SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

Professor Stephen Chan, OBE

BA, MA (Auckland); MA (London); PhD (Kent)
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Expertise
  • Publications


Stephen Chan
Department of Politics and International Studies

Admissions Tutor: MSc International Politics

Centre for Global Media and Communications

Associate Member, Centre for Media and Film Studies

Centre of African Studies

Management Committee Member

Professor Stephen Chan, OBE
Email address:
+44 (0)20 7898 4655
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
Academic Support Hours:
Tuesdays 3:00pm to 5:00pm


Stephen was an international civil servant involved with several key diplomatic initiatives in Africa, helping to pioneer modern electoral observation, and continues to be seconded to diplomatic assignments today. He has twice been Dean at SOAS and has published 35 books and supervised 40 successful PhD theses. He won the 2010 International Studies Association prize, Eminent Scholar in Global Development and broadcasts and lectures internationally.

Professor Chan will be available for academic support consultations on Tuesday afternoons by email appointment made ahead of time, followed by meetings on a designated platform.


Programmes Convened
Modules Taught
PhD Students supervised
  • Arkmore Kori, Parliamentary Committees and Good Governance in Africa: A Comparative Study of Kenya and Zimbabwe
  • Hang Zhou, Bring African Bureaucracies back in: Negotiations and Implementation of Chinese Development Engagement in Uganda
  • Hangwei Li, Media Politics in a Globalised World: Chinese Media in Africa
  • Nick Branson, Extraversion strategies and aid negotiations: How African hybrid regimes manage donor demands


International politics of Southern Africa. Multicultural composition of ethics


For help in contacting SOAS academics and advice on services to business and the community, please contact SOAS Enterprise on +44(0)20 7898 4837 or email
For all press and media enquiries please call +44 (0)20 7898 4135 or email

Available for
  • TV
  • Radio
  • Press
  • Briefings
  • Special Study Programmes
  • Short Term Consultancy
  • Long Term Consultancy
Regional Expertise
  • Africa
Country Expertise


Authored Books

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

Chan, Stephen (2017) Plural International Relations in a Divided World. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Chan, Stephen (2017) Meditations on diplomacy : comparative cases in diplomatic practice and foreign policy. Bristol: E-International Relations.

Chan, Stephen (2009) The End of Certainty : towards a new internationalism. London; New York: Zed Books.

Chan, Stephen (2009) The End of Certainty: Towards a New Internationalism. London: ZED Books Ltd.

Chan, Stephen (2007) Grasping Africa: A Tale of Achievement and Tragedy. London: I.B. Tauris.

Chan, Stephen (2005) Out of Evil: New International Politics and Old Doctrines of War. London: I.B.Tauris; Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Chan, Stephen (2005) Fuori dal Male: Nuove politiche internazionali e vecchie doctrine di Guerra. Turin: Einaudi.

Chan, Stephen (2005) Citizen of Africa: Conversations with Morgan Tsvangirai. Avondale: Harare.

Chan, Stephen (2003) Robert Mugabe: A Life of Power and Violence. Ann Arbo: University of Michigan Press / I.B. Tauris.

Chan, Stephen (2002) Composing Africa: Civil Society and its Discontents. Tampere, Finland: Tampere Peace Research Institute.


Chan, Stephen (2019) 'Free and Fair? : Observation of Selected African Elections'. Journal of African Elections, (18) 1, pp 1-22.

Chan, Stephen (2018) 'The Problematic Non-Western Cosmopolitanism in Africa Today: Grappling With a Modernity outside History'. Human Affairs: Postdisciplinary Humanities and Social Sciences Quarterly, (28) 4, pp 351-366.

Chan, Stephen (2018) 'No More “Local” Insurrection or Terrorism: The Dark Side of the Cobweb'. Global Society, (32) 2, pp 149-161.

Chan, Stephen (2015) 'Decline and decay: a sobering trip through southern Africa'. The Conversation.

Chan, Stephen (2015) 'South Sudan’s spiritual father would weep at the state of his country'. The Conversation.

Chan, Stephen (2015) 'The Life of Chan Wong Wah Yue: Swordswoman, Militia Member and Grandmother [Interview]'. Kung Fu Tea.

Chan, Stephen (2015) 'African democracy looks very different when viewed from Palestine'. The Conversation.

