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Staff members of the SA UK Bilateral Research Chair in Political Theory


Professor Lawrence Hamilton

Professor Lawrence Hamilton

[BA (MA), MPhil, PhD (Cantab) MASSAf] contributes to rethinking political theory from the perspective of the global South around five main themes:

  1. needs, interests and rights;
  2. freedom, resistance and democracy;
  3. states, markets and political judgement;
  4. the ethics and economics of Amartya Sen; and 
  5. decolonizing republics.

He is editor-in-chief of Theoria: A Journal of Social and Political Theory and co-founded and co-directs APTA. His many articles and books include How To Read Amartya Sen (Penguin 2020)Amartya Sen (Polity 2019), Freedom is Power: Liberty Through Political Representation (Cambridge University Press 2014), Are South Africans Free? (Bloomsbury 2014), and The Political Philosophy of Needs (Cambridge University Press 2003). He is currently working on another book: Human Needs, Human Rights and Political Judgement.

He is the only political scientist ever to receive an A-rating from the South African National Research Foundation (NRF).


PhD Students Supervised by Prof Hamilton


1) Seroala Tsoeu-Ntokoane, ‘The Politics of Constitutionalism in South Africa: Institutions Supporting Democracy’ (2014)

2) Ayesha Omar, ‘Political Authority in the Political Thought of Marsilius of Padua and Ibn Rushd’ (2015)

3) Ahmed Jazbhay, ‘Civil Religion in South Africa: Mandela Through the Lens of Machiavelli and Rousseau’ (2015)

4) Albano Troco, ‘Electoral Politics in Angola: Furthering Democratisation or Sustaining Authoritarian Rule?’ (2019)

5) Thoko Jean Chilenga, ‘Constitutional Crisis: Case Studies in the Decentralised Public Administration of Education in South Africa (2011-2015)’ (2019)

6) Cecilia Schultz, ‘The governmentality of credit ratings: exploring the political economy of creditworthiness in South Africa’ (2021)

7) Candice Bailey, ‘Access to Information and Democracy in South Africa’ (2021)



8) Matías Volonterio, ‘Emancipation in Latin American Political Thought’ (Cambridge)

9) Nhlakanipho Zikalala, ‘Democracy, Division and Development in South Africa’ (Wits)

10) Mpho Tladi, ‘Lefort and South African Politics’ (Wits)

11) Edward Murambwa, ‘Targeted Sanctions and Sovereignty in Zimbabwe’ (Cambridge)

12) Sophie Harbour, ‘Can We Put Caring at the Heart of Democracy’ (Cambridge)

13) Tim Karayiannides, ‘Post-War African Studies, Underdevelopment and the French and British New Left, 1963-1993’ (Cambridge)

14) Shir’a Jeenah, ‘Faith, Identity and Subjectivity: A Poststructuralist Interpretation of Islam and the Muslim in the World’ (Wits)

15) Romain Francis, ‘Justice as Recognition in the Ecological Community’ (Wits)

16) Moshibudi Motimele, ‘Blackness as epistemic rupture: the case of contemporary South African Student Movements’ (Wits)




Postdoctoral Research Fellows

Dr Madalitso Z Phiri

Dr Madalitso Z Phiri

Madalitso Zililo Phiri is a critical pan-African Sociologist. He is Post Doctoral Fellow in the South Africa/United Kingdom Bilateral Chair in Political Theory, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He is a Visiting Fellow at the University of Cambridge’s, Centre of African Studies; Visiting College Research Associate, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge; and Carnegie Corporation Fellow (2014-2017) through the Next Generation of Social Science in Africa, Social Science Research Council, New York, United States. He is co-author of Monuments and Memory in Africa: Reflections on Coloniality and Decoloniality (London: Routledge, 2024) and currently writing a single authored monograph tentatively entitled ‘The Colour of Inequality in South Africa and Brazil: Making Sense of Social Policy as Reparations’ under contract with Brill. Phiri’s publications include book chapters and refereed journal articles in outlets such as Critical Sociology, Monthly Review, Global Health Promotion, Palgrave Handbook on African Political Economy, Journal of Southern African Studies, and South African Journal of International Affairs. His ongoing research interests include, political economy of racialized welfare (South Africa and Brazil), Sociology of Race, and Black Political Thought.


