Southern African Institute for Policy and Research


Thomas G. Kirsch : Fellow

Thomas G. Kirsch


Thomas G. Kirsch is full professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Konstanz, Germany. Since the mid-1990s he has conducted extensive qualitative research on religion (most particularly African-initiated Christianity) in Zambia as well as on human safety, security and crime prevention in South Africa.
Oliver Bakewell : Fellow

Oliver Bakewell


Oliver Bakewell is the Co-Director of International Migration Institute (IMI) in the Department of International Development at the University of Oxford, UK. His current research interests include migration, diasporas and global development, social theory and migration, 'forced' versus 'voluntary' migration, borderlands and African migration. Since the mid-1990s he has been conducting research into the changing patterns of cross-border movements between Angola and Zambia, focusing on Mwinilunga. In 2014, he is conducting research in Lusaka exploring the formation of African diasporas within Africa as part of the Oxford Diasporas Programme. He is also leading a research project on Mobility in the African Great Lakes studying the movement of people from Eastern DR Congo across the region. Outside Africa, he has been leading the project, Theorizing the Evolution of European Migration Systems (THEMIS), a large international project looking at movement from Brazil, Morocco and Ukraine to UK, Netherlands, Norway and Portugal.

Before joining IMI, he spent many years working with migrants and refugees both as a researcher and as a practitioner with a range of development and humanitarian NGOs. He holds a PhD and MSc in Development Studies and a BA in Mathematics.

Recent publications include 'Re-launching Migration Systems' Migration Studies (2013), 'Theory and the Study of Migration in Africa' Journal of Intercultural Studies (2013); 'Migration systems, pioneer migrants and the role of agency' Journal of Critical Realism, and Migration and Development (ed), Edward Elgar (2012). He teaches on the MSc Migration Studies at Oxford.

For further details see
Lisa Cliggett : Fellow

Lisa Cliggett


Lisa Cliggett (PhD, Indiana University) is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Kentucky, and editor of the Wiley-Blackwell journal Economic Anthropology.  She has carried out ethnographic fieldwork in Zambia since 1992, focusing on kinship, economy, development, and environmental change. While she conducted research through the 1990s in the Gwembe Valley, since 2001 her field research takes her to the border zones of the Kafue National Park, Zambia’s largest national park where she has conducted National Science Foundation (USA) funded projects examining 1) migration, land tenure security and environmental change and 2) food and livelihood security in the context of migration. Also, during the 2004-2007 field seasons Cliggett and colleagues ran an NSF funded field school in anthropological research methods. Her current NSF funded project (BCS-1157418; 2012-14) explores ways to build a digital data archive for cultural anthropology, using the longitudinal data from the Gwembe Tonga (Zambia) Research Project (GTRP), started in the 1950s by Elizabeth Colson and Thayer Scudder.

Cliggett has published in a variety of journals including American Anthropologist, Human Organization and Human Ecology. Her books include Grains from Grass: aging, gender and famine in rural Africa 2005, Cornell University Press; Economies and Cultures: foundations of Economic Anthropology (Co-authored with Richard Wilk) 2007, Westview Press; Economies and the Transformation of Landscape (co-edited with Christopher Pool) 2008, Alta Mira Press, and Tonga Timeline: Appraising 60 years of multidisciplinary research in Zambia and Zimbabwe (co-edited with Virginia Bond and Bennett Siamwiza), Lembani Trust Publishers/ Africa Books Collective.
Alastair Fraser : Fellow

Alastair Fraser


My research focuses on the contemporary political economy of Southern Africa, but especially Zambia. My published work focuses mainly on how international aid donors, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and multinational companies promote their preferred economic and social agendas in Africa, and particularly on Zambian popular and elite responses to these influences. I have researched and written about Zambia’s negotiations with international donor agencies, relations between international donors and NGOs and Zambian civil society organisations, and the social and political impacts of the privatization of the mining industry.

I am increasingly interested in the domestic political economy of Zambia, having written about the emergence of the Patriotic Front in the 2006 elections. I am working at the moment on related studies looking at the organization of intra and inter-party political competition at local levels, the relationship between representative, service delivery and development planning functions, and the politics of interactive broadcasting – specifically, how call-in radio and TV shows influence both party politics and service delivery to marginal communities. My fieldwork has been carried out mainly in Chipata District, Eastern Province and in Mandevu, in Lusaka.

My personal website:

The Politics and Interactive Media in Africa (PIMA) project:
Walima T. Kalusa : Fellow

Walima T. Kalusa


Dr. Walima T. Kalusa is currently a Professor of History at the University of Zambia. Previously, he participated in the "History in Africa" project at Cambridge University, from 2007 to 2009. In the last several years, his research has focused on an African comprehension of missionary medicine in colonial Zambia's Mwinilunga.  His publications include Kalonga Gawa Undi X: A Biography of an African Chief and Nationalist and Death, Belief and Politics in Central Africa (with Meghan Vaughan), along with many articles and book chapters.
Bernard Kachama Mbenga : Fellow

