Philomathia Africa Programme

The Philomathia Africa Programme is committed to creating innovative research and teaching collaborations with African universities, scholars, and students. A donation from the Philomathia Foundation, plus a grant from the Isaac Newton Trust, has enabled the establishment of this programme within the department of Politics and International Studies, directed by Trinity Hall Fellow in African Politics, Dr Adam Branch.

Eight MPhil students and two PhD students from African Universities will be coming to Cambridge over the next five years. They will be members of Trinity Hall and will be doing their MPhils in African Studies and their PhDs in Politics and International Relations. Their research will focus on the theme of African Justice and Transformation, exploring topics of crucial contemporary importance, including environmental violence, forced migration, transitional justice, and higher education.

The programme will also launch a new international research agenda led by Dr Adam Branch titled From Climate Conflict to Climate Justice. It will place climate justice at the centre of the adaptation agenda in Africa, going beyond the standard view of climate change as a security threat. Several major conferences will be held at Trinity Hall over the next five years to share the publications and policy interventions, developed with academic and activist partners across the continent, with a broad international audience.

The grant from the Isaac Newton Foundation will enable the establishment of a postdoc position and five one-year visiting Fellowships connected with the programme. The donation will also enable an annual lecture within the Centre for African Studies from a pre-eminent African speaker to take place.

The 2018 Philomathia Africa Scholars

Rachel Sittoni is currently pursuing her PhD in Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge. She received her BA in Political Science from the University of Nairobi and her MSc in Security, Leadership and Society from King’s College London. She is also an alumna of the ALC Peace Security and Development Fellowship programme for African Scholars. Her PhD research concerns youth politics, in particular the ways that youth feature in political change in Africa. Often, such change is mediated by increased violence and insecurity, which is followed by violent policing that targets youth. Focusing on urban slums in Kenya, her research hopes to understand how the securitization of youth affects youth engagement as citizens and their broader status in society.

Aminata Buganzi Kinana is from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and received her BA from Grinnell College. She is studtying for her MPhil in African Studies, and her research focuses on current debates surrounding the possibility of repatriating African artefacts from European museums back to the African continent. Her broader academic interests lie in the historical and contemporary ties between Europe and Africa. In Aminata’s words, “I would like to be a part of a new generation of thinkers who are a part of the reinvigoration and restructuring of the Euro-African diplomatic relationship.”

Lyn Joanne Kouadio received her BA in political science from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana and is currently studying for her MPhil in African Studies. Her research explores the role that the politics of information has played in constructing narratives about human rights violations in the 2011 Ivorian post-electoral crisis, and how those narratives have informed international responses. She explains that “Côte d’Ivoire is my national home and where my heart is, but my identity is also owed, in various regards, to Benin, the Netherlands and Ghana.”

Philomathia Scholars 2018 with the Master, Dr Adam Branch, Dr Isabelle McNeill and Leslie Chung
Philomathia Scholars 2018 with the Master, Dr Adam Branch, Dr Isabelle McNeill and Leslie Chung

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