SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

Professor Julia Gallagher

  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Publications


Julia Gallagher
Department of Politics and International Studies

Professor of African Politics

Centre of African Studies


Professor Julia Gallagher
Email address:
+44(0) 207 898 4753
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
Academic Support Hours:
Thursdays 3:00pm- 5:00pm see link in Bio


Julia Gallagher is a Professor in African Politics. Her research explores citizens’ conceptions of statehood and state-society relations, combining political, social, aesthetic and psychoanalytic theory with extensive fieldwork. She has written on UK-African relations, Images of Africa and Zimbabwean conceptions of the state in relation to the wider world.

Julia currently leads an ERC-funded project on architecture and statehood in Africa.

She is a Senior Research Fellow at the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study, University of Johannesburg, a member of the Editorial Board of African Affairs and a member of the Advisory Board of the John and Elnora Ferguson Centre for African Studies, University of Bradford. She is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Julia served as a specialist advisor on an Inquiry into UK-Africa relations for the House of Lords Committee on International Relations and Defence, 2019-20.

Previously Julia taught at Royal Holloway, University of London where she established the Global Politics and Development Centre. She has worked as a science teacher in Zimbabwe, as a political journalist and editor, and for the UK government and a number of NGOs. Julia has a PhD and MSc from SOAS and a BSc in Physics from the University of Manchester.

For Academic Support Hours use this link: MS Teams


Modules Taught
PhD Students supervised
  • Arkmore Kori, Parliamentary Committees and Good Governance in Africa: A Comparative Study of Kenya and Zimbabwe
  • Matthew Beck Gordon, ‘Making Somaliland: Sovereignty and the Social Covenant, 1991- 2019’
Current PhD students
  • Kuukuwa Manful
  • Innocent Batsani Ncube
  • Gabrielle Bayle (second supervisor)
  • Matthew Gordon (second supervisor)
  • Burton Joseph (second supervisor)
  • Arkmore Kori (second supervisor)
  • Bahumi Mogwe-Jansen
Completed PhD students
  • Lyn Johnstone
  • Langston Miriyoga
  • Simran Singh
  • Michael Murphy
  • Kuziwa Zigomo 
  • Moudwe Daga
  • Emmanuel Siaw Kwaku
  • Hangwei Li

Julia is keen to supervise students working on domestic and international politics of Sub-Saharan Africa. She is particularly interested in projects that explore non-elite and sociological approaches using a range of fieldwork-based methods.


Julia currently leads a five-year project, Understanding Statehood through Architecture: a comparative study of Africa’s state buildings (ASA). This project draws on fieldwork in countries across 12 countries to explore how African architecture manifests statehood, and how statehood is understood in the ways citizens use, view and engage with the buildings of the state. 

Find out more about Julia’s project:

'State aesthetics and state meanings: political architecture in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire’ African Affairs, 2021

‘State aesthetics and meanings of political architecture in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire’, Africa at LSE, 16 August 2021

‘Architecture and Politics in Africa’, ASA film, 22 February 2021

This project receives funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme (Grant Agreement No. 772070). For more details see the project website: www.


Authored Books

Gallagher, Julia (2017) Zimbabwe's International Relations: Fantasy, Reality and the Making of the State. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Chan, Stephen and Gallagher, Julia (2017) Why Mugabe Won: The 2013 elections in Zimbabwe and their aftermath. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gallagher, Julia (2011) Britain and Africa under Blair: in pursuit of the good state. Manchester: Manchester University Press.


Gallagher, Julia (2022) 'Making sense of the state: citizens and state buildings in South Africa'. Political Geography, (98) 102674.

Gallagher, Julia and Manful, Kuukuwa Oduguamba and Ncube, Innocent (2022) 'Invented modernisms: getting to grips with modernity in three African state buildings'. Curator: The Museum Journal. [Forthcoming]

Gallagher, Julia and Mulugeta, Daniel and Melake-Selam, Atnatewos and Tomkinson, Jo (2022) 'The histories buildings tell: aesthetic and popular readings of state meaning in Ethiopia'. Journal of Eastern African Studies, (16) 1, pp 2 -24.

Gallagher, Julia and Mpere, Dennis Larbi and Ndjoré, Yah Ariane Bernadette (2021) 'State Aesthetics and State Meanings: Political Architecture In Ghana And Côte D’ivoire'. African Affairs, (120) 480, pp 333-364.

Gallagher, Julia (2018) 'Misrecognition in the making of a state: Ghana’s international relations under Kwame Nkrumah'. Review of International Studies, (44) 5, pp 882-901.

Gallagher, Julia (2018) 'Zimbabwe’s consolidation as a gatekeeper state'. Third World Thematics: A TWQ Journal, (3) 3, pp 439-454.

Gallagher, Julia (2016) 'Interviews as catastrophic encounters: loss and loneliness in IR research'. International Studies Perspectives, (17) 4, pp 445-461.

Gallagher, Julia and Death, C. and Sabaratnam, Meera and Smith, K. (2016) 'Teaching Africa and international studies: Forum introduction'. Politics, (36) 4, pp 441-452.

Gallagher, Julia (2016) 'Creating a state: A Kleinian reading of recognition in Zimbabwe’s regional relationships'. European Journal of International Relations, (22) 2, pp 384-407.

