Staff and research

Staff all over the University have a research interest in Africa.  

African Studies and Anthropology

Professor Karin Barber

Emeritus Professor of African Cultural Anthropology

I am an anthropologist with a particular interest in popular culture, religion, and the verbal arts, both oral and written. Most of my research has been in the Yoruba-speaking area of Nigeria, and I am currently working on early Yoruba print culture. 

Dr Maxim Bolt

Reader in Anthropology and African Studies

I am an anthropologist of Southern Africa specialising in labour, migration, borders, development, the social dynamics of money and - most recently - will-making and inheritance. My research has been based in both university and museum settings. In addition to my current courses, I have taught on anthropology and development, globalisation, and surveys in ethnographic research. I am currently an ...

Dr Lynne Brydon

Senior Honorary Research Fellow

Research and teaching in the interdisciplinary environment that is the Department of African Studies and Anthropology has been one of the most rewarding and challenging phases in my life: rewarding as this kind of work pushes me to join up the dots, to make connections across disciplines and sets of ideas, and challenging because this kind of fluidity and opportunity is a square peg in the round ...

Dr Reginald Cline-Cole

Senior Lecturer

I am a (human) geographer by training and multi-disciplinary researcher by choice; and have, to date, had the good fortune of practising these ‘trades’ within the three related disciplines of Geography, Environmental Studies and, currently, Area Studies.

Professor Paulo Fernando de Moraes Farias

Honorary Professor

I am a historian. I have worked on epigraphic sources for the medieval history of West Africa. I have also developed new approaches to the 17th-century Timbuktu Chronicles, and to some historical oral narratives current among the Mande, Songhay, Baatombu, and Yoruba.

Dr Juliet Gilbert

Lecturer in African Studies and Anthropology

I am an anthropologist with a particular interest in youth studies, religion (especially Pentecostalism), insecure livelihoods, and aspects of popular culture (fashion, beauty pageants, mobile phones). My doctorate thesis focused on young women’s livelihoods in Calabar, southeastern Nigeria.

Dr Leslie James

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

My research examines the political and intellectual history of Africa and the African diaspora, with particular interest in black radical discourses and the global and local dimensions of anti-colonial movements in the twentieth century. I am currently researching newspapers in the late colonial period in West Africa and the Caribbean as a medium for the construction of not only local/national ...

Dr Jessica Johnson

Lecturer in the Anthropology of Africa

I am a social anthropologist specialising in Southern Africa, with a particular focus on the anthropology of gender and law in Malawi.

Dr Rebecca Jones

Lecturer in African Studies

I am a scholar of Nigerian print, literary and popular cultures in the Yoruba and English languages, with an emphasis on archival research and on literary and popular texts that are published and circulating mainly within Nigeria. My research sits on the intersection between literary studies and cultural anthropology; I am interested in how literary print cultures, genres, readers and writers ...

Dr Laura S Martin

Global Challenges Research Fellow

I am an Africanist with a focus on transitions after conflict and crisis in Sierra Leone.

Professor Tom McCaskie

Senior Research Fellow

History and culture of Asante and Africa; comparative history; history of ideas; historiography

Dr Insa Nolte

Reader in African Studies

My research focuses on the importance of private and everyday life for wider social relations and political processes in the Yoruba-speaking Southwest of Nigeria. My current work centres on encounters and relations between Yoruba Muslims, Christians, and traditionalists, and explores religion and gender in multi-religious marriages and family life.

The study of the relationship between the ...

Dr Terri Ochiagha

Honorary Research Fellow

I hold a PhD in Anglophone Literatures and Cultures (specialising in African Literature) from Complutense University, Madrid. After a three-year teaching career in a number of Spanish universities, I took up a two-year British Academy Newton International Fellowship at the University of Sussex in 2014. That month, I was conferred a Honorary Research Fellowship here at the Department of African ...

Professor Olukoya Ogen

Visiting Senior Research Fellow
Professor of History, Osun State University, Osogbo, Nigeria

Dr Katrien Pype

Birmingham Fellow

I am an anthropologist interested in the social and cultural contours of communication. Until now, I have studied how messages were transferred to masses (proselytization via TV serials/propaganda via TV news). Lately, I have started to analyse how people make sense of communication technologies in their daily lives and how it impacts urban lifeworlds.

I am also an Assistant Professor at the ...

Dr Benedetta Rossi

Reader in African History and Anthropology
Departmental Head of Postgraduate Studies (Taught and Research)

I work on the history and anthropology of twentieth-century West Africa, with a focus on Hausa and Tuareg societies in the Republic of Niger. My recent publications focus on slavery; emancipation; labour; migrations; governance; and the history and impacts of planned development. 

Personal website:

Dr Keith Shear

Senior Lecturer in African Studies
Head of Department of African Studies and Anthropology

I am particularly interested in South African history and politics, and am currently researching how the South African state coped with domestic political dissent during the 1940s through to the 1960's.