Bernard Kachama Mbenga


Bernard Kachama Mbenga, who is Zambian-born, is currently a Full Professor of History the Mafikeng Campus of North-West University, where he has been lecturing since September 1987. He is the co-author and co-editor (with Hermann Giliomee) of the highly acclaimed New History of South Africa published by Tafelberg, Cape Town in November 2007. He has jointly (with Andrew Manson) authored a book entitled “People of the Dew”: The Bafokeng of the Phokeng-Rustenburg District of South Africa, from Early Times to 2000, published by Jacana Press, Cape Town, in December 2010. Bernard Mbenga is (with Andrew Manson) currently engaged in the writing of two book manuscripts: A History of the African National Congress in the North-West Province of South Africa, 1909 - 2012 and A History of the African Societies of the North-West Bushveld Region of South Africa, c.200 A.D. – 2010. Mbenga’s current research interests are the acquisition of land by black communities in the western Transvaal generally, but especially the Rustenburg and Pilanesberg Districts in the 19th and early 20th centuries; Boer–African relations; missionaries and their relations with chiefly authorities and black societies in the western Transvaal of South Africa in the 19th and early 20th centuries; the role of black communities in the South African (or Anglo-Boer) War of 1899 – 1902 in the Transvaal and Afrikaner Indigenous Knowledge Systems in the western Transvaal.
Ching Kwan Lee : Fellow

Ching Kwan Lee


Ching Kwan Lee is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles. A native of Hong Kong, she obtained her PhD in Sociology from the University of California at Berkeley and has previously taught at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Her research focuses on labor, gender, political sociology, comparative and global ethnography, Global South, Africa and China. She has published in the American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Theory and Society, Daedalus, Work & Occupations, Gender & Society, the China Quarterly and Modern China, among others. She is author of two award winning books: Against the Law: Labor Protests in China’s Rustbelt and Sunbelt (University of California Press 2007), and Gender and the South China Miracle: Two Worlds of Factory Women (University of California Press 1998). Her edited volumes include Working in China: Ethnographies of Labor and Workplace Transformation (Routledge 2007), Re-envisioning the Chinese Revolution: the Politics and Poetics of Collective Memories in Contemporary China ( with Guobin Yang, Stanford University Press, 2007), Reclaiming Chinese Society : the New Activism (with Youtien Hsing, Routlege 2009), and From the Iron Rice Bowl to Informalization: Market, State, and Workers in a Changing China (with Sarosh Kuruvilla and Mary Gallagher, Cornell University Press, 2011).

She is working on two monographs, respectively on four decades of state and society relation in China (under contract with Polity Press, UK) and on Chinese investment in Zambia.
Paul Mosely : Fellow

Paul Mosely


Paul Moseley received his PhD from Cambridge in 1980, on 'The settler economies: studies in the economic history of Kenya and Southern Rhodesia 1900-1963". He was a Lecturer and then Reader, University of Bath, 1974-85 (with a two year secondment to DFID, 1979-81). Since 1986 he has held Professorships at Manchester, Reading and Sheffield, where he has been since 1999.

Most of his work has been in development economics, but there have also been excursions into economic history, politics of development and UK social policy. He has mainly worked academia but also in government both in DFID, as mentioned above, and in the Kenya Territory, 1969-71, and in NGOs, e.g. He has been on the board of Action Aid International, and he is currently on the board of the South Yorkshire Development Education Centre. Two linking strands of his work are exit strategies from poverty (in both developing and industrialised countries) and the politics of economic policy-making. The two strands come together in his work with ESID, the DFID/University of Manchester Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre, on politics of inclusive development and in particular in the work on the politics of poverty reduction in Zambia that I am currently pursuing with Marja Hinfelaar under the auspices of ESID.
Ian Phimister : Fellow

Ian Phimister


Ian Phimister is presently Senior Research Professor at the University of the Free State, Ian Phimister has held posts at the Universities of Zambia, Cape Town, Oxford, and Sheffield. His research interests encompass patterns of overseas investment by the City of London, and the 19th and 20th century histories of Central and Southern Africa with particular emphasis on the region’s mining history. He is currently researching and writing on aspects of an umbrella project ‘Finance and Empire: the violent making of southern Africa, 1884-1914’.
Solange Guo Chatelard : Associate Fellow

Solange Guo Chatelard

Associate Fellow

Solange Guo Chatelard is a PhD candidate at Sciences Po Paris and a Research Associate at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany. Her research focuses on China’s new role in Africa through an examination of the everyday lives of Chinese migrants in Zambia. She has conducted long term ethnographic research in Zambia and China.

In addition to her research she has also produced two film documentaries about China’s growing presence in Africa: When China Met Africa (BBC), and King Cobra and the Dragon (AL JAZEERA).
Jessica M. Chu : Associate Fellow

Jessica M. Chu

Associate Fellow

Jessica M. Chu is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Her current research concerns the rise of large-scale land acquisitions in sub-Saharan Africa, and the associated impacts and implications to agricultural development and food security. She has conducted extended fieldwork in Zambia from 2011-12 and in 2013, which investigated the discourses that surround ‘land grabs’ in Zambia, particularly from the perspective of non-governmental organisations. More broadly, her research interests include food security, agricultural development, and land tenure and rights, through the perspective of the anthropology of development, and the wider implications these hold for agrarian change and nutrition transitions. She has also been a consultant for long-term projects on evidenced-based policy advocacy on large-scale land acquisitions with the Zambia Land Alliance, and on foreign agricultural investments in Zambia with Oxfam.


Maano alazwa amukasumbwa

Translation: "Wisdom may be found through observation of even the simplest things"

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On Facebook