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Centre of African Studies

Anthropology and Sociology


Dr Rita Astuti

Reader in Anthropology, LSE, r.astuti@lse.ac.uk

  • The study of identity construction among the Vezo of Madagascar; the study of social categorisation in Madagascar through a combination of anthropological and psychological approaches; psychological essentialism; gender; kinship.
  • Madagascar, Swaziland
Dr Paul Basu

Reader in Material Culture and Museum Studies, UCL, Institute of Archaeology, paul.basu@ucl.ac.uk

  • Cultural heritage; historical geography; museums
  • Managing editor of the Journal of Material Culture
  • Sierra Leone
Professor Philip Burnham

Professor of Anthropology, UCL, p.burnham@ucl.ac.uk

  • States and political organisation, especially francophone states of West and Equatorial Africa; rural economy and ecological relations of agricultural and pastoral communities; inter-ethnic relations; 19th century history; rain forest conservation.
  • Western and Equatorial Africa, Cameroon, Nigeria, Central African Republic
Dr John R Campbell

Senior Lecturer, Anthropology of Development, Department of Anthropology and Sociology, SOAS, jc58@soas.ac.uk

  • Development policy and projects, social and economic history of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, the role of research methods in development research
  • Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya
Professor Pat Caplan

Professor of Anthropology, Goldsmiths College, p.caplan@gold.ac.uk

  • Modernisation and development; food, health and fertility in Africa; trance and healing; gender relations; government policies.
  • Tanzania
Dr Christopher Davis

Lecturer in Anthropology, SOAS, cd3@soas.ac.uk

  • Indigenous medicine and medical anthropology; therapy and illness among the Tabwa of Zaire; interpretive anthropology; Africa and/in the diaspora; ethnographic writing.
  • Central Africa, Zaire
Dr Matthew Engelke
  • Lecturer in Anthropology, LSE, m.engelke@lse.ac.uk
  • Research on Apostolic Christian Churches in urban Zimbabwe; secondary interest in religion and human rights, and history of anthropology.
  • Zimbabwe
Professor Richard Fardon

Professor in West African Anthropology, SOAS, rf@soas.ac.uk

  • Social anthropologist of West Africa whose research has predominantly been concerned with middle-belt peoples of Cameroon and Nigeria. His current, regional research focuses on material culture and history: including photographic evidence for innovations in the rituals of Bali Nyonga (in the Grassfields of Cameroon), a comparative survey of masquerade in the middle-belt of, predominantly, Nigeria and an inventory of Chamba statuary. He is collaborating with colleagues in various museums: especially the Basel Mission Archives and the Berlin Museum of Ethnology. His recent work has included such related themes as: ethnicity, languages and development and radio. Professor Fardon is also Chairman of the Centre of African Studies.
  • Cameroon, Nigeria
Dr Rosemary Harris

Reader in Anthropology, UCL, rosemary.harris@ucl.ac.uk

  • West African ethnography; Mbembe of Cross River area (Nigeria).
  • West Africa, Nigeria
Dr Deborah James

Reader in Anthropology, LSE, d.a.james@lse.ac.uk

  • Early research focused on ethnicity, migration and musical performance. More recently she has become interested in the intersection between state/non-state planners and local communities, manifest both in policies about reproductive health/HIV-AIDS and in programmes of land reform. Her fieldwork has been conducted in South Africa's Mpumalanga and Northern Provinces, and in urban areas around Johannesburg where migrants from those areas have settled in search of work. After initial fieldwork researching the interplay of traditional authority, land-holding and ethnic identity in a multi-ethnic rural community, her doctoral research investigated how women migrants from the Northern Province defined themselves as ethnic subjects through song and musical performance. Her more recent research - specifically on the programme designed to accomplish land reform in post-apartheid South Africa - looks at how mutually constitutive discourses about the ownership, use, and appropriate governance of land reveal complex and often contradictory understandings of custom, community, ownership, citizenship and rights. She is also interested in comparative insights into the state, law, civil society and religion in postcolonial settings.
  • South and Southern Africa
Dr Marloes Janson

Lecturer in Anthropology, SOAS, mj19@soas.ac.uk 

  • Anthropology and religion;
  • She conducted research on popular culture, oral history, Islamic reform, gender and youth;
  • She is now focusing on the emergence of Chrislam, a religious movement that fuses Christian and Muslim beliefs and practices in Nigeria;
  • West Africa (the Gambia, Senegal and Nigeria)
Professor Murray Last

Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, UCL, m.last@ucl.ac.uk

  • Medical anthropology; traditional medicine; pre-colonial history: Islamic (especially 19th century Jihad) and pre-Islamic societies of northern Nigeria; religion among non-Muslim Hausa; Islamic intellectual tradition in northern Nigeria; youth culture of urban Kano (Nigeria).
  • Nigeria
Professor Ioan Lewis

Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, LSE, ioanlewis2@btinternet.com

  • Somali society; peace-making and local government in Somalia; spirit possession, ecstatic cults and religious syncretism in Africa, with special reference to Islam.
  • Somalia
Professor Trevor Marchand

Professor of Social Anthropology, SOAS, tm6@soas.ac.uk

  • British Academy mid-career Fellowship (2013); ESRC Fellow (2005-2008). Professor Marchand is conducting new research on building-craft knowledge and apprenticeship in Britain, and curated exhibitions on the masons of Djenne (Mali) at the RIBA (London) and the Smithsonian Institution NMNH (Washington).
  • Main research interests: An anthropological approach to the study of space, place, and architecture, and more specifically to the study of traditional building practices and the transmission of expert knowledge via systems of apprenticeship.
  • Mali (Djenne), Yemen (Sanaa), Nigeria (Zaria), London
Professor Henrietta Moore

Professor of Anthropology, LSE, h.l.moore@lse.ac.uk

  • Economic anthropology, agriculture and nutrition, gender and development, entrepreneurship and industrialisation, feminist and social theory, women's rights.
  • East and Central Africa, Zambia, Kenya, Mauritius
Dr Nici Nelson

Lecturer in Anthropology, Goldsmiths College, n.nelson@gold.ac.uk

  • Rural development and water usage, urbanisation, informal sector and migration with special reference to gender; AIDS with special reference to women and high risk behaviour (Kikuyu).
  • East Africa, Kenya, Uganda, Eritrea
Professor J D Y Peel

Professor of Anthropology and Sociology with reference to Africa, SOAS, jp2@soas.ac.uk

  • Cultural change, missionaries and religious conversion, African Christianity; interaction of Christian missionaries and Yoruba in 19th century; local communities and the state; history and anthropology, history of social thought; cultural politics of Islam and Christianity.
  • West Africa, Nigeria
Professor Johan Pottier

Professor of Anthropology, SOAS, jp4 @soas.ac.uk

  • Agriculture and rural development; food marketing, security and policy; post-famine recovery; the Great Lakes crisis in Central Africa; ethnic conflict; post-conflict rehabilitation.
  • Central and Southern Africa, Rwanda, Zambia, Zaire
Dr Sara Randall

Senior Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, UCL, s.randall@ucl.ac.uk

  • Demography of mobile populations including refugees and pastoralists. The production of demographic data, integrating quantitative and qualitative data to understand demographic behaviour.
  • Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Palestine
Professor Paul Richards

Professor of Anthropology, UCL, paul.richards@ucl.ac.uk

  • Human ecology, ecological change, agriculture, environment, rain forest conservation; Mende of Sierra Leone.
  • West Africa, Nigeria, Sierra Leone
Professor Michael Rowlands

Professor of Anthropology, UCL, m.rowlands@ucl.ac.uk

  • Material culture and cultural heritage including issues of cultural rights, transmission of cultural property/knowledge and postcolonial museums. Research on cultural heritage projects and local identities in Mali and a regional survey of material culture in the Grassfields region in Cameroon.
  • Cameroon and Mali
Dr Barrie Sharpe

Lecturer in Anthropology, UCL, b.sharpe@ucl.ac.uk

  • Agricultural change and its impact on health and nutrition; health-care systems organisation; rain forest conservation in West Africa; politics of institutions and citizenships in transnational environment debates.
  • Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Zambia, Morocco
Professor AbdouMaliq Simone

Professor of Sociology, Goldsmiths College, a.simone@gold.ac.uk

Urbanism, critical geography, sociologies of religion, social organizations, development processes, African politics, popular urban cultures

Professor Paul Spencer

Emeritus Professor of African Anthropology, SOAS

  • Age organisation in East Africa; Maa-speaking peoples (Samburu, Maasai, Chamus, Dorobo) and the Rendille; maturation and ageing; dance and society; drought and pastoral development.
  • East Africa, Kenya
Dr Harry West

Lecturer in Social Anthropology, SOAS, hw16@soas.ac.uk

  • Sorcery, healing, "traditional authority", anthropology of violence, neo-liberalism
  • Mozambique