Dr Joanna Skelt

Teaching Fellow in African Studies and Anthropology

Research Lead, Narratives of Conflict in East Birmingham, AHRC Voices of War Project 

My research interests focus on the interdisciplinary study of writing, literature and conflict. I work using participatory and community arts to generate data on social change and cohesion.

Specialist areas: West Africa. Pakistan, Birmingham/UK.

Dr Kate Skinner

Senior Lecturer in the History of Africa and its Diasporas

Dr Silke Strickrodt

Visiting Research Fellow

I am a historian of West Africa with a particular interest in the precolonial and early colonial periods. My research focuses on the history of Afro-European encounters in the context of trade, Christian mission and scientific exploration, as well as the economic, political, social and cultural changes which these encounters have entailed for African societies and individuals. 

Birmingham Law School

Professor Nelson Enonchong

Professor Enonchong is the author of three major practitioner works in the field of banking and commercial law. He has advised in a number of complex international commercial disputes and has acted as an arbitrator in international commercial arbitrations.

He has written numerous articles for the Journal of African Law and the African Journal of  International and Comparative Law.

Dr Maureen Mapp

Dr Mapp's research and teaching interests are in the development of sustainable transnational cyber laws. In this context, she has provided technical expertise to the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Council of Europe Cybercrime division. She also researches the cultural transformation of domestic and international criminal law through legal translation, particularly the interplay between law and kinship practices in pluralist societies. As part of her professional service, she has advised the Uganda Law Reform Commission on the development of sentencing guidelines for Judicial Officers, and provided technical expertise on the drafting of The Constitution (Sentencing Guidelines For Courts Of Judicature) (Practice) Directions, Legal Notice 8 of 2013. Dr. Mapp is also a qualified advocate of the High Court of Uganda, a Fellow of the African Centre on Cyber law and Cyber Crime Prevention (ACCP), and a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy.

Dr Hakeem Yusuf

Dr Yusuf has done extensive research on the role of the judiciary in transitional societies which has attracted international recognition. In 2011, he was appointed and served as a Commissioner of Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Osun State (South-West Nigeria). He has also consulted for the International Commission of Jurists, Geneva. His first book, Transitional Justice, Judicial Accountability and the Rule of Law (Routledge Abingdon 2010) was shortlisted for the inaugural Kevin Boyle Prize (2010) of the Irish Association of Law Teachers (IALT). Two of his articles on the judicial in transitions won international awards in 2008 and 2009. The first one, the Global Jurist Silver Medal Award included a cash prize of €1,000 (one thousand Euros). The second is an invited submission to the International Journal of Law and Management which won the ‘Highly Commended Award’ in the Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence 2009. His second book Colonial and Post-Colonial Constitutionalism in the Commonwealth Peace, Order and Good Government (Routledge Abingdon 2014) was awarded the prestigious John T. Saywell Prize for Canadian Constitutional Legal History 2015 by the Osgoode Society of Canadian Legal History.

French Studies

Dr Berny Sèbe

Brought up in France and the Sahara desert Berny Sèbe has academic interests in the history of nineteenth and twentieth century European imperial history, decolonization and post-colonialism and in the history of the Sahara from 1880 to the present. He also has a personal interest in desert photography. Dr Sèbe’s teaching covers areas such as Franco-African relations and cinema, media and visual culture.

International Development

Danielle Beswick

Danielle’s research is increasingly situated at the interface of security and development, focusing on how fragile and conflict affected states seek to improve their security through their relationships with aid donors. Danielle is currently developing research on the role of small African states in African peacekeeping and security initiatives and the UK's involvement in facilitating these processes.  

Professor Nic Cheeseman

Nic Cheeseman is Professor of Democracy and International Development at the University of Birmingham. In addition to numerous book chapters, he is the author of Democracy in Africa: Successes, failures and the struggle for political reform (CUP, 2015) and over twenty journal articles including "Rethinking the 'presidentialism debate': Conceptualizing coalitional politics in cross-regional perspective" (Democratization, 2014), which won the inaugural GIGA prize for the best article published in Comparative Area Studies. Professor Cheeseman is also the editor of the collections Our Turn to Eat: Politics in Kenya Since 1950 (2010), The Handbook of African Politics (2013), and African Politics: Major Works (2016), and two special issues of the Journal of Eastern African Studies on the Kenyan elections of 2007 and 2013. 

Dr Jonathan Fisher

Jonathan’s research is focused on the relationship between Western aid donors and African states, particularly those in eastern Africa. Within this he is particularly interested in how donors ‘construct’ perceptions of foreign governments and key concepts (eg ‘fragile state’) in international development. He is also interested in the extent to which these ‘knowledge construction’ processes are influenced by African actors and bureaucratic structures as well as by policy-makers themselves. He is currently working on a project on Somali international relations since 2001. 

Dr Heather Marquette

Dr Heather Marquette is Senior Lecturer in Governance in the International Development Department (IDD), and is the Director of the Governance and Social Development Resource Centre ( She has 13 years international experience in research, policy advice, consultancy and training in governance. A political scientist by background, she has particular interests and expertise in anti-corruption reforms and strategies, political economy analysis, good governance, state-building, aid policy, the transition to democracy and civic education. She has worked primarily on Africa, and Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana in particular, as well as Afghanistan and India.

