Centre for African Studies (LUCAS)

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


We are launching the Network with a series of half-day events and a full-day conference, under the broad theme of ‘democracy and power’. Generous financial assistance for this programme of events has been provided by the journal Review of African Political Economy. Attendance at all events is thereby free (though places are limited), and travel subsidies are available to post-graduate students from Yorkshire-based universities wishing to attend.

YASN Conference – Migration and Transition – Roots and Routes, University of Hull, 18th and 19th May 2017

The main theme of the conference is Migration and Transition – Roots and Routes This 2 day interdisciplinary conference aims to create an inclusive and supportive space for post-graduate scholars, academics and community members to come together in a supportive environment, to provide a platform of critical thinking, exchange of ideas and to promote inter-relationships between academics, researchers, the community and non-academics.


18th May Thursday

9.30     Register

10.15   Keynote: Dr Lucy Michael – hate crime and discussion

  1. 00 Frowynke Siegers: Community Development & Volunteer Coordinator Gateway   Protection Programme – Refugee Council – talk of work with refugees and case studies
  2. 30 Lunch

1.30      Lilly Okech-Appiah: The Human Trafficking of young girls and women from      Eastern Africa to Europe

1.45        Giselle Lowe: A qualitative exploration of abortion narratives in South Africa

2.00      Discussion

2.15      Keynote: Dr Athina Karatogianni Africa/ social media and discussion

3.00      Tea/coffee

3.15      Samuel North: Museums as a form of restorative justice: reality or rhetoric in South Africa?

3.30       Dr Michele Olivier: Forced Marriages: A modern form of slavery?

4.00       Nkiruka U Maduekwe: Enforcing Environmental Rights in Nigeria: Is there an African Solution to this Nigerian Problem?

4.15 – 4.45 Discussion

4.45 -5.45 Roundtable YASN discussion

6 – 7/8    Film: Talk by Tom Glinski – Community Development Worker Centre 88

Film made by refugees Centre 88 – Refugee Council

19th May Friday

10       Coffee/Tea

10.30  Claire Chambers: ‘Like a New Titanic’: Muslim Refugee Fiction

11.00  Shriya Thakkar: Labour Migration and Gender Roles: A South Asian Perspective

11.15  Discussion

11.30  Dr Shola: Boko Haram

12.00  Allison Drew: Conflict patterns in Africa

12.30 Dr Bev Orton: Decriminalising Sex Workers in South Africa

1.00 Discussion/ plenary

1.30   Lunch

2.30 Possible screening of film on Rwanda

PM Visit to WISE/ Hull/ art exhibitions on campus and in town

For registration, and more information please email Dr Bev Orton  – b.orton@hull.ac.uk

YASN Conference ‘Transitions’ from what to what? Justice and Reconciliation in Africa

University of Bradford, Friday 18 November 2016 (supported by JEFCAS)

The conference aims to subject to scrutiny the realms of criminal justice, social justice and reconciliation in Africa. This is not envisaged as a narrow field; the conference is designed to include all elements of international criminal justice, truth and reconciliation commissions, localised notions of retributive, restorative and redistributive justice, and ideas of social justice linked to themes as broad as poverty, gender, land and societal cleavages. The conference, however, aims also to interrogate the notion of ‘transition’. Often applied to societies deemed in need of change, the important questions of what is envisaged and what actually happens are accompanied by an even more fundamental uncertainty as to whether ‘transition’ is indeed an appropriate term for these processes.


10.15 Registration

10.50 Introduction

11.00 Session 1: Post-conflict Justice and Reconciliation

Peter Nias, Former Honorary Visiting Research Fellow, University of Bradford

From Apartheid to Democracy – without a Truth & Reconciliation Commission: has the experience of Namibia worked?

Adikalie Kamara, University of Bradford

The Special Court for Sierra Leone: a Peacebuilding Mechanism?

Chris Davey, University of Bradford

Post-genocide Memory as the Aegis of Atrocity

12.30 Lunch break

1.15 Session 2: Justice Systems

Vera Riffler, University of York

Justice in security matters – mapping non-state actors and security demands in Khayelitsha, South Africa

Dr Nicki Kindersley, University of Durham

Rule of whose law? Justice systems under ‘transitional government’ collapse in Juba, South Sudan

Dr Chris Paterson, University of Leeds

To fear or embrace the ‘global policeman’: the representation of the US military ‘African Pivot’

3.00 Session 3: Guest Speaker

Dr Phil Clark, SOAS, University of London

4.20 Closing remarks

To register please follow this link here
For more information please contact Dr David Harris (d.harris7@bradford.ac.uk)

