Book launch: Development, (dual) citizenship and its discontents in Africa | Development Studies Seminar Series

Key information

5:00 pm
SOAS BGLT & online
Brunei Gallery Lecture Theatre (BGLT)

About this event

Does dual citizenship reproduce inequalities? Robtel Neajai Pailey grapples with this question and more in her award-winning monograph Development, (Dual) Citizenship and Its Discontents in Africa: The Political Economy of Belonging to Liberia (Cambridge University Press, 2021). 

Hers is the first book to evaluate domestic and diasporic constructions and practices of Liberian citizenship across space and time and their myriad implications for development. In this presentation drawing on rich life histories from over 200 hundred in-depth interviews in West Africa, Europe, and North America, Pailey uses a contested dual citizenship bill, introduced in Liberia in 2008 but never passed, as an entry point to ask broader questions about how citizenship is differentiated by class, gender, race, ethnicity, etc. 

She develops a new model for conceptualising citizenship while offering a compelling critique of the neoliberal framing of diasporas and donors as the panacea to post-war reconstruction. 

This event is part of the weekly SOAS Development Studies and Development for Transformation Centre (DevTraC) Seminar Series.

About the speaker

Robtel Neajai Pailey is Assistant Professor in International Social and Public Policy at The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). A Liberian scholar-activist working at the intersection of Critical Development Studies, Critical African Studies and Critical Race Studies, she centres her research on how structural transformation is conceived and contested by local, national and transnational actors from ‘crisis’-affected regions of the so-called ‘Global South’. 

Pailey’s current book project, Africa’s ‘Negro’ Republics, examines how slavery, colonialism and neoliberalism in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, respectively, have shaped the adoption and maintenance of clauses barring non-blacks from obtaining citizenship in Liberia and Sierra Leone. She completed BA degrees in African Studies and English Literature at Howard University, an MSc in African Studies at the University of Oxford and a doctorate in Development Studies at SOAS, University of London, as a Mo Ibrahim Foundation PhD Scholar. 

Chair: Naomi Hossain, Professor of of Development Studies