Chan, Stephen (2015) 'China is Neither a Civilizational State nor a Meritocracy'. International Policy Digest.

Chan, Stephen (2015) 'A new government in Nigeria – but is it a model for other African nations?'. The Conversation.

Chan, Stephen (2015) 'Europe must stop shifting the blame for the migrant crisis'. The Conversation.

Chan, Stephen (2015) 'Buhari wins as Nigeria turns its back on Jonathan'. The Conversation.

Chan, Stephen (2015) 'Nigerians defy violence and bad technology in chaotic election'. The Conversation.

Chan, Stephen (2015) 'Africa: Still the Dark Continent Beyond the Pale'. The Africa Report, (66) Dec-Jan.

Chan, Stephen (2015) 'Nigeria’s election delay shows depths to which Goodluck Jonathan will sink'. The Conversation.

Chan, Stephen (2015) 'A Ceremonial Ride into the Sunset for Mugabe?'. E-International Relations.

Chan, Stephen (2015) 'After a stormy election, dark clouds still loom over Zambia'. The Conversation.

Chan, Stephen (2015) 'Exploding enclosures in Africa and Europe (on Charlie Hebdo and Boko Haram)'. African Arguments.

Chan, Stephen (2015) 'Kissinger and the Westphalian State: Still Faithful After All These Years'. Millennium: Journal of International Studies, (44) 1, pp 147-154.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'Political carnage in Zimbabwe as Grace Mugabe enters the fray'. The Conversation.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'Songs of love, songs of hate and songs of Ebola'. The Conversation.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'Can there be mercy without the merciful? A meditation on Martha Nussbaum’s questions'. Third World Quarterly, (35) 9.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'Guy Scott’s whiteness is not the issue in Zambia'. The Conversation.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'Decades of corrupt government have left states prey to Ebola'. The Conversation.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'Zimbabwe Opposition Poses Little Threat to Mugabe [Interview]'. World Politics Review [Online].

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'In a world of youthful leaders, Africa’s ageing premiers cling on'. The Conversation.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'African and Chinese Relations: A Future View'. The Orient: the official newsletter of Chinese for Labour, (14) September.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'Just another BRIC in the wall for Obama at US-Africa summit?'. The Conversation.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'The Hamas government in Gaza has always been a tragic mess'. The Conversation.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'African football will only improve once African nations do'. The Conversation.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'Israel’s stated aims in Gaza make no sense – and cannot secure a just future'. The Conversation.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'A South African victory without a silver bullet'. The Africa Report, (2014) June.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'Beatings, embarrassments and bad luck bedevil African leaders'. The Conversation.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'Leaving History Behind in South Africa'. The New York Times.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'Longevity and bling in the court of King Mugabe'. The Conversation.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'While Mugabe cleans house, Zuma repeats old mistakes'. The Conversation.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'Stepping stones, quagmires and capacity'. The Africa Report, (2014) April.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'Untruthful Mandarins and Mandarins of Truth'. Focus: The Journal of the Helen Suzman Foundation, (72) April, pp 56-63.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'African Union Falls Behind the Times as Regional Conflicts Rage'. The Conversation.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'ANC’s landslide victory won’t shield it from forces of change'. The Conversation.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'The Limits of Guilt and Correctness: The Postcolonial Metropole and Postcolonial Literature'. European Review of International Studies, (1) 3, pp 123-131.

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'A New Game for Zimbabwe’, in with summary, ‘A Slow Fade in Zimbabwe’'. Prospect.

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'Zimbabwe’s unholy alliance'. New Statesman, (20 Aug).

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'What is this thing called the decline of the west?'. E-International Relations, (18 Aug).

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'The Tragedy of Tsvangirai'. Prospect, (149).

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'Dispatches from Zimbabwe'. Prospect, (148).

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'After the Order to Civilization: Weightless International Relations and the Burden of Unreduced Responsibility'. Interventions, (10) 2, pp 236-248.

Chan, Stephen and Cao, Qing (2008) 'After the Civilisation Orders: International Cultural Relations in the Third World Perspective'. World Economics and Politics, (7).

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'A Little Assassination Down South'. Nth Position Online Magazine, (July 2).

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'A Little Scene in Zagreb (novella)'. Nth Position Online Magazine, (June).

