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Centre of African Studies: Research


Grants and Projects

Accountability through Practical Norms: Civil Service Reform in Africa from Below

This project is a two-year project (2016-2017) led by Gerhard Anders. It explores ways to improve service delivery and levels of integrity by drawing on empirical evidence on practical informal norms in key government departments (health and education) in Sierra Leone, Senegal, Togo, Niger, Tanzania and Malawi. It is the first comparative, cross-country study employing anthropological and socio-legal methods at a large scale to generate systematic empirical evidence on practical norms covering francophone and Anglophone countries in two regions, West and East Africa.

African Borderlands Research Network (ABORNE)

ABORNE is an interdisciplinary network of researchers interested in all aspects of borders and trans-boundary phenomena in Africa. Its inaugural meeting was held in Edinburgh in 2007, initiated by Professor Paul Nugent and has since grown to over 200 members.

African Governance and Space (AFRIGOS)

AFRIGOS is a five-year project examining transport corridors, border towns and port cities in four regions of Africa. It is led by Professor Paul Nugent, with Drs Wolfgang Zeller and Jose-Maria Munoz, comparing the busiest transport corridors in east, central, west and southern Africa.

Boundaries and state-making in the Trans-Volta and Senegambia

Professor Paul Nugent is working on his next monograph, which examines boundaries and state-making in West Africa from the mid-18th century to the present. The book deals with colonial state creation and ideas of community, comparing the Trans-Volta and Senegambia regions.

Future Pasts

Dr Rick Rohde is collaborating on 'Future Pasts', which seeks to understand how people in western Namibia draw on a range of resources in preparation for their futures. It examines the built environment, local uranium mining, tourism and ecology. Dr Rohde's focus is on documenting ecological change over the last century.

Humanitarian Journalism Project

This AHRC project is an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional collaboration that aims to map the global field of humanitarian journalism. Together with Mel Bunce at City University and Martin Scott at UEA, Kate Wright draws on newsroom ethnography, semi-structured interviews and content analysis in order to examine some of the world's biggest news organizations.

Innovation & Inclusive Industrialisation in Agro-Processing

Innovation and Inclusion Industrialisation in Agro-Processing is a two-year collaboration between researchers from the University of Edinburgh, the University of Johannesburg, and the Economic and Social Research Foundation, Tanzania.

Investigating Networks of Zoonosis Innovation (INZI)

INZI is a five-year project, which explores how African trypanosomiasis (known as sleeping sickness) has been researched, controlled and treated. The team is led by Professor James Smith, and focuses on trypanosomiasis as a neglected tropical disease, despite its significant impact on human and animal health across Africa.

Political settlements

This extensive north-south collaboration, led by Edinburgh's Global Justice Academy, aims to understand formal peace processes. As the majority of countries experiencing extreme poverty have undergone peace settlements, it is crucial to improve the stability and inclusion of such. Dr Zoe Marks leads three projects under the 'Conflict' and 'Gender' streams.

Poverty and Conflict

'Poverty and Conflict'is a three-year project, which aims to compare individual combatants' experiences and exercise of power during and after conflict. It is led by Professor Paul Nugent and Dr Zoe Marks, focusing on Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Realising Justice? Land Reform in Southern Africa

This project consists of a series of workshops, addressing the critical issues of land rights and reform in southern Africa. It is a collaboration between the Universities of Edinburgh, Botswana, Malawi and Zimbabwe, examining the impact of land tenure systems and the effects of land reform on livelihoods.

Security at the Margins (SeaM)

SeaM is a three-year collaboration between CAS and the University of the Witwatersand, which explores the strategies individuals use to negotiate marginality in urban South Africa. At a time of increased homophobic and xenophobic attacks, the project aims to identify various forms of marginality and their counteraction, further understanding of the drivers of security.

Sexuality, Politics And Religion In Africa

The SPRA project examines how public discourses around sexuality and homosexuality are shaped in Uganda. It analyses the influence of religious leaders and ideas in framing national policy and political elite action.

Social Media and Security in Africa

'SMS Africa' is a three-year project, providing a timely understanding of the role social media in driving (in)security in Africa. It is led by Drs Thomas Molony and Maggie Dwyer, with partners in Kenya, Tanzania and Sierra Leone. Social media present new challenges and opportunities for those charged with community safety, as well as risks of violence and instability for the poor.

The South African Wine Industry

Professor Paul Nugent is writing a history of the South African wine industry in the twentieth century, focusing on the ways in which consumption patterns and innovation were inflected by the politics of race and temperance. It draws on archival research to examine the role of racialised discourses and practices in shaping consumption.

Transboundary resource management

This project contributes to understandings of socio-economic, environmental and political spaces of borderland livelihoods among communities that depend on resource extraction along the Zimbabwe-Mozambique border.