ODID researchers win Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships

10 July, 2017

We are delighted to announce that two researchers – Robtel Neajai Pailey, Senior Research Officer at the International Migration Institute (IMI), and former ODID DPhil student Susanna Verheul – have won Leverhulme Early Career Fellowships to be held at the department.

Robtel will explore ‘The Socio-Economic Development Implications of Race-Based Citizenship in Liberia’.

Although emerging scholarship focuses increasingly on the politics of belonging in Africa, the continent remains underrepresented in citizenship studies literature.

Using mixed methods, Robtel will fill this gap by examining how socioeconomic development is mediated by race and citizenship in Liberia – a country ‘founded’ by black migrants who adopted a constitutional clause that prohibits non-blacks from obtaining citizenship by birth, ancestry or naturalisation. Seemingly ‘racist’, the clause centres blackness as an explicit property of citizenship, thereby unsettling the foundation of citizenship as nested in a predominantly white, liberal state. This project is especially relevant in light of rising anti-migrant sentiments worldwide.

Susanne will research a project titled ‘Performing Professionalism: Law, Order, and Repression within State Institutions’.

Scholars often portray the relationship between authoritarian regimes and the law as paradoxical: regimes rely on law to exercise power, but citizens can challenge their governments through the courts. There is less focus, however, on the often-significant acts of resistance by civil servants, notably within judicial institutions.

With this project, Susanne aims to study the history and content of such acts of resistance within the Rhodesian and Zimbabwean judiciaries. Through archival research, life-history interviews with civil servants, and observations in the courts, she will contribute to theorisations of the dynamics between law, order, and political repression in African states.

The three-year fellowships aim to provide career development opportunities for those who are at a relatively early stage of their academic careers, but who have a proven record of research. Approximately 100 Fellowships were available in 2017.

Susanne, who completed her DPhil in March, will begin her fellowship in October; Robtel's fellowship will start in May 2018.