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'The big steal in Zimbabwe'. Nth Position Online Magazine, (May 20).

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'Challenging lessons (comment for 1968: liberty or its illusion? 4)'. Prospect, (146).

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'Mugabe’s last stand'. New Zealand Listener, (213) 3546.

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'Review of Ian Taylor, 'China and Africa: Engagement and Compromise''. African Affairs, (107) 427, pp 284-285.

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'Zimbabwe’s tense countdown'. New Statesman, (02 Apr).

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'Exit Mugabe'. Prospect, (145).

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'Mbeki’s failure over Zimbabwe'. New Statesman, (23 Apr).

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'Encountering the Philosophy of Hans-Georg Gadamer'. Contemporary Review, (290).

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'Taking on the Lion King'. New Statesman 11 Feb.

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'Darfur and the Olympics'. New Statesman, (18 Feb).

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'Profile: Robert Mugabe – President of Zimbabwe'. The Africa Report 9.

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'Throwdown in Polokwane'. Prospect, (142).

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'African Soldiers: seven types of ethical emotion'. New Zealand International Review, (33) 4.

Chan, Stephen (2007) 'The South African Storm Season and Zimbabwe'. Nth Position Online Magazine, (Decemb).

Chan, Stephen (2007) 'Breakthrough in Kariba'. Prospect, (140).

Chan, Stephen (2007) 'Monkey’s Biographer writes from Beijing'. Nth Position Online Magazine, (Octobe).

Chan, Stephen (2007) 'Fanon. The Octogenarian of International Revenge and the Suicide Bomber of Today'. Cooperation and Conflict: Journal of the Nordic International Studies Association, (42) 2, pp 151-168.

Chan, Stephen (2007) 'Palestine Film Festival'. The Middle East In London, (4) 1.

Chan, Stephen (2007) 'Nietzsche in Harare'. Prospect, (134).

Chan, Stephen (2007) 'A new, humble Zimbabwe'. Mail & Guardian Online, (19 Apr).

Chan, Stephen (2007) 'Back to the Future – a new Zimbabwe'. Mail & Guardian Online, (12 Apr).

Chan, Stephen (2007) 'Farewell Robert Mugabe'. openDemocracy, (20 Mar).

Chan, Stephen (2007) 'The Negotiator’s Letter from Beijing'. Nth Position Online Magazine, (Novemb).

Chan, Stephen (2007) 'Letters from Washington'. Nth Position Online Magazine, (Novemb).

Chan, Stephen (2007) 'A Day in Iranian Diplomacy'. New Zealand International Review, (32) 2.

Chan, Stephen (2006) 'Scramble for China'. Prospect, (126).

Chan, Stephen and Patel, Hasu (2006) 'Zimbabwe's foreign policy: A conversation'. The Round Table, (95) 384, pp 175-190.

Chan, Stephen (2006) 'Mugabe’s Last Gasp'. Prospect, (123).

Chan, Stephen and Primorac, Ranka (2006) 'Introduction: Zimbabwe and the space of silence'. The Round Table, (95) 384, pp 171-173.

Chan, Stephen (2005) 'Endgame or Gambit in Zimbabwe'. Contemporary Review, (287) 1674.

Chan, Stephen (2005) 'Zimbabwe's the Old Fox Eludes the Hunt'. The World Today, (61) 4.

Chan, Stephen (2005) 'An Ornithology of Secretaries-General: The Commonwealth and its Leadership'. The Round Table 380, pp 325-337.

Chan, Stephen (2005) 'The Memory of Violence: trauma in the writings of Alexander Kanengoni and Yvonne Vera and the idea of unreconciled citizenship in Zimbabwe'. Third World Quarterly, (26) 2, pp 369-382.

Chan, Stephen (2004) 'Evil and its Discontents: a 21st Century Bestiary'. Nth Position Online Magazine.

Chan, Stephen (2004) 'Abuja and After: The Case for Change in the Commonwealth Secretariat'. The Round Table, (93) 374, pp 239-245.

Chan, Stephen and Primorac, Ranka (2004) 'The Imagination of Land and the Reality of Seizure: Zimbabwe and Complex Reinvention'. Journal of International Affairs, (57) 2, pp 63-80.

Chan, Stephen (2003) 'A Problem for IR: How Shall We Narrate the Saga of the Bestial Man?'. Global Society, (17) 4, pp 385-413.

