Professor Loren Landau

Professor of Migration and Development

Loren Landau is Professor of Migration and Development at the Oxford Department of International Development and Associate Professor with the African Centre for Migration & Society (ACMS) at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg where he was the founding director. He has previously held the South African Research Chair on Mobility & the Politics of Difference and visiting or faculty positions at Georgetown, Princeton, and Tufts Universities. He 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 Times, Foreign 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. Now a member of the Academy of Science of South African, he holds an MSc in Development Studies (LSE) and a PhD in Political Science (Berkeley).

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

Sibongile Zulu
Research Student

Journal articles and special issues

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) '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 (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 (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
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
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
16 Sep, 2019
'What’s Behind the Deadly Violence in South Africa?'. Loren Landau writes for the New York Times on how local politics in South Africa shapes the reception of urban migrants, highlighting the role of local 'gangster' governance in the country's xenophobia
Research interests:

Urbanisation, migration, governance, politics, citizenship