Members of the Centre of African Studies.

Management committee



Centre of African Studies Research Associates

Research Associates of CAS are long-term collaborators in the Centre activities, pursuing common programmes of research or other activities with Centre Members. They are granted certain staff privileges at SOAS which are recognised at other London universities. Research associateship is granted for two years in the first instance. If the visitor already has an affiliation at another UK HEI, they can use the Library without charge on presentation of credentials from their home institution. If not, the visitor can apply for Borrowing Membership at the SOAS Library at a cost of £100 per annum (reference only) or £150 per annum (with borrowing of up to 6 books for 1 month).  This is to be paid directly by the visitor at the library issue desk.

Dr Mustapha Adebayo Bello

Dr Mustapha Adebayo Bello is a Lecturer at the Department of Religions and Peace Studies, Lagos State University, Lagos, Nigeria.

He is currently working on a project entitled Permissiveness, syncretism and fundamentalism: dissecting the new face of religiosity in Lagos, Nigeria.

The focal point of Dr Bello's research work is the adaptability of Islam in its pristine principles to cultures of receiving peoples (converts and admirers) whose philosophy and orientation is clearly different; for example phenomenon such as Chrislam movements as well as the emerging visibility of female Spiritual Leadership in South West Nigeria.


Paul Asquith

Paul is Engagement & Policy Manager at the African Foundation for Development (AFFORD), a leading diaspora development organisation, where he leads on diaspora policy and engagement in the EU and Africa, and advises policy-makers on migration and development issues. His background is in research and international development in North Africa and Ethiopia, as well as managing public health services in the UK for vulnerable groups such as street sex-workers and drug addicts.  His research interests include diasporas, migration, and development; Islamic models of development; Islamic education and development in North Africa and the Horn; and culture and health.

Dr Augustus Casely-Hayford

Gus Casely-Hayford is a curator and art historian. He is the former Executive Director of Arts Strategy for Arts Council England. He was previously director of inIVA (Institute of International Visual Art), a London-based arts organization with a particular emphasis on international practice, which collaborates with partner venues throughout the UK and worldwide. Prior to this he was director of Africa 05, the largest African arts season ever hosted in Britain. He has worked for television and radio and was the presenter of the BBC 'Lost Kingdoms of Africa' series.

Dr Ini Dele-Adedeji

Dr Ini Dele-Adedeji received his doctorate degree in Political Science from the Politics department at the SOAS, University of London (SOAS). Ini’s research interests focus on the intersection of politics and religion in northern Nigeria and transitional justice. His doctoral thesis - titled ‘’The Mobilisation of the Boko Haram Sect’’ (an ethnographic study on the relative success of the Boko Haram sect in gaining the support of a section of the Muslim public in northern Nigeria) – was shortlisted for the Audrey Richards 2018 prize for the best doctoral thesis in African Studies. Ini was previously a Teaching Fellow in the departments of Politics and Development Studies at SOAS. He has previously lectured at SOAS, Wellesley College, the American International University, London, and the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP). Ini has also provided advisory services to/consulted for Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors without Borders (MSF), Oxford Analytica, the Swedish Ambassador to Ghana, Nigeria & ECOWAS, and the United States Department of Defence. His expert commentary on Nigerian current affairs can be heard or read on different media platforms including the BBC World Service, Al Jazeera, the UK Guardian, the Financial Times, and Africa is a Country.  Ini is spending the next couple of years preoccupied with the completion of a monograph on the Boko Haram sect and another on the decolonisation of the curriculum within UK academic spaces.

Elsbeth Joyce Court

Elsbeth Joyce Court, Subject Lecturer World Art, SOAS IFCELS

Elsbeth Court is a specialist in African art and art education, whose research and activities focus on the visual arts of eastern Africa and more widely concern modern and contemporary art.  Completed projects are the preparation of two catalogues for the SOAS Archives and Special Collection: the papers of Johanna Ag’the (2015) and the Hassan Musa Mail Art Collection (2019) that is the basis for the exhibition The Artist’s Stamp; Guest Editor of Critical Interventions Special Issue on Kenya (2017, 11:1) that includes her Chronology for the emergence of modern art and an essay on the career of Magdalene Odundo.

Other recent publications include a review of Yinka Shonibare’s Nelson’s Ship in A Bottle (African Arts. 2014, 47:2), an essay for Raimi Gbadamosi’s Cemetery (2015, Johannesburg: Fourthwall),  ‘Jak Katikarikawe’ in K. Fink & N Siegert eds. Lieblingssstücke #36 Objekte des Monats (2018, Bayreuth: Iwalewa Haus). Her current writing is on ’Kenya Art Worlds’ while an on-going task is the preparation of ‘Artists and Art Education in Africa’ for SOAS Research-online.