Chan, Stephen (2003) 'Zambia: scaling back the rot'. New Zealand International Review, (28) 2.

Chan, Stephen (2003) 'A New Triptych for International Relations in the 21st Century: Beyond Waltz And Beyond Lacan's Antigone, with a Note on the Falun Gong Of China'. Global Society, (17) 2, pp 187-208.

Chan, Stephen (2003) 'Zimbabwe: Land and Starvation'. The World Today, (59) 3.

Chan, Stephen (2003) 'Mugabe: Right and Wrong'. African Affairs, (102) 407, pp 343-347.

Chan, Stephen (2003) 'The Performativity of Death: Yukio Mishima and a Fusion for International Relations'. Borderlands, (2) 2.

Edited Books or Journals

Chan, Stephen and Moore, Cerwyn, (eds.), (2009) Approaches to International Relations. Four-Volume set. London: Sage Publications Ltd. (SAGE Library of International Relations).

Chan, Stephen and Arnswald, Ulrich and Bauer, Peter, (eds.), (2008) Hermeneutics & Politics: The Philosophy of Hans-Georg Gadamer in International Relations. Karlsruhe: karlsruhe University Press.

Chan, Stephen and Primorac, Ranka, (eds.), (2007) Zimbabwe in Crisis: The International Response and the Space of Silence. London: Routledge.

Chan, Stephen and Moore, Cerwyn, (eds.), (2006) Theories of International Relations. Vol.1-4. London: Sage.

Chan, Stephen and Mandaville, Peter, (eds.), (2001) The Zen of International Relations. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Book Chapters

Chan, Stephen (2015) 'The Armour of Hector: From the Mediation of Violence to its Masquerade'. In: Sylvester, Christine, (ed.), Masquerades of War. Abingdon; New York: Routledge, pp 13-20.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'Trauma and Dislocation in the Postsecular World: Religious Fervor and the Problem of Methodology'. In: Mavelli, Luca and Petito, Fabio, (eds.), Towards a Postsecular International Politics: New Forms of Community, Identity, and Power. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp 49-64.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'Trauma and Dislocation in the Postsecular World: Religious Fervour and the Problem of Methodology'. In: Mavelli, Luca and Petito, Fabio, (eds.), Towards a Postsecular International Politics: New Forms of Community, Identity and Power. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp 49-64.

Chan, Stephen (2011) 'The Oriental Martial Arts as Hybrid Totems, together with Orientalised Avatars'. In: Farrer, D. S. and Whalen-Bridge, John, (eds.), Martial Arts as Embodied Knowledge: Asian Traditions in a Transnational World. Albany: State University of New York.

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'Ten Caveats and One Sunrise in Our Contemplation of China and Africa'. In: Alden, Chris and Large, Daniel and Oliveira, Ricardo Soares de, (eds.), China Returns to Africa: A Rising Power and Continent Embrace. London: Hurst.

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'Naiveties and Africa: The case of Sudan'. In: Moorcraft, Paul, (ed.), Symposium on Chinese-Sudanese Relations. London: Centre for Foreign Policy Analysis.

Chan, Stephen (2007) 'Canaan Banana'. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Chan, Stephen (2007) 'Robert Gabriel Mugabe'. In: Darity, William A., (ed.), International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. Farmington Hills, MI: Macmillan Reference USA.

Chan, Stephen (2007) 'The SOAS of the Turbulent World'. In: Clay, Catrine, (ed.), SOAS: A Celebration in Many Voices. London: Third Millennium.

Chan, Stephen (2007) 'Back to the Future'. In: Moyo, Gugulethu and Ashurst, Mark, (eds.), The Day After Mugabe: Prospects for Change in Zimbabwe. London: Africa Research Institute.

Chan, Stephen (2003) 'Reliving the Boxer Uprising; or, the Restricted Meaning of Civilisation'. In: Mandaville, Peter and Williams, Andrew J., (eds.), Meaning and International Relations. London: Routledge.

Chan, Stephen (2001) 'Stories of Priam and Job, the Slaughter of Their Families, and Twenty Theses on the Suggestiveness of Good for the Person of IR'. In: Chan, Stephen and Mandaville, Peter and Bleiker, R., (eds.), The Zen of International Relations. IR Theory from East to West.. New York: Palgrave, pp 99-126.