Gender and Sexuality – workshop

University of Leeds, Thursday 14 January 2016

10am-5pm, Grant Room 311 Michael Sadler Building, University of Leeds

This workshop will see postgraduate students, researchers and academics from a number of institutions come together to focus on the themes of gender and sexuality in the African continent from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds. Themes include Rhetoric and Representation, Violence, Norms and Dissonance.
Some funding will be available to reimburse graduate students’ travel costs within Yorkshire
The programme is available to download here
and is online here

Culture and politics in Africa – workshop

University of York, 12th June 2015

This one-day workshop will explore the interaction between cultural creativity and politics in Africa. Through discussions of novels, poetry and other cultural expressions, it will explore the relationship between the state, political movements and people engaged in cultural projects. York-based Malawian author Jack Mapanje will read extracts from his prison memoir And Crocodiles Are Hungry at Night, along with new poems. An award-winning poet, linguist, editor and human rights activist, Jack Mapanje was arrested by the Malawi authorities in 1987 and released in 1991, following an international campaign. He has since published four poetry books and three anthologies and edited the acclaimed Gathering Seaweed: African Prison Writing. Other speakers include David Attwell on Coetzee and African Studies and Thando Njovane on Black Bodies in South African Fiction.

Contributions from writers, academics, students and cultural activists are welcome. Please send proposals to Professor Allison Drew, Department of Politics, University of York, allison.drew@york.ac.uk by May 15.

Here is the link to the programme.

Family, Community and Livelihoods: Perspectives from Africa

University of Sheffield , 19th May 2015

Recent years have seen impressive levels of economic growth in many parts of Africa, with a new discourse of ‘Africa Rising’ coming to displace the widespread pessimism of the late twentieth century. 2015 is also the year in which countries across the continent will be scrutinised regarding their achievements or failures in relation to the ‘Milliennium Development Goals’. In this one-day conference, we seek to go beyond statistics and national indicators to understand contemporary African societies in rich detail and at the local level. In particular, the conference will explore community and neighbourhood dynamics, family relations, parent-child relations, intergenerational relations, child rearing practices, work opportunities and livelihood choices, and how these are evolving in the context of changing socio-economic and political conditions. This agenda speaks to a wide range of contemporary concerns prevalent across much of Africa, including (but not limited to) the following: job creation and unemployment, fertility rates and demographic change, ‘youth bulges’, education, gender relations, children’s rights, the changing nature of family relations, labour relations, community participation, violence and crime, and the need for improved systems for urban and neighbourhood planning.

We welcome applications from PhD students, researchers and academics focusing on the above issues in any part of the African continent from a wide range of disciplinary backgrounds: Sociology, Anthropology, Urban Studies and Planning, Geography, History, Politics, Social Policy, Economics, amongst others. Please submit 300-word abstracts for papers to be presented at the conference to Dr Afua Twum-Danso Imoh (a.twum-danso@sheffield.ac.uk) by 31st March 2015. We will let you know as soon as possible after the deadline whether your paper proposal has been accepted.

Family, Community and Livelihoods: Perspectives from Africa is open to all academics, researchers and postgraduate students (PGT or PGR)–whether they are based in Yorkshire or elsewhere.

Liberalism in Action in Africa: State Rebuilding, Security Reform and Justice

Bradford University, 21st May 2014 

For the last quarter of a century, liberalism has been the dominant policy paradigm in the realms of politics, development, economics and security in Africa. Indeed, Africa has had little choice but to liberalise, at least officially, given the continued need for Western aid. Liberalism has thus manifested itself in fields ranging from democracy, civil society and state re-building, to the Millennium Development Goals and poverty, to natural resources and economic liberalisation, and to security sector reform and transitional justice. Notwithstanding the rather uneven, limited or hybrid nature of its impact and the growing threat on its influence which has emerged from the presence of China and India in the last few years, it is still the dominant policy player. The conference aims to uncover some of the fine grain details concerning the implementation of liberal policies underpinning state rebuilding, security reform and justice in African countries and to identify the successes, obstacles and hybridities that have emerged when liberalism has met African realities – i.e. ‘liberalism in action’.

Please submit 300-word abstracts to Dr David Harris (d.harris7@bradford.ac.uk) by 17.00 on Monday March 10th for papers to be presented at the conference. We will let you know asap after the deadline. The call for papers is open to all, but we particularly welcome abstracts from PhD students and researchers from universities in Yorkshire.

The conference is free to attend and there may be some travel subsidies for students.

The programme for the Liberalism in Action in Africa conference is available here.

‘Africa Rising’: Electoral Politics and Development

Monday 9th December 2013, 12:30-4:30pm
University of Leeds, Martin Banham Theatre (Michael Sadler Building)

A recent narrative emerging from the world press and donors has been that of ‘Africa’s rising’: a period in which positive growth rates and the increasing frequency of elections indicate significant progress for the continent. This YASN workshop will explore these claims, discussing recent elections and those on the immediate horizon, but also considering the longer historical relationship between electoral politics and development.

