The John and Elnora Ferguson Centre for African Studies

The John and Elnora Ferguson Centre for African Studies (JEFCAS) has been based in the Division of Peace Studies and International Development (PSID) at the University of Bradford since 2002 and funded by the Allan & Nesta Ferguson Trust since 2005. Its current mission is to support academic and applied research, teaching and knowledge transfer concerning Africa within the University academic theme of Sustainable Societies.

African people dancing and others looking on

JEFCAS Mission

The John & Elnora Ferguson Centre for African Studies (JEFCAS) has been based in the Division of Peace Studies and International Development (PSID) at the University of Bradford since 2002 and funded by the Allan & Nesta Ferguson Trust since 2005. The centre is widely-known for its focus on academic and applied research, teaching and knowledge transfer concerning conflict and peace in Africa. In line with its historic focus and the original intent of the Trust grant but expanding on these themes, the centre now focuses on Africa in three broad core areas – peace, security and conflict; sustainable development and the environment; and culture and heritage. This focus marks it out as distinct from other Africa Study Centres in the UK, which can struggle to continue with their wider-ranging remits.
 
These core areas are also broad and inclusive of multi-disciplinary areas across the university, and present important elements within the University’s theme of Sustainable Societies and the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The theme of Sustainable Societies supports growth in economic, political and relational well-being for current and future generations through innovative research and teaching and knowledge transfer programmes.

JEFCAS invites colleagues from across the university who are participating in teaching, research or knowledge transfer on issues and processes directly related to Africa and encourages engagement from students particularly at postgraduate level. The centre focuses on rigorous academic work and plays a key role in fostering the research, teaching and knowledge transfer environment in the university through seminars, conferences and student-staff engagement. It stimulates and facilitates publications, knowledge transfer and grant applications. Finally, JEFCAS functions as a national, regional and international centre of excellence and seeks to build on its existing position in networks such as the Yorkshire Africa Study Network and relations with many institutions in Africa such as the African Union and the International Peace-keeping Support Training Centre; sub-regional organisations in Africa, for instance ECOWAS; national and sub-regional police organisations such as the Sierra Leone Police; and numerous universities and research institutes in Africa. It also seeks to encourage researchers and practitioners outside the university to take a role as Associates.

In order to facilitate transparent management and to make informed decisions, the JEFCAS Director is supported by a Management Committee and an Advisory Board.

JEFCAS Themes

JEFCAS is a multidisciplinary centre located within the university’s academic theme of Sustainable Societies which supports growth in economic, political and relational well-being for current and future generations through innovative research and teaching and knowledge transfer programmes.

The centre focuses exclusively on Africa and on work in three broad core areas:

  • Peace, security and conflict;
  • Sustainable development and the environment; and
  • Culture and heritage.  

Many university disciplines and inter-disciplinary work can be situated within these themes, such as in the following examples:

  • International relations – aid, trade, trafficking, relations with old and new world powers, and regional blocs
  • Politics – government, democracy, civil society, state reform, security sector reform, and conflict
  • Development – aid, trade, governance, health, education, infrastructure, and the environment
  • Economics - work, economic growth, poverty reduction, and war economies
  • Psychology - war trauma, health and well-being
  • Management – Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, and counterfeit goods
  • Law – Responsibility to Protect, International Humanitarian Law, the International Criminal Court and other tribunals, and International Development Law
  • Life Sciences - digital humanitarianism, and forensic post-conflict investigations
  • Engineering – water, sanitation, and agriculture
  • Archaeology – understanding and protecting architectural and cultural heritage
  • Health – good health and well-being
  • Gender – cross-cutting all of the above

JEFCAS Events

  • 30 Jan: JEFCAS Relaunch and Interactive Panel Discussion
  • to be confirmed: Seminar, 'Continuing Violence and Conflict in South Sudan: re-adapting and prioritising research-based peace building', with Visiting Researcher, Moses Wawich of Center for Strategic Conflict Analysis (CESCA), South Sudan, and Bianca Neff of Petra Peace Builders, 2-4pm in Pemberton P2.01
  • Call for Papers for the Conference: 'Africa Towards Sustainable Development – Eurafrica, Chinafrica, or … Africa?' 28-29 May 2019, UN Conference Centre, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, as part of Bradford's Jean Monnet Network ‘The European Union, Africa and China in the Global Age'. Proposal deadline: 18th of April. 

