Sixth Africanist Graduate Forum – University of Copenhagen

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Sixth Africanist Graduate Forum

The SIXTH meeting of the Africanist Graduate Forum is held FRIDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 2017, 13.15-17.00 at the Centre of African Studies, Building 8B, South Campus, Copenhagen University. (More details of how to find us are on our homepage at:

For those new to the Forum, it aims broadly at providing a space for Africanist PhD students spread widely across institutions in the Copenhagen and Øresund region and further afield to share and receive informed feedback on their work, learn about the work of other Africanists, generate/ discuss ideas for new research, explore possibilities for publishing, develop networks, and so on.

In this sixth Forum we are very pleased to bring together another group of three very interesting Africanist PhD scholars, of which one is registered for her PhD in Geography at Copenhagen University (KU), one is a PhD student in Politics, registered at Manchester University but currently a visiting scholar at the Centre of African Studies (CAS at KU); and one is doing his PhD in Economic History at Lund University.

We are pleased to continue the tradition so far established in the Forum meetings of having presentations that cover a range of different themes, disciplines, empirical locations and analytical perspectives, which also necessarily raise challenging theoretical and methodological questions for discussion. The intention is not to try and make the presentations cohere (even if some resonate more with some than others). Nor is it to assume that the common ground as Africanists is easy or straightforward to establish. African Studies is, rather, contested ground in itself – which is part of what makes such opportunities additionally interesting to bring together.

Below is an outline of the overall programme. This is followed by a few details about each of the presenters as well as abstracts of their papers


13.15 - 13.30

Arrival, welcome by Amanda Hammar (Director of CAS) and brief selfintroductions by PhDs and other participants

13.30 – 14.30 First paper by: Susanne Haunstrup Kirkegaard (Section of Geography, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management (IGN), Faculty of Science, Copenhagen University) 2 Title: Young people’s future-making and urban co-creation in small urban centres in rural Tanzania

14.30 -


Second paper by: Gediminas Lesutis (Department of Politics, University of Manchester, and Visiting Scholar at Centre of African Studies, Copenhagen University) Title: Precarity as direct violence and the spatialities of coping: the case of coal mining and displacement in Tete, Mozambique


- 15.45

Coffee break/informal conversations

15.45 - 16.45
 Third paper by: Sascha Klocke (Department of Economic History, School of Economics and Management, Lund University) Title: Formal Sector Income Inequality in British Tanganyika

16.45 - 17.00
 General announcements and closing

Drinks, snacks (the Faculty’s ‘TEO’ Bar is open for further socialising)

Section of Geography, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management (IGN), Faculty of Science, Copenhagen University

Title and abstract:

Young people’s future-making and urban co-creation in small urban centres in rural Tanzania

Young people below the age of 25 constitute up to 60% of the Sub-Saharan African population, but they have been largely absent in urban studies. Likewise, is urbanisation processes in small urban centres with populations figures around 20.000 absent in both academic and policy discussions concerning challenges and opportunities of an increasing level of urbanisation in SSA. It is estimated that up to 18% of the population live in dense settlements with no formal urban recognition. The number of small urban centres with population figures between 10.000 and 20.000 inhabitants has increased significantly over the last decades, though research investigating this urban transition of rural areas has been limited and often focused primarily on the economic transformations. This presentation redirects focus towards these small urban centres and how young people make use of and produce the rural-urban transformation of these places. And in particular, how young people in their future-making aspire, navigate and act the ’urban’ examined. 

Supervisor: Jytte Agergaard

Process: Currently a little more than 2 years into my 3-year PhD. Currently I have completed all my data collection, and am starting to write the articles which will form the base of my dissertation. Just starting now to formulate the analysis and conclusion.

Department of Politics, University of Manchester

Title and abstract:

Precarity as direct violence and the spatialities of coping: the case of coal mining and displacement in Tete, Mozambique

In this final empirical chapter of my thesis, I am concerned with precarity as a socio-politically altered condition of vulnerability, in this case created by the political economy of the coal mining enclave in the Province of Tete, Mozambique, and the forms of displacement it generates. I am particularly interested in what kinds of coping strategies the displaced populations employ to negotiate the conditions of precarity imposed by the mining enclave, and what forms of everyday politics are enacted as a result of this living and coping with precarity.

Supervisors: Dr Carl Death and Dr Japhy Wilson.

Process: I have been enrolled in the programme since September 2014. Currently I am writing up the empirical chapters, and will be submitting the thesis in June 2018. I will be able to share this paper before the Forum.

Department of Economic History, School of Economics and Management, Lund University

Title and abstract:

Formal Sector Income Inequality in British Tanganyika

Global and historical inequality continues to receive growing attention within academic research. In sub-Saharan African countries, current inequality levels are often high and have recently received a lot of attention, yet studies of long-term trends and historical inequality are still rare. This paper aims to add to the growing literature on inequality in colonial sub-Saharan Africa and test predictions concerning colonial inequality levels by analysing formal sector income inequality in British Tanganyika, particularly under British mandate (1916-1961). As official statistics on inequality during that period are lacking, this paper will follow a social tables approach, that is, using lists of economic classes and their estimated average incomes and population sizes. 

Supervisors: Ellen Hillbom, Lund University (main supervisor), Morten Jerven, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Oslo, and Lund University and Tobias Axelsson, Lund University (co-supervisors)

Process: I am currently at the beginning of my second year of a four-year PhD programme. Following an initial year of intense course work, I have only just started doing research on my dissertation fulltime this summer. More specifically, I am still collecting data, working on the final research plan, and in the early stages of analysing the first sets of data sources I have gathered so far.