  • 2024  ‘Monuments and Memory in Africa: Reflections on Coloniality and Decoloniality’ (Routledge: London).
  • 2024 Under Contract.    ‘The Colour of Inequality in South Africa and Brazil: Making Sense of Social Policy as Reparations’ (under contract with Brill Academic Press: Leiden).
  • 2023                “Against Imperial Social Policy in Africa: Recasting Mkandawire’s Transformative Ideas for Africa’s Liberation, Critical Sociology, 49(3):437-455.
  • 2022                “Beyond Academic Imperialism in Comparative Studies of the Global South: Methodological Reflections, CODESRIA’s Journal of Higher Education in Africa (JHEA) 19(2): 27-55.
  • 2021                “The South African Pandemic of Racial Capitalism”, Monthly Review 73, no.5 (October 2021): 36-50, DOI:
  • 2017                “Comparative Perspectives on South Africa’s and Brazil’s Institutional Inequalities under Progressive Social Policies,” Journal of Southern African Studies, 43(5): 961-968.
  • 2017                “The Political Economy of Hunger in South Africa: Theoretical Perspectives from the South,” Africa Insight, 46(4): 66-82.
  • 2016              “Inclusive Innovation and Inequality in South Africa: A Case for Transformative Social Policy,”

Innovation and Development 6 (1): 123–139. (co-authored).

  • 2014              “Mozambique’s Peace Decades since the End of the Conflict: Inclusive or Managed Democracy?”

 African Journal of Conflict Resolution 14 (1): 37–62. (co-authored)

  • 2013               “Innovation in High Technology SMMEs: The Case of the New Media Sector in Cape Town,” Urban Forum 24 (2): 289–306. (co-authored).
  • 2012               “The Political Economy of Mozambique Twenty Years On: A Post Conflict Success Story?”

South African Journal of International Affairs 19 (2): 223–245.





Bilateral Fellow

Dr Ayesha Omar

Ayesha Omar holds a BA in Politics, History and Journalism (Rhodes University) with distinction and an MA (cum laude) in Political Philosophy. In 2016 she completed her Ph.D. in political theory, supervised by Professor Lawrence Hamilton. Her thesis is a comparative account of political authority in the work of Medieval Philosophers, Ibn Rushd and Marsilius of Padua.  Currently, she is devoting time towards publishing her PhD into a monograph after publishing a book chapter and several peer-reviewed articles. Ayesha is a recipient of the Andrew Mellon Foundation Early Careers Research grant. Her research and teaching aims to contribute to an understanding of non-western traditions of political theory, with a specific focus on normative sources from Africa and the Middle East that have hitherto been neglected by the western canon of political theory. Her main research interests include Comparative Political Theory, Islamic Political Thought, African Political Thought, and South African Black Intellectual History. In 2017, she also received the Mail and Guardian 200 Young South African award for her contributions to university teaching. She is an associate editor of Theoria: a Journal of Social and Political Theory


Research Associates

Prof. Hountondji

Paulin J. Hountondji is Emeritus Professor of philosophy at the national universities of Benin, Cotonou. 

Publications include: African Philosophy, Myth and Reality (Indiana University Press, 1997; first published in French, 1977); Endogenous Knowledge: Research Trails (ed.) (Dakar, Codesria 1997; French original: 1994); The Struggle for Meaning: Reflections on Philosophy, Culture and Democracy in Africa (Ohio University Press, 2002; original French: 1997); La rationalité, une ou plurielle? (ed.) (Dakar, Codesria, 2007); L’ancien et le nouveau: la production du savoir dans l’Afrique d’aujourd’hui (Porto-Novo,, Benin, 2009 ; published in Luanda in Portuguese translation in 2012), and other books and articles mainly in French. Hountondji was Vice-President of the Paris-based International Council for Philosophy and Humanistic Studies (CIPSH) from 1998 to 2002, Vice-President of the Dakar-based Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA) from 2002 to 2005 and is one of the 25 founding members of the Benin National Academy of Science and Arts (since 2012). He was Minister of Education, then Minister for Culture and Communication in Benin (from 1990 to 1993), President of the National Council for Education (from 2009 to March 2019). He is presently the “Sherpa” (personal representative of the Head of State) of Benin at the Permanent Council of the Francophone Summit.

Prof. Terrell Carver

Terrell Carver is Professor of Political Theory at the University of Bristol, UK. He has published widely on Marx, Engels and Marxisms, and on sex, gender and sexualities. He is currently contributing to projects that re-think politics in postcolonial and decolonising frameworks. For the recent Marx-Engels bicentenaries in 2018 and 2020 he published Marx for Polity Press, and Engels Before Marx for Palgrave Macmillan.  His forthcoming books to be published in 2022 include Masculinity, Gender & International Relations for Bristol University Press (with Laura Lyddon) and Friedrich Engels: Reflections and Revaluations for Palgrave Macmillan (ed. with Smail Rapic). 

  • Co-editor in Chief, Contemporary Political Theory
  • Editorial Boards: International Feminist Journal of Politics, New Political Science, Globalizations, Theoria
  • Latest article: The People's Paving Stones: The Material Politics of International Human Rights in the Baldosas por la Memoria of Buenos Aires (co-author), International Political Sociology, on-line 13 March 2021
  • Latest books: Marx (Polity, 2018), Engels Before Marx (Palgrave, 2020), The Life and Thought of Friedrich Engels, 30th anniversary edition (Palgrave, 2021).
  • Research Associate, SA UK Bilateral Chair in Political Theory, University of the Witwatersrand.
  • Affiliated Professor: Peking University, Nanjing University.
Dr Paulo C. J. Faria

I am an Angolan political scientist, independent researcher, writer and founder of Ambuila – Pesquisa e Produção Científica (Ambuila – Research and Scientific Production). My research and professional background focus on state reform, public policy and security studies. I hold a PhD in Politics and Government and a MA in International Relations both from the University of Kent and a BSc in Philosophy and Humanities from the Catholic University of Portugal.

Upon the completion of the PhD, I returned to Angola and I took a post, as assistant professor and scientific coordinator of the Political Science undergraduate course, at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Agostinho Neto University from 2013 to 2019. Besides, I coordinated the MA course in Political Science & Public Administration from 2013 to 2015. In addition, from 2017 to 2019, I was a visiting professor at the Academy of Social Sciences and Technology, lecturing Security Studies and Foreign Policy at the MA in Security and Globalization.

I co-founded the Angolan Political Science Association in 2014 and I was its first president until June 2021. Recently, I helped to bring together prominent activists, scholars and students to form a Civic Movement known as Mudei – “I changed” in English. Mudei stands for fair elections and electoral truth and aims to play an active role in the months to come until next general elections scheduled for August 2022. Mudei has delivered public petitions to the Angolan President and the leaders of political parties in the National Assembly against the approval of the new law on the general elections in September 2021.


  • “The rise and root causes of Islamic Insurgency in Mozambique and its security implications to the region”, IPSS, Addis Ababa, Policy Brief, Vol. 15, Issue 4, 2021.
  • - “We got a test for protest! Leadership transition and political opportunities for protest in Angola’s resilient authoritarian regime”, in E. Sanches (ed.), Protest in Africa, Routledge, Forthcoming, joint book chapter.
  •  “Universidade Agostinho Neto: Uma Análise dos Contextos e Processos de Produção de Trabalhos Científicos”, Revista Brasileira de Estudos Africanos, Vol. 3, No. 7, Janeiro, 2020.
  • O Público e o Político em Angola, Chiado Books, Lisboa, 2019.“Do Campus Universitário ao Campus socialis: Em busca da Universidade Pública”, Revista Mulemba, Vol. 6, No. 11, 2016, pp.317-324.
  • The Post-War Angola: Public Sphere, Political Regime and Democracy, Cambridge Publishing Scholars, Newcastle, 2013.
  • “The Dawning of Angola’s Citizenship Revolution: A Quest for Inclusionary Politics,” Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 39, No. 2, June, 2013, pp. 293-311.
  • Makas da Banda, Porto, Ed. Campo das Letras, 2002.
Prof. Peter Sutch

Peter Sutch is Professor of Political and International Theory, Head of Politics and International Relations and interim Head of the School of Law and Politics at Cardiff University.

He is a fellow of the Learned Society of Wales and of the Royal Historical Society. His research area explores questions of international justice, in particular questions relating to international law.

I am particularly interested in normative or moral questions and their impact on, and relation to, questions of politics and law. I have been concerned with questions of how we should conceive of the relation between ethics and international politics (Ethics Justice and International Relations, Routledge 2001) and have published The Politics of International Law and International Justice with Edwin Egede. I also have broader interests in contemporary political theory and the history of political thought and along with colleagues in the political theory research unit, have collaborated on projects on multiculturalism (Multiculturalism, Identity and Rights Routledge 2003) and questions of justification in moral theory (Principles and Political Order: The Challenge of Diversity Routledge 2006) and the nature of evil in contemporary political theory (EUP 2011). I am currently working on questions of just war theory, global law and distributive justice in the global commons. Recent publications explore the justice of Space policy in a neo-colonial context, Kantian approaches to international law, a moral responsibility in international politics.

Dr Michael Onyebuchi Eze

Dr Michael Onyebuchi Eze teaches Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy at Leiden University, The Netherlands. He has a PhD in Politics and International Studies from the University of Cambridge (Trinity Hall), and a second PhD (Summa Cum Laude) in History and Cultural Reflection from Universität Witten-Herdecke, Germany.

He received his MA in Philosophy from the University of Pretoria, South Africa and his BA honours in Philosophy and Classics from Arrupe Jesuit College (now Arrupe Jesuit University), in Harare, Zimbabwe.

Until recently, he was an assistant professor in Political Science at the University of Amsterdam, visiting scholar at the Center for African Studies Stanford University and research associate at the Martin Luther King Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University. He was a Stiftung Mercator Foundation, Research Fellow at the Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut (Institute for Advanced Study in Humanities) in Essen, Germany.

Most recent publications: Ubuntu/Botho: Ideologie order Versprechen? Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie (DZPhil) 2020: 68(6): 928–942, “Beyond Sovereign Reason: Issues and Contestations in Contemporary African Identity”, Journal of Common Market Studies (JCMS), Special Issue, Collective Identity. Volume 58. Number 1. pp. 190–206, “Africana Philosophy and the Imperative for Moral Education” in Essays in Honor of Ifeanyi Menkiti, editors, Edwin Etieyibo and Polycarp Ikuenobe  (New York: Rowman and Littlefield/– Lexington Books, 2020


Dr. Alban Troco

Dr. Albano Agostinho Troco is an Angolan Political Scientist with interests on the nature of the post-colonial state in Africa, processes of democratization and autocratization in Southern Africa, electoral politics and seccessionist conflicts.

He has a PhD in Political Studies from the University of the Witwatersrand, an MA in Political Science and a BA Honours in International Relations both from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.


See: ORCiD

1) Determinants of Successful Secessions in Post-colonial Africa: The case of South Sudan Brazilian Journal of Africa Studies. Vol.3. No.6 pp.55-74

2) Electoral Politics and Political Transition in Post-War Angola: Progress, Problems and Prospects. Journal of African Elections. Vol.18 No.1. June 2019. Pp.23-44

3) Electoral Governance and Democratization in Southern Africa Post-conflict States: Electoral Management Bodies in Angola, Mozambique and South Africa. Journal of African Elections.Vol.18 No.2. pp.25-45

4) Between Domestic and Global Politics: The Determinants of Eritrea's Successful Secession. Brazilian Journal of Africa Studies. Vol.4. No.8. pp.9-31.

Available at:


Dr. Michael Elliot

Michael Elliott teaches at King’s College London, UK. He obtained his PhD from the University of Southampton, UK and was formerly Postdoctoral Fellow of the British Academy/NRF Bilateral Research Chair in Political Theory at Wits.

His research centres on questions of decolonisation and democracy, particularly as applied to Western epistemological and geopolitical positions. It seeks to understand how Western democratic values and imaginaries stand entangled in the contemporary reproduction of colonial power structures, and their potential to be put to work in dismantling those structures. Michael is currently working on a book project exploring these themes in the context of settler colonial societies.