Programme 12:30 -4:30pm
12:30 Registration and welcome (and travelling post-graduate student train fare claims)*
12:40- 2:30pm Panel 1.
Democratization, elections and society: South Africa; Sierra Leone; Ghana
Alexander Beresford, University of Leeds: The politics of regenerative nationalism in South Africa.
Allison Drew, University of York ‘South Africa is a democratic country but we as mineworkers are excluded from this democracy’: Rethinking citizenship in Africa
David Harris, University of Bradford: Swings and Roundabouts: the Vagaries of Democratic Consolidation and ‘Electoral Rituals’ in Sierra Leone
Julia Ruppel, University of Bradford: Observing Ghana’s current political settlement through its 2012 election
3pm-4:30pm Panel 2. Political participation and inclusion: Issues and controversies
Gwyneth Sutherlin, University of Bradford. Packaging Participation: how mobile ICTs script the narrative, a Ugandan case study
Sahr Yillia, University of York: From Exclusion to Inclusive Developments for People with Disabilities using assistive technology.
Stylianos Moshonas, University of Bristol. Democratisation, electoral pressures and liberalisation: the 2003-2006 transition in the DRC revisited.

Conflict, Identity and the State in DRC

University of Sheffield, 29 June 2012

Congo, both historically and in the contemporary period, has stereotypically exemplified the worst of Africa: warfare mounted for material gain, human rights abuses, dictatorship, political corruption, the global exploitation of mineral wealth and the neglect of its people’s aspirations and lives. Whilst this suffering is undeniable, Congo, contrary to its presentation in popular culture and western media as a ‘place apart’ or even the ‘heart of darkness’, is best understood as a place central to both the global and African experience. Recent historical research sheds new light on the ways in which Congolese people, individually and collectively, have sought to shape their own lives, societies and nation in ways similar to their counterparts elsewhere on the continent.

This workshop will introduce new research on the history and contemporary experience of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Rejecting intellectual approaches based on the nation-state as the singular unit of analysis, the research to be presented identifies the salience of local, cross-border regional and global factors and influences in shaping Congolese history. The event emphasises the importance of Congolese agency in complex interactions with external forces and structures, rejecting the notion that Congo and its people have simply been the victims of external exploitation.

The African National Congress’ 100th Birthday: Time for Africa to Celebrate?

University House, University of Leeds. 30/3/2012 | 9.30am – 5.00pm.
Sponsored by LUCAS and Review of African Political Economy (ROAPE) http://www.roape.org/

2012 is the African National Congress’ centenary year and this workshop will examine a range of issues relating to South African politics, history and society at this symbolic moment in the country’s history. The themes addressed by the panels include:
• Reflections on the ANC at 100: the politics of nation building
• Liberation movements in comparative perspective
• The South African labour movement
• South African finance and foreign policy
• South African film, cartoons and media freedom

Provisional Programme
Panel 1: Contemporary South African politics and society
9:30am – 11am
Allison Drew (University of York): ‘The political symbolism of the ANC’s centenary’
Sarah Bracking (University of Manchester): ‘South Africa’s finances: Offshore private equity, carbon emission credits and “entreprocurement”’
Marc Fletcher (University of Edinburgh): ‘Sport and nation-building in South Africa: The case of the 2010 World Cup’
Panel 2: The post liberation state and the ANC’s relationship with Africa
11:15 – 12:45
Mathew Graham (University of Sheffield) ‘South African foreign policy under the ANC: an historical interpretation’
Lionel Cliffe (Emeritus Professor, University of Leeds): ‘The Failure of and Continuing Need for Land Reform in SA’
Sara Rich Dorman (University of Edinburgh): ‘Political Economy of the Post-liberation State’
Panel 3: South African labour: past, present and future
1:30pm – 3:00pm
Martin Plaut (BBC World Service Africa editor) ‘Reflections on the South African labour movement at the ANC’s centenary’
Alexander Beresford (University of Leeds): ‘Labour and class politics in post-apartheid South Africa’
Pauline Dibben and Geoff Wood (University of Sheffield): ‘Is Social Movement Unionism still relevant in South Africa?’
Panel 4: South African arts and the media
3:15pm – 4:45pm
Dan Hammett (University of Sheffield): ‘Tolerating dissent? The ANC, media freedom and the cartoonist’s ire’
Chris Paterson (University of Leeds) ‘Placing contemporary press freedom debates in South Africa in context’
Lizelle Bisschoff (University of Edinburgh): ‘From Tsotsi to District 9: Forging a national cinema in post-apartheid South Africa’

