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Dr Clive Gabay, BA (Leicester), MA (Birkbeck College) PhD (Open University)


Senior Lecturer

Telephone: 020 7882 5832
Room Number: Arts One, 2.21
Office Hours: Tuesday 10.30-11.30am & Wednesday 11am-12pm


I graduated in Politics from the University of Leicester and then went on to study for a Masters degree in Imperialism and Post-Colonial Societies at Birkbeck College, UoL, simultaneously working as a researcher for the UK Department for International Development. Following this I returned to do a PhD at the Open University, and in 2010 joined the School of Politics and International Relations at QMUL. In 2011 and 2012 I won British International Studies Association Conference Awards, the first of which funded a conference on liberal state-building in Africa, the second on protest in Africa. The first of these resulted in a co-edited book that came out in 2014 with Routledge, called Critical Perspectives on African Politics: Liberal Interventions, State Building and Civil Society. In 2015 I published a book on development and democracy in post-Cold War Malawi. The field-research for this book was enabled through a British Academy Small Research Grant, awarded in 2012. I also directed a major conference in September 2014 called After 2015: Development and its Alternative, hosted as part of the British Academy Conference scheme. In 2015 I was awarded a two-year Arts and Humanities Early Career Research Leaders Fellowship to investigate the role of racialisation in optimistic coverage of Africa’s place in the contemporary international order.

Research Gate Profile profile

Twitter: @clivesg

Blog: Colonial Interregnums/African Spaces



Undergraduate Teaching

POL244 The International Politics of the Developing World (Level 5)
POL372 Africa and International Politics (Level 6)


Research Interests:

Alongside a book I am writing for Cambridge University Press (due out in 2018) on the relationship between changing ideas about Whiteness and Western political social and economic forecasts about Africa, I am also currently engaged in a theory project that seeks to explore the potential contributions to international political theory of the mystical German Jewish Anarchist, Gustav Landauer. This all goes alongside an enduring interest in critical approaches to understanding development interventions and state-society relations in Africa.

Past projects include an analysis of international development policy, civil society and state building in Malawi (resulting in a number of published papers and a book published by Lexington in 2015), and an analysis along similar lines but in a more global context, with a book published in 2012 with Routledge assessing a large global civil society network called the Global Call to Action against Poverty.

Examples of research funding:

2015-2017 Historicising Contemporary Africa Rising Narratives, Arts and Humanities Research Council, £175,000

2014 After 2015: Development and its Alternatives, British Academy Conferences Award, £30,000

2012 A Double-Edged Sword: The Millennium Development Goals and Civil Society in Malawi, British Academy Small Research Grant, £7,500




Gabay, C. (Forthcoming 2018) Imagining Africa: Whiteness and the Western Gaze (Cambridge University Press)

Gabay, C. (2015) Exploring an African Civil Society: Development and Democracy in Malawi, 1994 2014 (Boulder: Lexington Books)

Death, C. And Gabay, C. Eds. (2014) Critical Perspectives on African Politics: Liberal Interventions, State Building and Civil Society (London, New York: Routledge)

Gabay, C. (2012) Civil Society and Global Poverty: Hegemony, Inclusivity, Legitimacy (London, New York: Routledge)

Journal Articles:

Gabay, C. (Forthcoming 2017) The Radical and Reactionary Politics of Malawi's Hastings Banda: roots, fruit and legacy, Journal of Southern African Studies

Gabay, C. and S. Ilcan (2017) The affective politics of the Sustainable Development Goals: Partnership, capacity-building, and big data, Globalizations, 17(2)

Gabay, C. and Death, C. (2015) Doing Biopolitics Differently? Radical Potential in the Post-2015 MDG and SDG Debates, Globalizations, 12:4, pp. 597-612

Gabay, C. (2014) 'Two ‘transitions’: the political economy of Joyce Banda's rise to power and the related role of civil society organisations in Malawi' Review of African Political Economy Volume 41, Issue 141, pp. 374-388

Gabay, C. Pugh, J. and Williams, A. (2013) Reassertions of national interest: reflections on the UK Coalition Government's security-development nexus? Geoforum, 44, pp.  193?201

Gabay, C. (2012) ?The Millennium Development Goals and Neoliberal Engineering? Third World Quarterly, 33:7, pp.1249-1265

Death, C. and Gabay, C.  (2012)  ?Building States and Civil Societies in Africa: Liberal Interventions and Global Governmentality?, Journal of Intervention and State Building, 6:1, pp.1-6

Gabay, C. (2011) ?Poverty eradication and the elimination of dissent: The Millennium Development Goals and civil society in Malawi?, Globalizations Vol. 8, No. 3

Berry, C. and Gabay, C. (2009), ?Transnational political action and ?global civil society? in practice: the case of Oxfam?, Global Networks, Vol. 9, No. 3, 339-358

Gabay, C. (2008) ?Anarcho-cosmopolitanism: The universalisation of the equal exchange?, Global Society, Vol. 22, No. 2, 197-216

Book Chapters:

Gabay, C. (2010) ‘De-naming the beast: the multiple publicities of the Global Call to Action against Poverty’ in Barnett, C. Mahony, N. and Newman, J (eds) Rethinking the Public: Innovations in Research, Theory and Policy, (Bristol: Policy Press) pp. 127-143

Gabay, C. (2009) ‘Anarchy, Decentralization and Autonomy at the Seattle anti-WTO protests’, in Jun, N (ed) New Perspectives on Anarchism, (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books) pp. 121-133

PhD Supervision

I would be delighted to supervise doctoral theses in the following areas:

  • Race and International Relations/International Order
  • Temporality, mysticism and messianism in early 20th Century radical political theory and praxis
  • Critical approaches (Foucauldian, theories of affect, etc.) to development interventions and state-society relations in sub-Saharan Africa

Current PhD students:
Jenna Marshall, Decolonial educational strategies and methodology in Barbados
Titilayo Ayoola, Participatory Rural Development in South West Nigeria


Current PhD students:

Public Engagement

In a previous project I contributed to the development of accountability mechanisms within a large global civil society network, the Global Call to Action against Poverty ( More recently I have become a regular contributor to international news stories on contemporary events in Malawi, and political protests in Africa more broadly. I have also acted as a consultant for a BBC World Documentary on Gender in World Politics.


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