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


POLIS seminar with Winnifred Bedigen – 16 November 2017


As part of the University of Leeds School of Politics and International Studies (POLIS) research seminar series, you are warmly invited to a presentation by Dr Winifred Bedigen (University of Leeds):


Title:                     Understanding Empowerment through a Cultural Theory Lens: Women in the Horn of Africa

Date:                    Thursday 16th November

Time:                    4.15 – 5.45pm

Location:             Social Sciences Building 14.33


This paper seeks to clarify some of the misunderstood issues in current African women’s empowerment and development messaging. Some western scholars, by theorising women’s empowerment through western lenses, have found African women to be distinctively different, and yet have gone ahead to design and implement empowerment programs regardless. Others, though, point to high levels of women’s marginalisation in the Sub-Saharan region and the urgency to act. These are efforts to increase women’s involvement in peace and development work as they have become more mainstreamed by international institutions like the United Nations (UN), World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF). This work explores African (the Horn) socio-cultural versions and emphases on women’s empowerment, pointing to their strengths, weaknesses, and what these might mean for policy and development practice.

This entry was posted in Seminars.

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.

Extraction, industry and finance: implications for South African sustainability

Extraction, industry and finance: implications for South African sustainability

Wednesday September 27th, 4:00 pm – 5:15 pm

Sustainability Seminar hosted by the Sustainability Research Institute:

Speaker: Prof Samantha Ashman, Director of UJ-IDEP MPhil in Industrial Policy, and Co-ordinator of the Industrial Development and Policy Research Cluster

Location: University of Leeds School of Earth and Environment L8 seminar rooms
(Maths/Earth and Environment Building)

South Africa’s system of accumulation has historically been skewed towards a narrow set of capital intensive sectors concentrated on mining and energy, with strong linkages between each other and weak linkages with the rest of the economy. Three state owned enterprises in electricity (ESKOM), iron and steel (ISCOR) and liquid fuel from coal (SASOL) have played a central role in this, with the latter two being privatized in the 1980s and 1970s respectively. Since the defeat of apartheid and the introduction of democracy in 1994, the government of the African National Congress has made a number of strategic choices which have led to the increasing financialization of the economy and de-industrialization, with growing crises of poverty, unemployment and inequality being amongst the results. A central feature of this changing system of accumulation has been its carbon intensity, and its reliance upon abundant low cost coal. Over 90% of South Africa’s electricity production remains coal-fired, and coal has been in addition a commodity for export, and the critical input for SASOL’s liquid fuel programme. Whilst clearly unsustainable, South Africa demonstrates how there are many challenges in managing a low-carbon transition. Understanding the political economy of the country and vested interests, both national and international, remains critical.


Sam Ashman is Professor in the Department of Economics and Econometrics at the University of Johannesburg. She is the director of a master’s programme in Industrial Policy run jointly with IDEP, the African Institute for Economic Development and Planning, which is based in Senegal and is part of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

Her research interests include financialisation and its impact on economic development and employment, industrial policy in both South Africa and Africa as a whole, and South Africa’s evolving political economy.


This entry was posted in Leeds, Seminars.

Jacqueline Rose and Chiara de Cesari speaking

Jacqueline Rose: “The Legacy” &

Chiara de Cesari: “Impossible Memories: On the Predicament of Creating Palestinian National Museums”


Wednesday 29 March 2017, Clothworkers Centenary Concert Hall, 5-6.30p.m


We are delighted to host Jacqueline Rose, Professor of Humanities at Birkbeck University, and Chiara de Cesari, Assistant Professor of European Studies and Cultural Studies at the University of Amsterdam. They will be speaking as part of the Sadler Seminar Series “Confronting Traumatic Pasts: Between the Local and the Global.” This is an interdisciplinary research initiative that investigates the memory cultures connecting us to traumatic historical events.


Jacqueline Rose will be speaking about the legacy of apartheid in contemporary South Africa:


What is the legacy of a brutal political past?  How does it pass down through the generations?  At a time of persistent, or even growing, race, gender and class discrimination and inequality, what does it mean to tell the young that they have been born free into a new world? In this lecture Jacqueline Rose turns to South Africa to argue that, far from lifting the weight of history, such expectations lay an impossible burden on the children of the nation. Drawing on the living archive of the recent University protests, on radical South African thinkers, alongside other voices from across the world who have struggled with a cruel history, she suggests that only a continuous reckoning with the past, however agonised, can forge a path towards a better, more just, future.


Chiara de Cesari will be speaking about “Impossible Memories: On the Predicament of Creating Palestinian National Museums”:


In this talk, I explore the peculiar history of museums in post-Oslo Palestine and especially the story of the Palestinian Museum. I explore the ways in which the Palestinian quasi-state, the Palestinian Authority, has tried but failed thus far to create a national museum as a key institution of national representation. Instead, Palestinian artists and cultural producers have experimented with different museum formats, creating virtual museums and nomadic museums in exile, thus producing national institutions in transnational spaces.


All are warmly invited.

This entry was posted in Lecture, Research, Seminars.

Debate – how fair is Fairtrade?

The Sustainability Services of the University and Commercial Services  are hosting an interesting debate on the fairness of Fairtrade.

It will be held this Thursday 9 March at 17:00 in the Parkinson Court (Parkinson Building). 

