Stephen Ellis Annual Lecture

Stephen Ellis (1953-2015) was a renowned senior researcher at the African Studies Centre Leiden. He was a courageous, deeply inquisitive researcher, going further than most researchers of his generation to uncover hidden truths about Africa. He combined a great interest in how ‘real politics’ work and have an impact on people’s lives, with a fascination for the role of religion and morality. He did so as a historian, with particular attention for the way history influences the present. With the Stephen Ellis Annual Lecture, the African Studies Centre Leiden wants to honour Stephen Ellis as the great scholar he was and encourages others to work in his spirit.

Every year, a committee consisting of the director of the African Studies Centre Leiden, the Chair of the ASCL Researchers Assembly and Prof. Gerrie ter Haar (Stephen Ellis’ widow) invites a scholar to give the Annual Lecture.

2016 Lecture

Muna Ndulo

This year’s lecture was given by Muna Ndulo, Professor of Law at Cornell University, USA.
Title: ‘Ethnicity, diversity, inclusivity and constitution making in Africa’ 
Date: Thursday 17 November
Time: 18.30 
In his lecture, Professor Ndulo identified key issues that must be addressed in the constitution making process to promote inclusiveness and a sense of citizenship and ownership of the political process in a diverse nation state.

Past Lectures

10 December 2015: Howard W. French, associate professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, USA.
Title: ‘How today's China-Africa encounter came about and what it means for the world
In his lecture Howard French spoke about the large numbers of new Chinese migrants that came to Africa in the early to mid 1990s, focusing on the question of the global geopolitical and economic setting that pushed events in this direction. 

About Stephen Ellis

Stephen Ellis was a historian with a broad range of interests in contemporary history and politics. In his most recent book, This Present Darkness: A History of Nigerian Organised Crime (posthumously published in April 2016), Ellis investigates how Nigeria became a breeding ground for illicit trade, large-scale corruption and organised crime. His book External Mission: The ANC in Exile 1960-1990 was awarded the Recht Malan Prize for Non-Fiction in South Africa. It's a meticulous study of the little-known history of the ANC's long period of exile. In addition to his work at the ASCL, Stephen Ellis was a Desmond Tutu Professor in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the VU University, Amsterdam. He was a member of various editorial boards, including that of the journal African Affairs, of which he was a former editor.

Read the In Memoriam on our website, which also contains an overview of the many obituaries published by colleague researchers and journalists from all over the world. 

Publications by Stephen Ellis

For a list of publications, visit Stephen Ellis' Bibliography or his profile page. You can find the list of publications by Stephen Ellis in the ASCL catalogue