Cyril Owen Brandt

Cyril Owen Brandt is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Development Policy (University of Antwerp). Before, he finished his PhD candidate at the International Development Studies programme at the UvA, within the Education and International Development ISAcademy research group.

His current research focuses on the Second Population and Housing Census in the DRC (RGPH2). More particularly, he is analysis the persistence of this project despite a lack of tangible results. The project was authorised in 2009 and has received funding by several donors, yet remains unachieved.

His PhD research was on the political economy around the (non-)registration of public school teachers in the Democratic Republic of Congo. He investigated the discursive emergence of unregistered teachers in the 1970s and analysed how different actors attempted to establish a complete and reliable teacher database. Working with the concept of legibility, his main claim was that ‘illegibility is a state effect’ in its own right.

Furthermore, his is looking at the predicaments of internally displaced and returning teachers in a recurrent armed conflict in Haut-Katanga. He is mainly interested in the (perceived) reasons for attacks on teachers, and the way in which the administration governs teachers throughout conflicts.

A further interest has been on the expansion of the education system in the DRC, and the role of brokers (Members of Parliaments and educational administrators) in that process. He demonstrates that the ‘state-building’ process has led to a proliferation of brokers which has facilitated massive but unregulated educational expansion.

Finally, he is working on teacher payment reforms and has analysed the bancarisation reform. Drawing on spatial data he attempts to show that the reform survived despite significant organisational and infrastructural shortcomings.

Current position
Postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Development Policy (University of Antwerp).

PhD International Development Studies (University of Amsterdam)
Research M.Sc. International Development Studies (University of Amsterdam).
B.A. Cultural Sciences; B.Sc. Business Administration (University of Duisburg-Essen).

Previous research subjects
Microfinance in Benin, Bangladesh and Peru.

Country of focus
Democratic Republic of Congo (the province of Haut-Katanga in particular).


Fellow member
University of Antwerp