About the Lancaster African Studies Group

The African Studies Group brings together researchers and postgraduates from a range of departments at Lancaster University who have a shared interest in African Studies, broadly conceived. Members include academics and postgraduates from the departments of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, Linguistics and English Language, English Literature and Creative Writing, European Languages and Cultures, Law, History, LICA, Sociology, and the Lancaster Environment Centre (see below for the research interests of our current members). The group meets regularly during term time and organizes an annual workshop or conference.


Director: Charlotte Baker
Treasurer: Matthew Farmer
Events Coordinator: Vanessa Phiri
Publicity: Hannah Dennison

Selected events

  • ‘Africa: Cultural Translations’ conference, May 2010
  • ‘Challenging Stereotypes of Africa: The LUCAS Schools Africa Project’, Richard Borowski (Centre for African Studies, Leeds University), November 2010
  • ‘Researching and Writing Africa’ Postgraduate Study Day, May 2011
  • Research seminar: ‘The Caine Prize and Contemporary African Writing’, Lizzy Attree (Rhodes University and University of the Western Cape), November 2011
  • Research seminar: ‘Enhancing university-community relations for sustainable livelihoods in Wa, Ghana’, Godfred Seidu Jasaw and Nara Baslyd Begerr (University for Development Studies, Ghana), January 2013
  • Research seminar: ‘Local geographies of science in Malawi: from theory to practice’, Illaria Gallo (Lancaster Environment Centre), February 2013, Bowland North Seminar Room

African Studies MA

Lancaster’s Department of European Languages and Cultures offers an African Studies MA as part of its ‘MA Languages and Cultures’ programme. This programme is for graduates who are keen to develop their understanding of European, African or Latin American Studies. The programme is not available in 2012-13.


Members of African Studies

Dr Charlotte Baker, Department of European Languages and Cultures: I am interested in Anglophone and Francophone African literature from sub-Saharan Africa, the representation of marginality, and post-independence Guinean literature.

Hannah Dennison, PhD student, Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion: My research is centred on African perceptions of Africa’s evolving political and economic engagement with China and how these perceptions are created and maintained.

Matthew Farmer, PhD student, Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion: My research interests are broadly concerned with the international relations between ‘the West’ and ‘the developing world,’ particularly political, social and cultural international relations. My current research centres on understanding the relationships between development aid and sexual rights in sub-Saharan Africa.

Sammy Gakero Gachigua, PhD student, Department of Linguistics and English Language: My research interests, which focus on Kenya include: critical discourse analysis, argumentation theory, parliamentary, media and political discourses, political cartoons.

Alison Lloyd Williams, PhD student, Theatre Studies (LICA): My research centres on the uses of theatre/performance in education and development.

Dr Lindsey Moore, Dept. of English & Creative Writing: My research interests focus on North Africa (Egypt and the Maghreb) in the context of Arab literatures in English, French and translation. I also have wider reading/teaching interests in Sub-Saharan literatures.

Professor Graham Mort, Department of English and Creative Writing: My research interests focus on emergent creative writers in sub-Saharan Africa and the development of training and support systems for them.

Blessing Obinaju, PhD student, Centre for Chemicals Management, Lancaster Environment CentreMy research interests include biospectroscopy, nano-toxicology, DNA damange and repair (mechanisms), and the health effects of xenobiotics (PAHs) on the human population and ecosystems.

Alice O’Rourke, PhD student, Lancaster Environment Centre: My research focuses on assessing the gendered local impacts of ‘land grabbing’ in Tanzania.

Vanessa Phiri, MA student, Politics Philosophy and Religion: My research focuses on gender relations on the African continent, primarily the marginalization of women and the recent development of women’s organizations encouraging female emancipation.

Alhaji Ibrahim Sankoh, PhD student, Lancaster Environment Centre: I am interested in the impact of chemical contaminants to the environment and people of Sierra Leone, in particular contamination from waste dumps and agrochemicals from rice farms.

Dr Jane Sunderland, Dept. of Linguistics and English Language: I am interested in gender and language use in relation to different African contexts.

Dr Saskia Vermeylen, Lancaster Environment Centre: I am interested in property relations in southern Africa. I have a particular interest in postcolonial studies and legal pluralism, the legal, cultural and political questioning of ‘indigeneity’ within the context of changing land tenure regimes, and cultural property rights in Africa.