Dr Benedetta Rossi BA Hons, MPhil, PhD

Dr Benedetta Rossi

Department of African Studies and Anthropology
Senior Honorary Research Fellow

Contact details

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

Personal website:  www.benedettarossi.com


Benedetta is a historian and anthropologist of Africa. Her work focuses on twentieth century African and global labor history, environmental history, slavery and other forms of unfreedom, migration, planned development aid, gender and sexuality. She is working on her second book project, Slavery and Freedom in Twentieth Century Africa, contracted with Cambridge University Press (New Approaches to African History Series).

She is a member of three international research networks: Conjugal Slavery in War (CSiW) ; Slavery in Africa: A Dialogue between Europe and Africa (SLAFNET); and Children Born of War (CHIBOW)  


Authored books

Edited volumes

Articles in peer-reviewed journals

Chapters in edited volumes

  • ‘Kinetocracy: The Government of Mobility at the Desert’s Edge’, in J. Quirk and D. Vigneswaran (eds.), Mobility Makes States: Migration and Power in Africa. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014, pp. 223-256. 
  • ‘Without History? Interrogating Slave Memories in Ader (Niger)’, in A. Bellagamba, S. Greene, M. Klein (eds.), African Voices on Slavery and the Slave Trade (Cambridge and New York, 2013), pp. 536-554.
  • ‘Tuareg Trajectories of Slavery: Preliminary Reflections on a Changing Field’, in A. Fisher and I. Kohl (eds.) Tuareg Society within a Globalized World: Saharan Life in Transition. London and New York, I.B. Tauris, pp. 89-108 (2010).
  • with Anne Haour, ‘The Emergence of Hausa Identity: History and Religion’, in A. Haour and B. Rossi (eds.) Being and Becoming Hausa: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, pp. 1-34 (2010).
  • 'Being and Becoming Hausa in Ader (Niger)’, in A. Haour and B. Rossi (eds.) Being and Becoming Hausa: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, pp. 113-140 (2010).
  • ‘Introduction: Rethinking Slavery in West Africa’, in B. Rossi (ed.) Reconfiguring Slavery: West African Trajectories, pp. 1-25 (2009).
  • ‘Slavery and Migration: Physical and Social mobility in Ader (Tahoua)’, in B. Rossi (ed.) Reconfiguring Slavery: West African Trajectories, pp. 182-206 (2009).
  • ‘The Paradox of Chronic Aid’, in X. Crombé and J.H. Jézéquel (eds.) A Not-so-natural Disaster: Niger 2005. London: Hurst (English translation of original French volume), pp. 105-124 (2009).
  • ‘Les Paradoxes des Aides Chroniques’, in X. Crombé and J.H. Jézéquel (eds.) Niger 2005: Une Catastrophe Si Naturelle. Paris: Karthala, pp. 145-172 (2007)
  • 'Aid Policies and Recipient Strategies in Niger’, in D. Lewis and D. Mosse (eds.) Development Brokers and Translators: The Ethnography of Aid and Development.Bloomfield: Kumarian, pp. 27-49 (2006).
  • ‘Women, Land and Development: Gendered Paradigms of Tenure in the Rural Development Project of Keita (Niger)’, in S. Matteo (ed.) ItaliAfrica: Bridging Continents and Cultures. New York: Forum Italicum Press, pp. 119-142 (2001)

Other (podcasts, reports, interviews, encyclopedia entries, etc.)

  • 2018 ‘Migration History and Historiography’. In The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History online:.
  • 2017 Interview with Benedetta Rossi, ‘The Power of Saviors’. Published online in the website of Humboldt University (Berlin), 18 December 2017.
  • 'Modern slavery, Brexit, migration, and development: connecting the dots'. Article for Beyond Trafficking and Slavery, an Open Democracy blog, published online on 21 November 2017.
  • 'The Everyday Gender Inequalities that Underpin Wartime Atrocities’. Article for Beyond Trafficking and Slavery, an Open Democracy blog, published online on 22 April 2015
  • Audio podcast of Benedetta Rossi’s 20-minute intervention in the panel ‘The Slave Next Door: Global and Local Labor’, Symposium on Contemporary Slavery, Exit Art Cultural Centre, New York City. Listen to the podcast (‘panel 2’, 46thminute) (2011)
  • Physical and Social Mobility in Ader (Tahoua, Niger). Final Report (40 pages) of the Research Project Mobilités Ouest-Africaines (MOBOUA) for the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) (2010)
  • Video podcast of Benedetta Rossi’s presentation ‘Without History ? Interrogating “Slave” Memories in Ader’ at the conference ‘Tales of Slavery’, University of Toronto, 24-28 May 2009
  • Interview with Benedetta Rossi, ‘Il faut penser une forme d’aide qui va aider le Niger à se passer de l’aide’, published on national newspaper of the Republic of Niger, Le Républicain, no. 932, 10-16 June 2010, p. 8 (full page).
  • Interview with Benedetta Rossi, ‘Lingering Impact of Slavery’, Research Intelligence, issue 34, Spring 2008
  • Five entries: ‘Marshall Plan’; ‘Food Aid’; ‘Power, Discourse and Development’; ‘Governmentality’; and ‘Actor Oriented Approaches,’ Routledge Encyclopedia of International Development. General editor: Tim Forsyth; London: Routledge.. General editor: Tim Forsyth; London: Routledge (2005)
  • Occasional contributions to policy-oriented bulletins and publications including Oxford Analytica (global strategic analysis), Haramata (Newsletter of the International Institute for Environment and Development), BOND (Newsletter of British Overseas NGOs for Development).

Book reviews

  • Lawrance, B. and Roberts, R. (eds.) ‘Trafficking in Slavery’s Wake: Law and the Experience of Women and Children in Africa’. Slavery and Abolition, vol. 35, no. 4, pp. 677-679 (2014).
  • Spaulding, J. and Beswick, S. (eds.), ‘African Systems of Slavery’, Africa, vol. 81/2, pp. 338-339 (2011).
  • Campbell, G., Miers, S., and Miller, J. (eds.), ‘Children in Slavery Through the Ages’, Africa, vol. 80, no. 3, pp. 516-518 (2010).
  • (with Dmitri Van Den Bersselaar) Parker, J. and Rathbone, R. ‘African History: A Very Short Introduction’, Africa, vol. 79, no. 1, pp. 317-318 (2009).
  • Diouf, S. (ed.) ‘Fighting the Slave Trade: West African Strategies’, Progress in Development Studies, vol. 7, no. 5, pp. 249-250 (2005).
  • Liberski-Bagnoud, D. ‘Les Dieux du Territoire: Penser Autrement la Généalogie’ Man/Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. 10, no. 4, p. 967 (2004).
  • Pottier, J., Bicker, A., and Sillitoe, P. (eds) ‘Negotiating Local Knowledge: Power and Identity in Development’, Progress in Development Studies, vol. 4, no. 4, pp. 365-366 (2004).
  • Hagberg, S. ‘Poverty in Burkina Faso: Representations and Realities’, Man/Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 173-174 (2003).
  • Bierschenk, T., Chaveau, JP., de Sardan, JPO. (eds) ‘Courtiers en Développement: Les Villages Africains en Quête de Projets’, Man/Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. 8, no. 3, pp. 581-582 (2002).
  • Casajus, D. ‘Gens de Parole: Langage, Poésie et Politique en Pays Touareg’, Man/Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 186-187 (2002)