South Sudan and after: rethinking borders and revisiting migration after the referendum

University of Leeds, 10th June 2011

The referendum on South Sudanese independence held in January 2011 is a potentially momentous event in post-colonial African history. The first annual conference of the new Yorkshire African Studies Network will consider the outcome of the referendum and its wider impact on African borders and migration. This conference will consist of three sessions. The first will consider the impact of the poll on the Sudanese state and its people. The second will consider the referendum’s impact on the policy, upheld by the African Union and its predecessor, of the sovereignty of colonial borders – will Sudan provide a precedent for a new wave of secessionist claims and the redrawing of borders elsewhere on the continent. The third session will reconsider the experience of African migrants and their experience of borders in both Africa and Europe.

Panel 1: South/Sudan (10.00am-12 noon)
– Harry Verhoeven (Oxford): ‘The Economics of Southern Sudan’s Secession. Life Beyond Scary Statistics?’
– Tumaini Minja (York): ‘Transitional Justice from below: the South Sudan experience’
– Mareike Schomerus (LSE): ‘The great success story and facets of decision day: unsettling elements of the Sudanese referendum process’
– Nicki Kindersley (Durham): ‘Identifying the New Sudanese: the South Sudan referendum and the history of defining Sudanese nationality’


Panel 2: Borders and precedents (1.00pm-2.45pm)
– Wolfgang Zeller (Edinburgh): ‘Borderlands and Secessionism in Africa – Zones of Protracted Conflict or Sites of Emerging Sovereignties?’
– Steve Kibble (Progressio) and Michael Walls (UCL): ‘What makes Somaliland’s case for recognition so different?’
– Giuliano Martinelli (Leeds): Ivory Coast


Panel 3: Migration and refugees (3.00-4.45pm)
– Hannah Cross (Leeds): ‘West African migration, EU borders and global capitalism: post-9/11 continuity and change’
– Further speakers to be confirmed

Roundtable: What is the future of the African nation state? (5.00 – 6.00pm)

States and democracy in Africa: Expectations and contestations

University of York Launch − Friday, 18 February 2011, 10:30-5:00*
Venue: Huntington Room, King’s Manor, Exhibition Square, York City Centre

This one-day conference explores the relationship between African states and democratic movements.
• Do the nature of the colonial experience and the intensity of violence that accompanied it impose barriers on the achievement of democracy in the post-colonial era?
• Are there patterns in state responses to democratic pressures across different geopolitical and regional settings and across settler and non-settler societies?
• Can the pervasive violence against women that plagues many African societies and impedes democracy be overcome?
• Do political elites occupying state positions support or act as a barrier to democratic movements?
• What is the role of intellectuals, political activists and civil society movements in democratic movements?

• Job Akuni (University of Bradford)
• June Bam-Hutchinson (Institute for Public Understanding of the Past, York)
• Allison Drew (Department of Politics, York)
• Paul Njoroge (Centre for Applied Human Rights, York)
• Justin Pearce (St Antony’s College, Oxford)
• Lars Waldorf (Centre for Applied Human Rights, York)

*Co-convened by YASN and the Review of African Political Economy. Special thanks to the University of York Departments of English and Politics.

The State and Emerging Powers in Africa: China and India

Friday 3rd December 2010
JEFCentre for African Studies (JEFCAS)
SSIS, University of Bradford

External actors have heavily shaped the African States from conception. Whilst former colonial powers continued significant and evolving economic and political relationships with the post-colonial states, the cold war period led to the ideological ‘purchase’ of many African states with some catastrophic consequences. The era of the Washington Consensus further attempted to mould the African state to reflect the assumptions and desires of the International Financial Institutions. It is increasingly argued that this dominance will be challenged by the rise of economic powers such as China and India.

‘Emerging powers’ will have multiple impacts on political and economic developments in Africa. Apart from the direct economic impact of large-scale investment, states such as China are also having a major political impact, and are directly and indirectly influencing issues of state development and approaches to conflict.

These new relationships are often controversial, provoking varied responses from other major powers, domestic political elites and social groups, and from international NGOs.

This one-day seminar will explore the influence of emerging actors in Africa with reference primarily to the state and security. We will explore how the African State may be further shaped by the emergence of new actors.

• Dr Chris Alden (London School of Economics)
• Dr Shogo Suzuki (University of Manchester)
• Dr David Lewis (University of Bradford)
• Dr Gerard McCann (University of York)
The Network was launched with a series of half-day events and a full-day conference, under the broad theme of ‘democracy and power’. Generous financial assistance for this programme of events has been provided by the journal Review of African Political Economy. Attendance at all events was thereby free (though places were limited), and travel subsidies were available to post-graduate students from Yorkshire-based universities wishing to attend.


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