Professor Loren Landau

Professor of Migration and Development

Loren B Landau is Professor of Migration and Development at the University of Oxford, Research Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand’s African Centre for Migration & Society, and co-director of the Wits-Oxford Mobility Governance Lab (MGL). He previously held visiting and faculty positions at Princeton, Georgetown, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He holds an MSc in Development Studies (LSE) and a PhD in Political Science (Berkeley) and is a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa.

His interdisciplinary scholarship explores mobility, multi-scale governance, and the transformation of socio-political communities across the Global South. Along with continued work on xenophobia, inclusion, and representation, he currently oversees a multi-year initiative exploring mobility, temporality, and urban politics in Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa. To help realign the politics of knowledge production on human mobility, he spearheads multiple initiatives supporting critical migration and urban studies across sub-Saharan Africa including the Academy for African Urban Diversity and the African Research University Alliance’s programme on ‘emerging urban subjectivities’ supporting doctoral students in Nairobi, Cape Town, Harare, Accra, and Johannesburg.

A frequent media resource on regional and global migration policy debates, he has published widely in the academic and popular press including the New York TimesForeign Affairs, and Foreign Policy. Publications include, The Humanitarian Hangover: Displacement, Aid, and Transformation in Western Tanzania (Wits Press); Forging African Communities: Mobility, Integration, and Belonging (Palgrave); I Want to Go Home Forever: Stories of Becoming and Belonging in South Africa’s Great Metropolis (Wits Press); Contemporary Migration to South Africa (World Bank); and Exorcising the Demons Within: Xenophobia, Violence and Statecraft in Contemporary South Africa (UN University Press/Wits Press). He has consulted with the European Union, the World Bank, UNDP, UNHCR, UNECA, the Cities Alliance, and others. As chair of the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa  (2004-2012) he served on the South African Immigration Advisory Board.  

Teaching & Supervision
In the media
Mobility, temporality, and Africa’s future politics

Loren teaches Qualitative Methods for Migration Research and the Politics of Urban Mobility in the Global South

Research Students supervised

Danchen Xu
Research Student
Sibongile Zulu
Research Student

Journal articles and special issues

Landau, Loren (with Iriann Freemantle) (2022) 'Migration and the African Timespace Trap: More Europe for the World, Less World for Europe', Geopolitics 27 (3) 791-810
Landau, Loren (2019) 'A Chronotope of Containment Development: Europe’s Migrant Crisis and Africa’s Reterritorialization', Antipode 51(1) 169-86
Landau, Loren (with CP Mapista) (2019) 'Measuring Municipal Capacity to Respond to Mobility', Sage Open 1-11


Landau, Loren (forthcoming) 'Framing the Politics of Inclusions: Introductory Commentary'. Local Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees: A Gateway to Existing Ideas, Resources and Capacities for Cities across the World , Nairobi: UN Habitat
Landau, Loren (forthcoming) 'Governing Displaced Cities: Calibrating Reconstruction amidst Instability'. In H. Al-Harithy (ed) Urban Recovery at the Intersection of Displacement and Reconstruction , London: Routledge
Landau, Loren (forthcoming) 'The Times of Invisibility'. In J. Bjarnesen and S. Turner (ed) Invisibility in African Displacements: From Structural Marginalization to Strategies of Avoidance 252-258 , London: Zed Books
Landau, Loren (with CW Kihato) (2020) 'The Informalisation of Migration Governance across Africa’s Urban Archipelagos'. In T. Bastia and R. Skeldon (ed) Routledge Handbook on Migration & Development , London: Routledge
Landau, Loren (with D. Ndlovu ) (2020) 'The Zimbabwe-South Africa Migration Corridor'. In T. Bastia and R. Skeldon (ed) Routledge Handbook on Migration & Development , London: Routledge
Landau, Loren (2019) 'Shunning Solidarity: Durable Solutions in a Fluid Era'. In M. Bradley, J. Milner, and B. Peruniak (eds) Shaping the Struggles of Their Times: Refugees, Peacebuilding and Resolving Displacement 153-167 , Washington DC: Georgetown University Press
Landau, Loren (2019) 'Capacity, Complicity, and Subversion: Revisiting Collaborative Refugee Research in an Era of Containment'. In J. Young and S. McGrath (ed) Reflections on a Decade of the Refugee Research Network 25-44 , Calgary: University of Calgary Press


Landau, Loren (2021) 'Interim Evaluation of Joint Work Programme on Cities & Migration.', Cities Alliance and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
Landau, Loren (with K. Bule) (2020) 'A Drop in the Ocean: Labour Market Effects of South Africa’s Special Dispensation for Southern African Migrants', Report for the International Labour Organisation and the South African Department of Labour
Landau, Loren (with CW Kihato) (2019) 'The Future of Mobility and Migration Within and From Sub-Saharan Africa', Foresight Reflection Paper. Brussels: European Policy Analysis and Strategy System
26 May, 2023
Twelve ODID academics and DPhils to present at ECAS 2023
05 April, 2022
Loren Landau, Alexander Betts honoured with ISA awards
16 November, 2021
New joint Oxford-Wits project to study human mobility in Global South
30 May, 2021
New article co-authored by Loren Landau examines informal migration and Johannesburg’s socio-spatial transformation
28 June, 2021
Oxford, Wits University to launch jointly directed Mobility Governance Lab
19 March, 2021
New article co-authored by Loren Landau reflects on 'timespace trap' in Europe's response to African migration
17 Apr, 2023
'South Africa plans to deport thousands back to Zimbabwe'. Loren Landau speaks to The World
28 Jul, 2022
'Should there be freedom of movement between African countries?'. Loren Landau discussed some of the barriers in a debate for Debating Africa
10 Apr, 2022
'Immigration Debate | SA reaping the fruits of misrule - Researcher'. Loren Landau interviewed on independent national South African news station ENCA
08 Apr, 2022
'Does Europe have a double standard for refugees?'. Loren Landau takes part in discussion for Debating Africa
06 Apr, 2022
'Vigilantism on the rise in SA'. Loren Landau interviewed on The John Perlman Show
30 Mar, 2022
'Operation Dudula sparks xenophobic tensions'. Loren Landau interviewed on 'Afternoon Drive with John Maytham'
19 Jun, 2020
'A Time Capsule for Future Social Science Researchers: Loren B Landau'. In an interview with the Social Science Research Council, Loren Landau says COVID-19 offers oppressive states new powers to manage, exploit or sacrifice certain populations
28 Apr, 2020
'Coercion or the social contract? COVID-19 and spatial (in)justice in African cities'. In this co-authored open-access article, Loren Landau argues that the disease and the policy interventions intended to address the novel virus will inadvertently erode what resilience the urban poor have built to survive
08 Apr, 2020
'The Marooned Malaise: Covid-19 and Africa’s stolen futures'. Prof Loren Landau reflects on what the Covid-19 containment means for sub-Saharan African imaginations and politics
21 Feb, 2020
'Decolonization’s borders'. Loren Landau and Roni Amit discuss why South Africa needs a new politics that delivers on promises for South Africans and migrants residing within its borders


Research interests:

Urbanisation, migration, governance, politics, citizenship