Dr Robtel Neajai Pailey

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow

Robtel Neajai Pailey is a Liberian academic, activist and author with over 15 years of combined professional and personal experiences in Africa, Europe and North America. Her core areas of research expertise include the political economy of development, migration, race, citizenship, conflict, post-war recovery and governance, all with respect to Africa. She has conducted multi-sited fieldwork in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Denmark, Ghana, Liberia, Niger, Sierra Leone, Somaliland, the US and UK.

In her Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship project, Robtel examines how socio-economic development is mediated by race, citizenship and 'South-South' migration in Liberia and Sierra Leone – ‘founded’ by black migrants who adopted constitutional clauses in the 19th and 20th centuries, respectively, that prohibit non-blacks from obtaining citizenship. Seemingly ‘racist’, the ‘Negro’ clauses centre blackness as an explicit property of citizenship thereby challenging white supremacy and unsettling the very foundation of citizenship as nested in a predominantly white, liberal state.

Robtel has worked across a broad range of fields while supporting universities, governments, media institutions, multilateral, regional, non-governmental and community-based organisations. She has practitioner-based proficiencies in qualitative research, capacity development, policy design and analysis, programme management, report and grant writing, journalism and strategic communications. An increasingly sought-after thought leader and public scholar, Robtel has provided expert commentary for radio, television, print and online media across the globe.

She obtained BA degrees in African Studies and English Literature from Howard University in 2004, an MSc in African Studies from the University of Oxford in 2007 and a PhD in Development Studies from SOAS, University of London, in 2014.

Publications
News
In the media

Journal articles and special issues

Pailey, Robtel Neajai (with David Harris) (2017) 'Liberia’s run-up to 2017: continuity and change in a long history of electoral politics', Review of African Political Economy 44 (152) 322-35
Pailey, Robtel Neajai (2011) 'Evaluating the Dual Citizenship/State-building/Nation-building Nexus in Liberia', Liberian Studies Journal (36) 1 1-24
Pailey, Robtel Neajai (2007) 'A Diaspora Returns: Liberia Then and Now', Humanitas 9 (1) 3-35

Chapters

Pailey, Robtel Neajai (2019) 'Women, Equality, and Citizenship in Contemporary Africa'. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics
Pailey, Robtel Neajai (2017) 'Silver Lining, Silver Bullet or Neither? Post-War Opportunities and Challenges for Liberian Diasporas in Development'. Liberian Development Conference Anthology: Engendering Collective Action for Advancing Liberia’s Development , Monrovia, Liberia: USAID/Liberia, Embassy of Sweden and the University of Liberia
Pailey, Robtel Neajai (with Cindy Horst, Stephen Lubkemann) (2016) 'Diaspora Humanitarianism: The Invisibility of a Third Humanitarian Domain'. In Zeynep Sezgin, Dennis Dijkzeul (eds) The New Humanitarians in International Practice: Emerging Actors and Contested Principles , London and New York: Routledge
Pailey, Robtel Neajai (2014) 'Patriarchy, Power Distance, and Female Presidency in Liberia'. In Baba G Jallow (ed) Leadership in Post-Colonial Africa: Trends Transformed by Independence , London, UK: Palgrave Macmillan
Pailey, Robtel Neajai (2010) 'Craft and Concerns in Helene Cooper's The House at Sugar Beach'. In JKS Makokha, Remmy Barasa and Adeyemi Daramola (eds) Tales, Tellers and Talemaking: Critical Studies on Literary Stylistics and Narrative Styles in Contemporary African Literature , Berlin, Germany: Verlag Dr Mueller (VDM)
Pailey, Robtel Neajai (2007) 'Slavery Ain’t Dead, It’s Manufactured in Liberia’s Rubber'. In Patrick Bond, Firoze Manji (eds) From the Slave Trade to ‘Free’ Trade: How Trade Undermines Democracy and Justice in Africa , Nairobi, Kenya and Oxford, UK: Fahamu, Networks for Social Justice

Reports

Pailey, Robtel Neajai (with Maegan Hendow, Alessandra Bravi, Albert Kraler, Bernhard Perchinig and Katharina Schaur) (2018) 'Resilience in the Face of Adversity: A Comparative Study of Migrants in Crisis Situations', Vienna: International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD)
Pailey, Robtel Neajai (with Leander Kandilige, James Suah Shilue and Mahamadou Zongo) (2017) 'Côte d'Ivoire at a Crossroads: Socio-economic Development Implications of Crisis-induced Returns to Burkina Faso, Ghana and Liberia', Vienna: International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD)
Pailey, Robtel Neajai (with Henri Yambene Bomono and Remadji Hoinathy) (2017) ' Central African Republic at a Crossroads: Socio-economic Development Implications of Crisis-induced Returns to Cameroon and Chad', Vienna: International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD)
Pailey, Robtel Neajai (with Maegan Hendow, Alessandra Bravi) (2016) 'Migrants in Countries in Crisis. Emerging Findings: A Comparative Study of Six Crisis Situations', Vienna: International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD)
Pailey, Robtel Neajai (2016) 'Women's Resilience: Integrating Gender in the Response to Ebola', Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire: African Development Bank
Pailey, Robtel Neajai (2014) 'SDI's 10-year Positive Peace Crusade', Monrovia, Liberia: Sustainable Development Institute

Other publications

Pailey, Robtel Neajai (2019) 'Jaadeh! [anti-corruption children's sequel]', New York, New York: One Moore Book
Pailey, Robtel Neajai (2019) 'How Africa Can Adopt a Pan-African Migration and Development Agenda', The Africa Policy Journal
Pailey, Robtel Neajai (2016) 'Long-Term Socio-Economic Implications of "Crisis-Induced" Return Migration on Countries of Origin', Migrants in Countries in Crisis Research Brief Vienna: International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD)
Pailey, Robtel Neajai (2014) '2014 Ebola Outbreak Exposes Large Gaps in Financing Adequate Healthcare in West African Countries', Development Viewpoint No 82 Centre for Development Policy and Research, SOAS, University of London
Pailey, Robtel Neajai (2013) 'Gbagba [anti-corruption children's book]', New York, New York: One Moore Book
05 June, 2017
New article by Robtel Neajai Pailey on Liberia's 2014/15 Ebola outbreak
04 May, 2017
New article by Robtel Neajai Pailey looks ahead to Liberia's 2017 election
02 May, 2017
Senior Research Officer Robtel Neajai Pailey appointed to board of Monrovia Football Academy
30 November, 2016
ODID Africa specialists to present at ASA 2016

Pages

17 Jan, 2017
'Africa’s lessons for Trump’s America'. Read first of Robtel Neajai Pailey's new columns for New African Magazine
06 Nov, 2016
'US election: What does the rest of the world think?'. Robtel Neajai Pailey comments on implications for Africa in Al Jazeera Round Table
30 Sep, 2016
'How to deal with autocratic nations'. Robtel Neajai Pailey interviewed for Deutsche Welle
22 Sep, 2016
'Leaders must recognize migrants as human not hapless'. Robtel Neajai Pailey writes for Huffington Post
18 Jul, 2016
'The UN had to go, but is Liberia really prepared for peace?'. Robtel Neajai Pailey writes in The Conversation
15 Jun, 2016
'Why it is crucial to locate the "African" in African Studies'. Robtel Neajai Pailey writes in The Conversation

Pages

Research interests:

Political economy of development, migration, race, citizenship, conflict, post-war recovery and governance, all with respect to Africa.