It will be an evening of informal interdisciplinary discussion about Fairtrade and its impact in the world. The fairness of Fairtrade will be examined from legal, economist and theological/philosophical perspectives, focusing on its impact in the Global South and the West. In light of International Women’s Day (8th of March), emphasis will be placed on Fairtrade’s impact on the lives of women.

The event is free and you can register here:


This entry was posted in Leeds, Seminars.

Finding Africa – African Feminisms seminar series 2017

This entry was posted in Finding Africas, LUCAS, Seminars.

LUCAS Spring Term seminar series 2017

LUCAS Seminar Series Spring 2017– all welcome, no need to book in advance

Conversations in Black History – Remembering Christopher and David
LUCAS is supporting a new series in conjunction with Leeds West Indian Centre Charitable Trust and the School of History at the University of Leeds, ‘Conversations in Black History’, and its inaugural event is ‘Remembering Christopher and David: Justice and Police Brutality in Yorkshire’, with campaigner Janet Alder and the Remember David Oluwale Campaign. It takes place on Wednesday 1 February, at 6pm, Leeds West Indian Centre.

Remembering Christopher and David

Prof. Rijk van Dijk (ASCL, Leiden University/ AISSR, Univ. of Amsterdam/ Centre of Excellence, Univ. of Konstanz)‘Pentecostalism and Pre-marital Counselling in Africa: A Case of Religious Sophistication?’.
Tuesday 7 February, 5pm, venue: Baines Wing SR (1.13)
(Co-sponsored by the Centre for Religion and Public Life)

Prof Rijk van Dijk on ‘Pentecostalism and Pre-marital Counselling in Africa’

Jörg Wiegratz (University of Leeds), ‘Neoliberal Moral Economy: Capitalism, Socio-Cultural Change and Fraud in Uganda’
Tuesday 28 February, 4.30pm–6pm, Michael Sadler Building, University of Leeds, LG 19
Co-sponsored by the Review of African Political Economy

Jörg Wiegratz on Neoliberal Moral Economy in Uganda

LUCAS Annual Lecture, 2016-2017
Professor Nic Cheeseman (University of Birmingham) will speak on
Elections and Political Change in Africa: The Case of Kenya 2017
Thursday 16 March 2017, 4.30pm, Clothworkers South Building Lecture Theatre 2

LUCAS Annual Lecture with Professor Nic Cheeseman

Truth for Giulio, Justice for Egypt’s Disappeared
LUCAS are proud to be joining with Leeds University and College’s Union (UCU) and Amnesty to sponsor an Egypt Solidarity Initiative event to campaign for truth for Giulio Regeni in Leeds.
Wednesday 22 March, 1 – 2.30pm, Roger Stevens Building, Lecture Theatre 1, University of Leeds
Speakers: Shane Enright (Amnesty UK’s trade union campaigner), Professor Ray Bush (University of Leeds)

Truth for Giulio, Justice for Egypt’s Disappeared

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

Dr Tara Deubel on Conserving Sahrawi Culture – 5 December

School of Languages, Cultures and Societies Seminar – 5 December

Conserving Sahrawi Culture: Language, Arts, and Identity Amidst Political Uncertainty in the Western Sahara

Dr Tara Deubel, University of South Florida, will be discussing how Saharawi communities preserve identity and community through the arts in the face of uncertainty and change.

Date: 05-12-2016
Time: 17:30 – 19:00

In the context of the protracted conflict over the Western Sahara following Spain’s decolonisation of the territory in 1975, Sahrawis have witnessed numerous political and social ruptures in recent decades. What processes have affected the cultural identity of Sahrawis affected by the politics of Moroccan integration in Western Sahara and the vulnerability of refugee status in Algeria under the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) government-in-exile? How do populations in persistent states of occupation, exile, and political instability accomplish the work of cultural conservation? Based on ethnographic research with Sahrawi communities on both sides of the divide, this talk focuses on several aspects of contemporary conservation efforts, including the maintenance of Hassaniya language, preference for traditional dress styles, and the performance of Sahrawi music and oral poetry in Hassaniya and Spanish. I argue that cultural conservation efforts serve as a central strategy in promoting larger Sahrawi political projects of resistance and autonomy.

Location: Parkinson SR B.10 – free


This entry was posted in Seminars.

Migration Research Network seminar

The second event of the Leeds Migration Research Network/Sadler Series Seminar 2016-17 ‘Who/What is a ‘Good’/’Bad’ Migrant?’

Wednesday, 2 November between 12 and 1.30pm

Venue: LHRI – Seminar Room 1

This seminar will feature state-of-the-art short presentations on key methodological concerns in various disciplines regarding studying the question of how “migrants” are conceptualised, classified, categorised and evaluated as differential objects of policy and public discourse, followed by discussion.

CHRIS PATERSON : Media / Communications; GABRIELLA ALBERTI (with CHRIS FORDE) : Policy / Law; ROXANA BARBULESCU : Politics/Sociology; ADRIAN FAVELL: Chair / Introduction.

The event will be followed by a Network Business Meeting, 2-3pm in LHRI seminar room 2.

This entry was posted in Seminars.

Dr Alex Vines OBE (Chatham House) on ‘Narratives about Africa’s Future’

Video of Dr Alex Vines OBE

LUCAS and the Centre for Global Development were delighted to host Dr Alex Vines OBE (Head of the Africa Programme at Chatham House), who spoke at the University of Leeds on ‘Narratives about Africa’s Future: what role for academics and analysts?’ on Tuesday 18th October – you can watch the video of his talk at this link here

This entry was posted in LUCAS, Seminars.

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