Dr Fiona Nunan

Fiona’s research interests are within the broad area of environment and development, particularly in terms of how institutional arrangements enable or constrain access to renewable natural resources by the poor. She is currently working on coastal ecosystem and livelihoods projects in Kenya and Sri Lanka. Before returning to the University in 2008, she worked for five years in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania on fisheries co-management projects and has published a number of articles from her inland fisheries experience. She also has experience in natural resource and livelihoods research in Ghana and Mozambique.


Political Science and International Studies

Marco Vieira

Marco's research is currently focused on the rising influence of ‘South powers’, specially South Africa, India and Brazil, and their growing importance in reshaping global governance structures, including areas such as institutional frameworks to tackle climate change, international trade and finance, and the reform of UN’s Security Council.

School of Education

Dr Tom Bisschoff

Dr Bisschoff started his career as a high school teacher in economics and accountancy. He was a member of the academic staff of the following tertiary institutions: University of South Africa (Pretoria, South Africa), Central University of Technology (Bloemfontein, South Africa), Vista University (Sebokeng, South Africa) and the University of Johannesburg before joining the University of Birmingham in 2008.    He is presently involved in a five year research project on failing schools in South Africa funded by the South African National Research Foundation. 

Emeritus Professor Clive Harber

From 1995-9, Professor Harber was head of the school of Education at the then University of Natal, South Africa and was head of the School of Education, University of Birmingham from 2003-2006. His most recent research has involved a study of a quality of education project in four African countries (Ethiopia, Zambia, Mozambique and Zimbabwe) for Save the Children Norway and a study teaching controversial issues in teacher education in England and South Africa.


Theology and Religion

Professor Allan Anderson

Raised in Zimbabwe, Professor Anderson began his academic career in South Africa before joining the University of Birmingham in 2005.  His research interests are in the areas of the history, mission and theology of Pentecostalism in Africa and Asia.

Dr Sigvard von Sicard

Dr von Sicard's research interests are centred around Islam and Christian-Muslim Relations in Africa.He is currently involved in research on the potential of the concept of the Kingdom of God as a means towards a deeper understanding between Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Dr von Sicard is currently editing an East African manuscript entitled "Kawkab al-Durriya li Akhbar Ifriqiya".

Classics and Ancient History

Dr Gareth Sears

Dr Sears is a Roman historian who teaches and researches on the city, city life and religious change in the Roman world and in particular late Roman North Africa. He has co-directed archaeological work at Cyrene in Libya. 

Accounting and Finance

Professor Victor Murinde

Professor Murinde currently provides advisory services to government, companies and international organisations, including the World Bank, the United Nations, UNCTAD, Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research, African Development Bank, and the Caribbean Development Bank.  His current research interests include: microstructure issues in emerging financial markets; capital structure and dividend policy; bank performance and risk; flow-of-funds, financial development and poverty reduction.

Civil Engineering

Dr Cynthia Carliell-Marquett

Dr Cynthia Carliell-Marquet, a Lecturer in Water and Environmental Engineering at the University of Birmingham, is a leading researcher in resource recovery from anaerobic digestion of biomass wastes. Dr Carliell-Marquet has been successful in winning research funding from the EPSRC and the UK Water Industry and is currently working on international projects with researchers in India, Switzerland, South Africa, and Australia.

Mechanical Engineering

Dr Remi Olatunbosun

Dr Olatunbosun is originally from Nigeria and was on the academic staff at the University of Lagos before joining Birmingham. He retains close links with University of Lagos and was a visiting professor in the Faculty of Engineering in 2007/08. Dr Olatunbosun regularly gives lectures and seminars at the University of Lagos and he also helps the International Office with recruitment in Nigeria.


Professor Graham Martin

Professor Graham Martin is an Ornithologist with an international reputation built upon his research into the sensory worlds of birds. In recent years he has used his expertise to focus on understanding why some bird species are particularly vulnerable to collisions with human artefacts such as wind turbines and power lines.

This work has taken him to southern Africa where he has worked on the collision vulnerability of Blue Cranes, bustards and vultures whose populations are threatened by their high rate of collisions and the rapid development of power generating and distribution infra structure. He has also worked on the foraging behaviour of African Spoonbills and Ground Hornbills. These hornbills are a flagship species of conservation concern in South Africa.


Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Dan van der Horst

Dan van der Horst is an environmental geographer with an interest in natural resource management, focusing especially on the governance of multi-functional land use, ecosystem services and renewable energy systems, and the diverging views, values, knowledge and interests of local communities and outside developers (private sector and/or state). He has undertaken research in Africa on the drivers and patterns of agricultural intensification in the face of climate change. He is a co-investigator on a NERC funded project (2011-2013) called ‘bridging knowledge systems’, which examines the efforts to turn local tree species into cash-crops for biofuel production.