SOAS University of London

Centre of African Studies

Anthropology and Sociology


Dr Rita Astuti

Reader in Anthropology, LSE,

  • 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
Professor Paul Basu

Professor of Anthropology, SOAS,

  • Memory, cultural heritage, history, landscape, museums, history of anthropology, culture and development
  • Sierra Leone, Nigeria
Professor Philip Burnham

Professor of Anthropology, UCL,

  • 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,

  • 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,

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

Lecturer in Anthropology, SOAS,

  • 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,
  • 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,

  • 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,

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

Lecturer in Anthropology, SOAS,

  • Agricultural production, livelihoods and indebtedness among farmers, and the impact of these upon foodways and nutrition in South Africa
  • Methodological and theoretical linkages between the study of agriculture, food consumption and human health
Professor Deborah James

Professor in Anthropology, LSE,

  • Indebtedness and aspiration in South Africa; popular economies and citizen expectations
  • Intersection between state/non-state planners and local communities, manifest both in policies about reproductive health/HIV-AIDS and in programmes of land reform
  • Early research focused on ethnicity, migration and musical performance
  • South and Southern Africa
Dr Marloes Janson

Lecturer in Anthropology, SOAS, 

  • 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,

  • 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,

  • 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 Henrietta Moore

Professor of Anthropology, LSE,

  • 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 Sara Randall

Senior Lecturer, Department of Anthropology, UCL,

  • 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,

  • Human ecology, ecological change, agriculture, environment, rain forest conservation; Mende of Sierra Leone.
  • West Africa, Nigeria, Sierra Leone
Dr Barrie Sharpe

Lecturer in Anthropology, UCL,

  • 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,

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

Dr Harry West

Lecturer in Social Anthropology, SOAS,

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