Book Reviews

Chan, Stephen (2015) 'Review of ‘The Looting Machine’, by Tom Burgis'. Financial Times, 7-8 March 2015.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'Zambia and Zimbabwe: Two Histories of Two Very Different Sorts'. The Round Table, (103) 6, pp 616-619.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'Review of: Isaac and Isaiah: The Covert Punishment of a Cold War Heretic'. Focus, (73), pp 62-63.

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'Review of Vivienne Jabri, 'War and the transformation of global politics''. International Affairs, (84) 5, pp 1052.

Chan, Stephen (2007) 'Review of Reinhard Sander and Bernth Lindfors (eds), 'Ngugi wa Thiongo Speaks''. African Research and Documentation 102.

Chan, Stephen (2007) 'Review of Xolela Mangcu (ed) 'The Meaning of Mandela: A Literary and Intellectual Celebration''. African Research and Documentation 103.

Chan, Stephen (2005) 'Review of David Harold-Barry (ed), 'Zimbabwe: The Past is the Future''. British Zimbabwe Society Newsletter.

Chan, Stephen (2005) 'Review of Thandika Mkandawire (ed), 'African Intellectuals: Rethinking Politics, Language, Gender and Development''. African Research and Documentation 99.

Chan, Stephen (2004) 'Review of Peter Wilson, 'The International Thought of Leonard Woolf''. The Round Table, (93) 377.

Chan, Stephen (2003) 'Review of Edwin G. Pulleyblank, 'Central Asia and Non-Chinese Peoples of Ancient China''. Central Eurasian Studies Review, (2) 1, pp 18-19.


Chan, Stephen (2015) 'Kiwi-Asian poetry [Interview]' Jacket 2.

Chan, Stephen (2015) 'Chenjerai Hove [Obituary]' The Guardian.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'Michael Sata [Obituary]' The Guardian.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'South Africa: Modelling the future ANC' The Africa Report.

Chan, Stephen (2014) 'Foreword'.

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'Levy Mwanawasa (obituary)'.

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'Contribution to 'The Cultural Year 2007''.

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'The Prodigal Returns: A Sino-European Africanist Contemplates New Zealand (memoir)'.

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'The Travelling Travails of Gordon Brown'.

Chan, Stephen (2008) 'Croatia has moved on from its fascist past'.

Chan, Stephen (2007) 'In Search of British Values'.

Chan, Stephen (2007) 'Go Hang! But is the Dictator Himself Hamstrung?'.

Chan, Stephen (2007) 'Foreword to Michael John Kidd 'Beyond the Breakwater''.

Chan, Stephen (2007) 'Zimbabwe watcher set for Mugabe’s end'.

Chan, Stephen (2007) 'O Zimbabwe'.

Chan, Stephen (2007) 'Bloomsbury i bombe'.

Chan, Stephen (2007) 'The Big Question'.

Chan, Stephen (2006) 'Letters to newspapers On the persecution of the Bahai in Iran'.

Chan, Stephen and Primorac, Ranka (2006) 'African Art in Paris'.

Chan, Stephen (2006) 'Against the renewal of Trident'.

Chan, Stephen (2006) 'A new Colonialism? Theory and Substance and Cold War Thinking (interview)'.

Chan, Stephen (2005) 'A Commonwealth of the Margins'.

Primorac, Ranka and Chan, Stephen (2005) 'Angus Shaw'.

Chan, Stephen (2005) 'Zimbabwe’s elections: An Objective Account'.

Chan, Stephen (2005) 'Will the sun set on the Commonwealth (Interview)'.

Chan, Stephen and Primorac, Ranka (2005) 'Yvonne Vera: Writer and Critic of the Mugabe Regime (obituary)'.

Chan, Stephen (2005) 'What does Europe Want to Do with Africa?'.

Chan, Stephen (2005) 'Letter from London: Africa and the Bombs'.

Chan, Stephen (2005) 'Bloomsbury and the Bombs'.

Chan, Stephen (2005) 'Iran and Nuclear Apartheid'.

Chan, Stephen (2005) 'There’s too much short-term thinking in Africa (Interview)'.


This list was last generated on Sunday, 2nd October 2022, 07:01 Europe/London.