Her on-line bibliography ''Art and Art Education in East Africa_ A Working Bibliography.” Bibliography for Art Education in Kenya, East Africa. (msword; 1445kb) is to be revised later in the spring.

Steve Itugbu

Steve Itugbu holds a PhD in Politics and International Studies from SOAS, the University of London in 2012. He is a well-travelled journalist, academic and was a presidential aide to Nigeria’s former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Itugbu is the author of America’s War on Terror and until the end of 2014 a Teaching Fellow with the Politics Department and also at the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at SOAS, the University of London.
Steve Itugbu is presently involved in international consultancies through the World Service Briefings, London while at the same time working at publishing additional books. His research interest focuses on a myriad of contentious issues affecting Africa such as governance and leadership, foreign policy relations and analysis, civil wars and conflicts, peace processes and post-conflict integration, political violence, terrorism and counterinsurgencies. It is this multiplicity of issues that has consistently driven his commitment to a constant academic enquiry and debate.
He recently published the book 'Foreign Policy and Leadership in Nigeria: Obasanjo and the Challenge of African Diplomacy'(2017,  I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd.).

Murray Last, Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, UCL 

Professor Murray Last (Emeritus Professor of Anthropology, UCL). Professor Last's current research programme largely centres around publishing the various materials he and his various Nigerian colleagues have collected on health and social issues in contemporary Kano over the last decade. But the major task is to write up the ethnographic data he has collected over the last thirty years on one large compound of Maguzawa (non-Muslim Hausa) (they have subsequently converted to Islam) in southern Katsina. Meanwhile there is also a work of filial piety to do - putting M G Smith's 1000-page typescripts of Sokoto history onto disk and then into print (funding has been promised). But there are several other projects in mind, such as publishing obscure, short but key documents written in arabic in the 19th century jihadi history and contemporary northern Nigerian society. Professor Last expects to continue visiting northern Nigeria at least once a year. 

Dr Arkebe Oqubay

Arkebe Oqubay, PhD, is a Senior Minister and Special Adviser to the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and has been at the centre of policymaking for over twenty-five years. He is the former Mayor of Addis Ababa and winner of the Best African Mayor of 2006 award presented by ABN and was a finalist World Mayor Award 2006, for transforming the city. He currently serves as board chair of several leading public organizations and international advisory boards, and he is a recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, presented by the Emperor of Japan.

Dr Arkebe is a UNU-WIDER Honorary Research Fellow; ODI Distinguished Research Fellow at London-based think tank Overseas Development Institute; and a research associate at the Centre of African Studies in the University of London; and holds a PhD in development studies from SOAS, University of London.

His recent published works include: the path breaking Made in Africa (Oxford University Press, 2015); The Oxford Handbook of the Ethiopian Economy (Oxford University Press, 2019); How Nations Learn: Technological Learning, Industrial Policy, and Catch Up (Oxford University Press, 2019); China-Africa and an Economic Transformation (Oxford University Press, 2019); African Economic Development: Evidence, Theory, and Policy (Oxford University Press, 2020); The Oxford Handbook of Industrial Hubs and Economic Development (Oxford University, 2020); and The Oxford Handbook of Industrial Policy (Oxford University Press, 2020).

Dr Arkebe was recognized by the New African as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans of 2016 and a “leading thinker on Africa’s strategic development” for his work on industrialization and industrial policies, both theoretical and practical. His research focus includes structural transformation, technological learning and catch-up, industrial policy, sustainability and urban transformation, China-Africa ties, and public policy and leadership with a focus on emerging and developing countries and special interest on Africa.

Dr Jama Musse

Dr Jama Musse is currently working on the Somali Corpus which is based at the Hargeysa Cultural Centre, looking at the possibilities of literary research based on the corpus.  He is currently working with SOAS Senior Lecturer Dr Martin Orwin on the proceedings of the 13th International Congress of Somali Studies as well as working for Somali Week Festival and the Hargeysa International Bookfair. Dr Jama Musse holds a PhD degree form the University of Naples "L'Orientale". He has published academic papers on Somali linguistics and run a publishing housein Somaliland and Italy which produces both academic works and literature on Somali issues.