Gallagher, Julia (2015) 'The battle for Zimbabwe in 2013: from polarisation to ambivalence'. Journal of Modern African Studies, (53) 1, pp 27-49.

Gallagher, Julia (2014) 'Chopping the world into bits: object relations theory and the good governance norm'. International Theory, (6) 2, pp 332-349.

Gallagher, Julia (2011) 'Ruthless player or development partner? Britain's ambiguous reaction to China in Africa'. Review of International Studies, (37) 5, pp 2293-2310.

Gallagher, Julia (2009) 'Can Melanie Klein help us understand morality in IR? Suggestions for a psychoanalytic interpretation of why and how states do good'. Millennium: Journal of International Studies, (38) 2, pp 295-316.

Gallagher, Julia (2009) 'Healing the scar: idealism, Africa and British policy under Blair'. African Affairs, (108) 432, pp 435-451.

Saez, Lawrence and Gallagher, Julia (2009) 'Authoritarianism and development in the Third World'. Brown Journal of World Affairs, (15) 2, pp 87-102.

Edited Books or Journals

Tomkinson, Jo and Mulugeta, Daniel and Gallagher, Julia, (eds.), (2022) Architecture and Politics in Africa: Making, living and imagining identities through buildings. Oxford: James Currey. (Studies in Urban Africa). [Forthcoming]

Gallagher, Julia, (ed.), (2017) Images of Africa: creation, negotiation and subversion. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Gallagher, Julia, (ed.), (2016) Teaching Africa and International Studies: Forum Introduction. Sage. (Politics: Vol. 36 No. 4).

Book Chapters

Batsani-Ncube, Innocent (2021) 'China’s ‘parliament building gift’ to Malawi: exploring its rationale, tensions and asymmetrical gains'. In: Tomkinson, Jo and Mulugeta, Daniel and Gallagher, Julia, (eds.), Architecture and Politics in Africa: Rethinking materiality. London: James Currey. [Forthcoming]

Gallagher, Julia (2021) 'State-house: reading statehood through metaphors of home'. In: Meuser, Philipp and Adil, Dalbai, (eds.), Sub-Saharan Africa: Architectural Guide. Berlin: DOM Publishers.

Gallagher, Julia (2020) 'The monster that hid under a desk? Zimbabwe and the West'. In: Tendi, Miles and McGregor, JoAnn and Alexander, Jocelyn, (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Zimbabwean Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gallagher, Julia (2017) 'Theorising image: a relational approach'. In: Gallagher, Julia, (ed.), Image and Africa; creation, negotiation, subversion. Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp 1-21.

Gallagher, Julia (2017) 'Civilising norms and Africa: reflections drawn from psychoanalysis'. In: Epstein, Charlotte, (ed.), Against International Norms: postcolonial perspectives. Abingdon; New York: Routledge, pp 57-73.

Gallagher, Julia (2014) 'Good state, bad state: loss and longing in postcolonial Zimbabwe'. In: Obadare, Ebenezer, (ed.), The Handbook of African Civil Society. New York: Springer Verlag.


Gallagher, Julia (2019) 'State-ments'.


Gallagher, Julia (2022) 'State aesthetics and state meanings: political architecture in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire'.

Gallagher, Julia (2021) 'Architecture and Politics in Africa'.

Opinion Pieces / Media / Blogs

Gallagher, Julia (2022) Making sense of the state: citizens and state buildings in South Africa.

Gallagher, Julia (2021) State aesthetics and meanings of political architecture in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire.

Gallagher, Julia and Gebrie, Daniel Mulugeta and Tomkinson, Jo and Melake-Selam, Atnatewos (2020) State-building in Ethiopia: tracing the state through architectural continuity and disruption.

Gallagher, Julia (2019) Building bureaucracies in West Africa.

Gallagher, Julia (2019) Properly African: properly a state.

Gallagher, Julia (2019) A timid Leviathan.

Gallagher, Julia (2019) Pop-up research in South Africa.

Gallagher, Julia (2017) Research interview approaches in International Relations Oxford University Press, 2017.

Gallagher, Julia (2016) Diana Mitchell, Zimbabwean activist and writer – obituary.

Gallagher, Julia (2011) Royaume-Uni/Zimbabwe : repenser les plaies de la colonisation?.

Gallagher, Julia (2011) The noble cause: New Labour's legacy on Africa.


Gallagher, Julia (2017) 'Research interview approaches in International Relations' OUP Blog.

Gallagher, Julia (2016) 'Diana Mitchell, Zimbabwean activist and writer – obituary' Guardian.

Gallagher, Julia (2013) 'Britain and Africa: time to put the politics back in' African Arguments.

Gallagher, Julia (2013) 'Zimbabwe’s electoral observers hold the line in Harare' African Arguments.

Gallagher, Julia (2011) 'Royaume-Uni/Zimbabwe: repenser les plaies de la colonisation?' Alternatives Internationales, 6.

Gallagher, Julia (2011) 'The Noble Cause: New Labour’s legacy on Africa' E-International Relations.

Gallagher, Julia (2009) 'Britain’s idealisation of Africa: is “doing good” good enough?' Development Viewpoint.


This list was last generated on Wednesday, 6th July 2022, 19:47 Europe/London.