JEFCAS Seminar Series

Herdsmen/Farmers conflict in the Sahel and Sub Saharan Africa: Implications for instability in the region

Speaker: Dr Olayinka Ajala

Date and time: Wed 23rd Jan, 16:00-18:00

Location: Pemberton P2.01

A voice recoding of this seminar is available here.

African State Aesthetics: readings of African states through their architecture

Speaker: Professor Julia Gallagher

Date and time: Wed 6th Feb 2019, 16:00-18:00

Location: Pemberton P2.01

picture of professor julia gallagher

Charcoal Power: The Political Violence of Non-Fossil Energy in Uganda

Speaker: Dr Adam Branch

Date and time: Wed 20th Feb 2019, 16:00-18:00

Location: Pemberton P2.01

A voice recording of this seminar is available here.

Picture of adam branch

Exporting a Proper Childhood to Ghana: Colonial/Missionary Efforts and Indigenous Reactions

Speaker: Dr Afua Twum-Danso Imoh

Date and time:  Wed 6th March, 16:00-18:00

Location: Pemberton P2.01

Picture of Afua-Twum-Danso-Imoh

The European Union, Africa and China in the Global Age' (EU-EAC): research, aims and objectives

Speaker: Dr Jean Marc Trouille

Date and time: Wed 3rd April 2019, 16:00-18:00

Location: Pemberton P2.01

Picture of Jean-Marc Trouille

Kimberley Process in Sierra Leone

Speaker: Dr Marcus McCorkell

Date and time: postponed until autum

Location: Pemberton P2.01

Africa Study Visit

The Africa Study Visit is available to Masters and 3rd year Undergraduate students (see programme handbooks for details). The aim of the Study Visit is to allow students to broaden and deepen their understanding and practical experience of the complexities involved in peacebuilding and post-conflict reconstruction in Africa.

The Study Visit provides students with the opportunity to have first-hand experience of a war-torn and post-conflict environment in Africa. The choice of country is decided each year - bearing in mind safety and security priorities, as well as cost implications for the student.

The learning and teaching strategy has been developed specifically on the basis of the field research component of the country visit. Before departure, seminars and individual meetings are held to discuss research topics, suggested background readings, as well as individual planning requirements. The field research visit includes scheduled meetings with key stakeholders in government and the donor community, inter-governmental humanitarian and development agencies, as well as lectures and seminars with leading in-country experts and NGOs.

Africa Study Visit 2018/2019 – The Gambia 
Africa Study Visit 2017/2018 – Ethiopia

View the Ethiopia study visit report from 2018 >>

Africa Study Visit 2016/2017 – Ghana
Africa Study Visit 2014/2015 – Ethiopia
Africa Study Visit 2013/2014 – Sierra Leone
Africa Study Visit 2012/2013 – Liberia
Africa Study Visit 2011/2012 – Rwanda

Africa Study Visit video

A video about the JEFCAS Africa Study Trip to Sierra Leone.

Meet the team

Staff associates

Network Partners & Links

Scholarship Opportunities

African Partner Universities

Botswana

  • University of Botswana - Centre for Culture and Peace Studies (CCPS)

Sierra Leone

Liberia

Nigeria

Sudan

Uganda

Ethiopia

Kenya

Tanzania

South Africa

  • University of Free State, Centre for African Studies

Zimbabwe

African Political & Regional Economic Communities (REC)

African News: Daily News

Africa-related Academic Journals

Network Links