multiplicities of meaning at work in cultural analysis. Theorising Africa seeks to explore what it means to be human, to be a member of society, through the exploration of identity, aesthetics, and politics by placing cultural theory and African epistemic frameworks in dialogue.

The concept of Ubuntu finds its distorted counterpart in some versions of post-humanist thought. Ideas of community deriving from Igbo cosmology similarly find their traces – albeit inversely – in much of the discourses pertaining to community building in the fields of cultural theory, law, and literature. Subverting the closure inherent in binary oppositions, we seek to bridge the divide that has so far disadvantaged African epistemologies on the academic platform, entering into dialogue and engaging with a richly diverse history of ideas.

For this seminar series we are interested in looking to Africa for its history of ideas: How has African thought transcended boundaries and how can it continue to do so? What can African thought contribute to the many blind spots in the fields of cultural theory? How can these contributions account for the work of knowledge-making? In what ways are these contributions necessary?

We seek papers and proposals on topics including, but not limited to:

·         African literary theory

·         Reframing the history of ideas – philosophical interrogations

·         Cultural analysis

·         Psychoanalysis

·         African Futures

·         Law

·         Politics and bio-violence

·         Feminisms and policy

·         Community building

·         The creaturely

·         Animism

·         Theology

·         Art History

·         Challenges to the legacy of the writer

·         Any non-conforming inquiry which doesn’t fall into a field

Please get in touch with proposals (max 300 words + bio) in Word format to findingpocoafrica@gmail.com by 10 January 2018.

Finding Africa

United Kingdom & South Africa


Twitter: @findingafrica


This entry was posted in Finding Africas, Leeds, Research, Seminars.

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