SOAS University of London

Centre of African Studies

Centre of African Studies Events

The Centre's activities are diverse and many. The majority of its members are lecturers of the University of London, contributing to the teaching of undergraduate and Masters degrees and the supervision of Doctoral research within the humanities, social sciences and sciences. One of the most important functions of the Centre is to act as a forum for regional and interdisciplinary co-operation within the University of London which is predominantly organised through membership of disciplinary departments. Other activities of the Centre include representation on international and national committees for African scholarship, research and understanding; establishing and supporting funded schemes for Visiting Scholars from Africa; linking academe, government, and business through meetings, workshops and conferences promoting Africanist research and understanding, and through meetings of the Africa Business Group; raising the profile of its members for interdisciplinary research and consultancy, and much more.

In pursuit of its aims, the Centre maintains a broad range of institutional liaisons with other Africanist centres in Africa, the United Kingdom, Europe, the Commonwealth and the United States. It publishes its own briefing newsletter, African News, with a distribution of over 800 copies, three times a year. The Centre also keeps members informed of news, events and meetings on Africa throughout the year through the e-mail group mailing system run from the Centre office.

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  • 7th Annual International Igbo Conference 2018: Memory, Culture and Community: Remembering the past, Imagining the future
  • Ms. Chimamanda Adichie, Professor Osita Okagbue, Professor Paul Basu , Ms Ego Ahaiwe, Mr Nathan Richards, Ms. Kelly Foster, Mr Brian Ezeike, Ms. Vivian Ogbonna, Mr Emeka Ed Keazor, Ujuaku Akukwe-Nwakalor
  • This one-day international conference will provide a platform to discuss Igbo heritage studies and modes of documenting the past. The ‘Memory, Culture and Community’ conference seeks to promote the creation, management and use of records and archives, highlighting the need to preserve the archival heritage of people of Igbo descent around the world, through the sharing of experiences, research and ideas.

  • Book Discussion: Akiga Sai's History of the Tiv
  • Martin Akiga, Bankole Olayebi, Richard Fardon, Olly Owen
  • Akiga Sai witnessed first-hand the incursions of British colonial power into the Tiv-speaking area of Nigeria and began to write down the history, customs, memories and experiences of Tiv communities. He produced an extraordinary document: 380 pages of typescript in the Tiv language. Parts of this were translated and published by the International African Institute as Akiga’s Story in 1939. 

  • Human Rights in Egypt and Tunisia after the Arab Spring
  • Maha Azzam (Egyptian Revolutionary Council), Nicola Pratt (University of Warwick), Melek Saral (SOAS)
  • The panel will address issues of human rights in two major “Arab Spring” countries namely Egypt and Tunisia. The speakers of the panel will highlight the current political and civil rights situation in these countries, and give an insight into future perspectives.

  • Quranic Schools in Northern Nigeria
  • Hannah Hoechner
  • Hannah Hoechner will discuss her latest book 'Quranic Schools in Northern Nigeria - Everyday Experiences of Youth, Faith, and Poverty', published by the Internatioanl African Library


  • The Mind of Mandela
  • tbc
  • The South African High Commission, in collaboration with SOAS, in commemoration of the Nelson Mandela Centenary is hosting a Public Lecture entitled “The mind of Mandela”.

  • China and the West: Crossroads of Civilisation
  • Professor Peter Nolan
  • Only by looking deep into the past can one better understand the possible direction that the long-term evolution of world civilization might take. The relationship between China and the West will play a central role in the path that humanity follows in the decades and centuries ahead.

  • Artist's Talk: Alfredo Jaar
  • Alfredo Jaar
  • The New York-based Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar, whose work has consistently addressed urgent social and political questions, will talk about recent projects.