Dr Jacke Phillips

Jacke Phillips has been affiliated with the Department of HAA at SOAS since 2000, and since 2009 as a Research and Teaching Fellow where she has taught ‘African Art III: the art and archaeology of North Eastern Africa’ and the collaborative ‘Theory and Method in the Study of Asian and African Art’ and ‘Introduction to African Art and Archaeology’ courses.  She is also a Visiting Scholar at the McDonald Institute or Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge.  She has conducted extensive fieldwork in both Sudanese Nubia (Hambukol, Old Dongola, Hamadab, El-Kurru, Suakin and the Southern Dongola Reach) since 1985 and Ethiopia (Aksum, Shire, Lalibela region, Maryam Anza) since 1993, in addition to Bronze Age Greece. Her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto is in Egyptian Archaeology, but she has since broadened her research interests to encompass many of the surrounding civilisations. Her interests focus on cross-cultural interactions, influences and acculturations between civilisations over Northeast Africa, the East Mediterranean and beyond the Red Sea, especially comparative material technologies and typologies, and has published extensively on these and other topics.  She currently collaborates on Tania Tribe’s “Royal Encampments, Battlefields and Dynastic Churches: an overall multidisciplinary project assessing cultural encounters in the Highlands of Ethiopia (12th–15th centuries)” project, and continues to investigate and publish several excavation projects in both Ethiopia and Sudan.  During her CAS research associateship she will focus on case studies of cross-cultural interaction using her material from sites currently under excavation.

Dr Tania Tribe

Dr Tania Tribe has been a tenured staff member in the Department of HAA at SOAS for the last 25 years, where she has taught modules on African art and archaeology (especially NE Africa), the art and archaeology of the African diaspora in the Americas, the theory and philosophy of art, and cross-cultural approaches to conflict and representation. She has regularly conducted fieldwork in NE Africa and the Americas and have published in these fields. During the research associateship in CAS  she will continue developing two existing projects: A) “Royal Encampments, Battlefields and Dynastic Churches: an overall multidisciplinary project assessing cultural encounters in the Highlands of Ethiopia (12th–15th centuries)” and B) “The Black Atlantic: Archaeology, Visual Culture and African Identity in Colonial and Imperial Brazil: A Case Study from Pernambuco”. Dr Tania Tribe has also been running the Solomonic-Zagwe Encounter Project since 2009.

Dr Katie Tucker

Katie has over 15 years of experience working with human remains dating from the Mesolithic to the post-medieval period from a wide variety of sites in the UK, Germany, Jordan, Turkey, Ethiopia and Romania. She has held research posts at the University of Winchester and the German Archaeological Institute, as well as working for a number of commercial archaeology companies in the UK and Germany. She has authored or co-authored several books, book chapters and academic papers on such subjects as decapitation, peri- and ante-mortem trauma, skeletal evidence for leprosy, and the Search for Alfred the Great project. She has played an active part in the SolZag project since 2013. 

Dr Seraphin Kamdem

Dr Seraphin Kamdem holds a PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, U.K. He studied at the University of Yaoundé, Cameroon; University of East Anglia, Norwich, England; University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, USA; and SOAS, University of London, U.K. His doctoral thesis focused on African languages and education, investigating multilingual adult literacy in the rural areas of Cameroon, Africa. Dr Kamdem has taught various UG and PG courses and given lectures at the University of Yaoundé, Cameroon; the University of East London, England; the SOAS, University of London; and the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (INALCO) in Paris, France. At SOAS, he also worked with the Centre of African Studies (CAS) as Executive Officer and as the academic coordinator of the programme ‘Understanding Africa’.

He is currently the Convenor for the Language in Africa SIG of the British Association of Applied Linguistics (BAAL). His publications and research interests are in the areas of Sociolinguistics, African languages and cultures, Ghɔmálá’ language (Grassfields-Bantu), bilingualism and multilingualism, adult literacy, African language pedagogy, production of didactic materials, culture in Africa, education in Africa, Global Englishes, and media and political change in Africa. One of his recent publications investigates dialectal variation and the pedagogic challenges faced by minority languages in Africa, and is entitled ‘From dialectal variation to standardisation, production of literature, and pedagogical implications: Revisiting the case of Ghɔmálá’, a Grassfields‑Bantu language from Cameroon’ (in Forlot, G. & Ouvrard, N. (dirs.)  2020. Variation Linguistique et Enseignement des Langues; Le cas des langues moins enseignées. Paris : Presses de l’INALCO). pp.233-251. (Accessible here.)

