African Studies Seminar: How to Rig an Election: Reflections on Ten Years of Studying Democracy

nic cheeseman profile picture for oxox piece

Conveners: Andrea Purdeková and Miles Larmer

Speaker: Nic Cheeseman (Birmingham)

We are delighted to welcome Prof Nic Cheeseman, now of the University of Birmingham, to reflect on his outstanding contribution to the study of African politics at Oxford's African Studies Centre and the Department of Politics and International Development. The event will also see the launch of the new OUP book, co-edited by Prof Cheeseman, 'The African Affairs Reader: Key Texts in Politics, Development and International Relations’.

Nic Cheeseman joined the International Development Department of the University of Birmingham, on 1 January 2017 as the Professor of Democracy. He was previously Associate Professor of African Politics at the University of Oxford, where he held a number of positions including Director of the African Studies Centre (2013-14). Professor Cheeseman’s research focuses on democratization in Africa, and has taken in a range of different topics including populism, elections, political violence, parties, power sharing and decentralization. The lessons of these various projects were drawn together in his 2015 monograph, Democracy in Africa: Successes, failures and the struggle for political reform (Cambridge University Press). Nic is also the co-editor of a number of volumes including the collections Our Turn to Eat: Politics in Kenya Since 1950  (2010), The Handbook of African Politics (2013), and African Politics: Major Works (2016). He has just finished work on a co-authored book on presidential coalitions in comparative perspective, which will be published by Oxford University Press.


A former editor of the journal African Affairs, the #1 journal in Area Studies by impact factor, Professor Cheeseman is currently managing two major research and reference projects as the Founding Editor of the Oxford Encyclopaedia of African Politics and the Oxford Dictionary of African Politics (both OUP). In addition to research, Nic spends much of his time advising a broad range of policy makers including the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the UK government, various branches of the US government, and the Lagos State Government. He is also a Board Member of the UNESCO Chair on Communication Research and Africa and an advisor to, and writer for, Kofi Annan's African Progress Panel. When he can find the time, Professor Cheeseman also writes a column for Kenya’s Sunday Nation newspaper, and is a regular contributor to the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog.