21 January 2014
It is with great sadness that we have learned of the death of Professor Patrick Chabal. Internationally renowned as an academic working on African history and politics, Patrick had a long-standing relationship with the Centre of African Studies, including many years as a member of the Centre’s board.
Patrick started his academic career at Harvard University, where he studied for his first degree, before moving onto Columbia, where he gained his Masters in International Affairs. Moving to the UK, Patrick undertook his PhD at Cambridge University. He subsequently joined King’s College London, where he became Chair in African History and Politics. Patrick was a Visiting Professor in institutions in Italy, France, Switzerland, India and Portugal, as well as a member of the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.
Starting his academic career exploring Lusophone Africa, Patrick’s focus widened to take in the continent as a whole. His research on African history and politics was vast in scale, range, and ambition. His most recent book, The End of Conceit: Western Rationality after Postcolonialism (2012) moved beyond the borders of Africa, exploring social changes in and challenges to the dominance of the West following the end of the Cold War, and the ways in which the ‘non-West’ (Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, and diaspora from these regions living in Western countries) has shaped, and continues to shape, Western society. Such big-thinking was typical of his work, as were his efforts to show how African history and politics matters, not just for Africans, but for our understanding of global history and politics more widely.
Chair, Centre of African Studies