Dr Kamdem is currently working as co-editor and contributor on two academic publications focusing on Africa: an edited collection entitled ‘African Languages in Public Spaces: Opportunities and Challenges’; and another book project entitled ‘Decolonisation and Language in Africa’ – a collection co-edited with Dr Mario Saraceni and Dr Colin Reilly. This is in line with his research in African languages and their place and importance in education in Africa, and as tools for a more critical understanding of the post-colonial challenges of African communities in the 21st century. Dr Kamdem is also investigating the intersecting dynamics of languages, cultures, education, and politics in Sub-Saharan Africa. Some of his publication projects nearing completion are a paper entitled ‘The Englishes of Cameroon’, which explores the evolution and sociolinguistic dynamics of varieties of Global Englishes in Cameroon; a paper on ‘Ethnicity, Political Parties, and the Dynamics of Power in Sierra Leone’, investigating power sharing between political parties and traditional rulers along the lines of ethnolinguistic belonging and identities and post-colonial partisan politics in Sierra Leone; and another paper (in collaboration with Dr Titus-Green) on ‘The Ijo masquerades of Nigeria: Between symbolic land ownership and a powerful secret society’. 

Ms Yvonne Chioma Mbanefo

Ms Yvonne Chioma Mbanefo is a Multidisciplinary IT professional and Cultural consultant  with a focus on Igbo, African and Black heritage. Her career sits at the intersection of digital media, cultural heritage and education, deploying technology as an active tool to educate people through storytelling. Yvonne has a deep interest in the relationship between everyday life, individual experiences, power structures, and cultural forms in different communities, as well as ways in which to use them to foster cultural intelligence across societies. She was formerly a lecturer at the University of Greenwich and is the author of the bestselling illustrated Igbo dictionary for children. Yvonne is also the founder of Learn Igbo Now, an online resource that creates Igbo language and culture learning resources.

She has gained a reputation as a cultural consultant in various projects like film, radio, theatre productions, book publishing and other heritage related programs. Yvonne is best known for her work in Igbo Studies and advocacy for African languages. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, United Kingdom and a Research Associate of the Re-entanglements project - A project which seeks to Re-engage with Colonial Archives in Decolonial Times.

Yvonne is currently working at Stelo Studios, a media company based in Israel that combines storytelling and technology to tell urgent stories that leave a mark. She is one of the founders of the Igbo Studies Initiative and one of the conveners of the annual international Igbo Conference.

Learn Igbo Now

Dr Louisa Uchum Egbunike

Dr Louisa Uchum Egbunike joined Durham University an Associate Professor in African Literature in September 2020. Prior to that, Louisa taught at SOAS, Goldsmiths, University of London, Manchester Metropolitan University and City University of London. She completed her PhD at SOAS on ‘The Igbo Experience in the Igbo-Nigerian Novel’. In 2016 she was selected as one of the BBC and the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s ‘New Generation Thinkers’ which has seen her create and present content for BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, BBC World Service and BBC Arts Online. Louisa serves on the council of the African Studies Association UK (ASAUK) as honorary treasurer and she is on the editorial board for The Journal of African Cultural Studies (JACS). Louisa has served on the steering committee for the African Studies Association’s (ASA) women’s caucus and is a member of the Lagos Studies Association’s women’s caucus. She has been an invited guest speaker to a number of institutions including Wellesley College, The University of Johannesburg, Sussex University, The National Theatre and the University of the West Indies, Trinidad. Her writing has been included in a range of publications including MatatuAfrican Literature TodayThe Times Literary Supplement and The Johannesburg Review of Books and in a number of edited collections including The Pan-African Pantheon (2020) and A Companion to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2017). Louisa has appeared on The Guardian newspaper’s podcast and featured in David Olusoga’s BBC 4 documentary on African literature, Africa Turns the Page. Louisa is the curator of touring art exhibition Legacies of Biafra and co-writer and producer of the documentary film In the Shadow of Biafra. She is one of the founders of the Igbo Studies Initiative and one of the conveners of the annual international Igbo Conference. 

Dr Marco Jowell

Dr Marco Jowell is a Principal Research Analyst at the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) with a background in research, analysis and policy; and is an expert on African security issues and the politics of East and Central Africa. He has previously worked for the FCO, DFID and the MoD and was part of the UN Group of Experts on DRC in 2011. He has worked for two African peacekeeping training centres - from 2007-9 he was seconded to the International Peace Support Training Centre (IPSTC) in Kenya by the British Peace Support Team, a British Army training team based in Nairobi; and from 2017-18 was strategic adviser to the Rwanda Peace Academy in Musanze, Rwanda. In 2019 he was seconded to the African Union (AU) by the British government to develop the AU PSO doctrine which has subsequently been adopted. Marco is also a fellow of the Rift Valley Institute (RVI) and was co-director of studies for the RVI Great Lakes course in 2019. He has also been director of a London based research organisation the Africa Research Group and was director of research for the Rwanda based Great Lakes Centre for Strategic Studies. He is the author of several articles on politics, security and civil-military relations in Africa including the book Peacekeeping in Africa: the failure of foreign military assistance.