Department of Development Studies

Dr Althea-Maria Rivas

Key information

Department of Development Studies Senior Lecturer in Global Development, Peace & Conflict Research Cluster Member Member Centre of African Studies Member Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies Member Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies Member
BA (McGill), MPA (Concordia), PhD (Sussex)
Russell Square: College Buildings
Room 294
Email address
Telephone number
020 7898 4754
Support hours
By email appointment


I draw upon critical, feminist and decolonial theoretical frameworks and employ innovative grounded methodologies, such as photovoice, storying and narratives to explore debates in the field of conflict, security and development. Most of my research focuses on Afghanistan, Liberia and Somalia, however, I have worked more broadly in West and East Africa as well.
I moved to SOAS (2019) after holding posts at York University (Toronto) and the University of Sussex. After completing my PhD in Development Studies at Sussex University, which was supported by the Allan and Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust, I took up a Postdoctoral Fellowship with the Centre for Development Studies, Department of Social and Policy Studies, University of Bath.

In a nutshell, my research focuses on exploring the politics of development, conflict, humanitarian intervention and peace through the lens of the everyday. It goes beyond traditional state-centric investigations into development, peace and security and links the local to the global by interrogating everyday relationships, affect and identity.  A central theme in my current work is intersectionality, specifically the racialised and gendered nature of processes of aid, post-conflict reconstruction and social justice. The insights that have emerged from my research are the result extensive fieldwork areas in affected by conflict and international intervention. Consequently, I developed an academic interest in research ethics and methodologies. Some of which are explored in Fieldwork Interrupted:  Experiences with Violent Research and Researching Violence (2018).

Before starting my academic career, I worked for 12 years in the areas of diplomacy, post-conflict reconstruction, humanitarian assistance, gender and development and governance with various INGOs, and local and international organisations in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and the Middle East. Whenever possible I try to draw upon the practical insights gained during those years to enrich my research and teaching and to bring theory to life for my students.

Teaching and student engagement are very important to me. I regularly use critical and innovative pedagogies in class. My teaching philosophy is inspired by the work of authors such as hooks, Giroux and Freire. I am actively committed to addressing and countering cultures of exclusion, racism and inequality in higher education institutions and decolonizing the curriculum.

I am the Convener of the MSc Humanitarianism, Aid and Conflict and the MSc Humanitarian Action (Distance Learning). I am happy to speak to anyone who would like to know more about the MSc programmes or potential doctoral study across any area of my research interests.

Research interests

Humanitarian intervention, post-conflict reconstruction, the politics of global development, everyday violence in post-conflict settings, gender (in)security, violence and development, race, racism and development, peace and justice, emotion and conflict, the relationship between peace, forgiveness and justice, black and indigenous feminisms, feminist and decolonial theory and pedagogy, postcolonial conversations on resistance and development, research methods and ethics. Regional focus: Central Asia, West and East Africa.

Research clusters

PhD Supervision

Name Title
Hannah Abdullahi Vehivavy Miralenta (Empowered Women): Exploring Women's Political Lives in Madagascar
Jennifer Ayoade To what extent can UK aid INGOs, who operate in sub-Saharan Africa, be ‘decolonised’?
Abdoulie Kurang Tourism for Development: Rethinking Development, Social Protection and the Wellbeing of Precarious Workers in the Gambia’s Tourism Sector.
Pelumi Obisesan Women's Experiences with Transitional Justice Processes in the Lake Chad Basin: the Boko Haram Case


Contact Althea-Maria