  • Elliott, M. (forthcoming) ‘Delegitimising settler colonialism’, in G. Motard & G. Nootens (eds) Souverainetés et autodéterminations autochtones : Tïayoriho’ten’, Presses de l’Université Laval (French version); McGill-Queen’s University Press (English version).
  • Elliott, M. (2020) ‘Democratic opening and closure: Struggles of (de)legitimation in the settler colony’, Contemporary Political Theory, Vol. 19, pp.83-104.
  • Elliott, M. (2019) ‘Critical theory and decolonial possibility in the neoliberal moment’, International Journal of Social Economics, 46, No.11, pp.1277-1290.
  • Elliott, M. (2018) ‘Indigenous Resurgence: the drive for renewed engagement and
    reciprocity in the turn away from the state’, Canadian Journal of Political Science, 51 (1), 61-81. (
  • Elliott, M. (2016) ‘Participatory parity and Indigenous decolonization struggles’,
    Constellations 23 (3), 413-24. (



Dr Cecilia Schultz

Dr Cecilia Schultz

Dr Cecilia Schultz's research explores the politics and power relations involved in the production of financial and economic discourse. I am particularly interested in uncovering the historical ambiguities, ideological contestations, and methodological compromises that underpin the production of powerful indicators like sovereign credit ratings. The aim is to re-politicise the arithmetic, ‘objective’ grammar of financial economics in order to broaden the democratic content of market knowledge and practices. My research is currently divided into the following three projects: 1) Exploring the post-coloniality of neo-classical economics; 2) Examining the micro-processes involved in the production of quantitative knowledge in financial markets, particularly inflation statistics and credit ratings, and 3) Interrogating the financialization of housing in the South African context.


  • Schultz, Cecilia. 2021. ‘Postcolonial Finance: The Political History of “Risk-Versus-Reward” Investment in Emerging Markets.’ Theoria, 68(1): 60-68. Doi: 10.3167/th.2021.6816603
  • Schultz, Cecilia. 2020. ‘The Marikana Massacre and the Unstable Geographies of Capital: Spatialising Financialisation’, Politikon 47(1): 42-61. DOI: 10.1080/02589346.2020.1714899
  • Schultz, Cecilia. & Van Riet, Gideon. 2018. ‘Land deals in Africa, lessons for South Africa?’, South African Review of Sociology 49(1):34-52.
  • Book Review
  • Schultz, Cecilia. 2020. Book Review of Amartya Sen by Lawrence Hamilton. Theoria, 67(165): 118-121. Doi: 10.3167/th.2020.6716506


Dr Camila Vergara


Camila Vergara is a critical legal theorist, historian, and journalist from Chile, currently researching on the relation between inequality, corruption, domination, and the law as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at University of Cambridge. She is the author of Systemic Corruption: Constitutional Ideas for an Anti-Oligarchic Republic (Princeton University Press 2020) in which she argues that the majority of modern liberal democracies have become increasingly oligarchic, suffering from a form of structural political decay: a systemic corruption that is built into the very fabric of our representative systems.

To account for ever-expanding systemic corruption and oligarchic domination, Systemic Corruption proposes to use a material method to study constitutions by which the organization of political power is analysed taking into account socioeconomic power structures and the ways in which the State enables some kinds of actions while disabling others. To further develop this material constitutionalism, through which structural domination can be properly studied, and further enhance our understanding of systemic corruption and its effects on the freedom of individuals, her new book project seeks to develop a plebeian theory of rights, in which rights do not originate in natural law but on power relations and the juridical protections resulting from the conflict between the powerful few and the many.

Dr. Vergara holds a PhD in Political Science with specialization in Constitutional Law from Columbia University, an MA in Politics from The New School for Social Research, and an MA in Latin American and Caribbean Studies from New York University. She has been a lecturer in political theory at NYU and Columbia College, and an instructor in constitutional law at Columbia University School of Professional Studies.

She has published her work in academic journal such as the Journal of Political Philosophy, Philosophy & Social Criticism, and the European Journal of Social Sciences, as well as in media outlets including JacobinSidecar–NLR, Boston Review, CIPER Chile and Interferencia. She is currently advising representatives in the Constitutional Convention in Chile who are tasked with writing a new constitution, as well as collaborating with the popular assemblies that emerged after the October 2019 uprising.