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About Dr Suzanne Francis

And as Academic Leader for the International Affairs Cluster of undergraduate and postgraduate taught and research degree programmes:

  • (International Relations;
  • Conflict Transformation & Peace Studies;
  • Political Science; International Studies; Politics,
  • Philosophy & Economics; Government, Business and Ethics; Public Policy).

She retains an Honorary Associate Professorship in South Africa supervising PhD scholars and leading two international research projects. She has also taught courses, by invitation, as a Visiting Professor in the USA on three occasions and carried out research for the non-governmental and international development sector in various international development, conflict transformation and research roles. She is a keen photographer with a focus on women and conflict.


Before coming to the University of Chester, Suzanne developed multiple undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes, more than 30 modules and has supervised over 100 undergraduate dissertations, 30 MA dissertations and 19 PhD dissertations. She was twice honoured (in 2010 and 2016) as the University Recipient of the Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award. In 2015 she was awarded a prestigious TAU Fellowship by HELTASA. She is the leader of two international inter-institutional research projects in the scholarship of teaching and learning and has also researched and written on the pedagogies of the PhD and transforming approaches to education. She also conceptualised and runs a developmental field-school in the Southern Kalahari for doctoral scholars and has created over the years a number of postgraduate research development programmes.

At the University of Chester, she has conceptualised and developed a number of modules and also teaches others in the International Relations, Politics, and Economics Programmes. These include:

SO6901 - Africa in the World
SO6051 - International Political Economy
SO5703 - Global Politics and International Relations
SO5905 -  Diplomacy and Peace-Building
SO4005 -  Economic Thought and International Studies
SO5004 - Globalization and International Trade
Dissertation supervisor

She currently serves as the Programme Leader for the International Relations and Politics programmes.

Indicators of esteem

2020 Chester Students' Union 1839 Awards


Suzanne researches and publishes on African Politics; Conflict and Peace-Building; the Postcolony and Postcolonial approaches; International Political Economy; the Global South in International Relations; North-South perspectives; Sustainability; Pedagogies of the PhD; and transformational teaching.

She is the recipient of a number of major research grants – the National Research Foundation Competitive Research Grant; the Major Strategic Research Grant for Indigenous Knowledge. Her book – Institutionalizing Elites – was formerly nominated for the Vice-Chancellor’s University Book Prize and she was the recipient of the Leif Egland Award and the Andrew Mellon Research Award.

Research Supervision:

Suzanne has supervised, as sole supervisor, 19 PhD dissertations, more than 30 MA dissertations and more than 100 undergraduate Honours dissertations. These include topics such as:

  • Leadership Failure, State Collapse and External Intervention: Investigating Instability and Conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • Vertical integration peace-building in transforming African conflicts: peace mechanisms in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Somalia.
  • Amnesty as a Mechanism for Conflict Transformation: A Study of the Niger Delta Conflict in Nigeria.
  • Globalization, Sustainable Democracy and Deregulation in Nigeria: A Case Study of the Downstream Oil Sector.
  • Drivers of Nuclear proliferation in the Global South
  • Integration versus Repatriation: Demystifying conflicting perceptions and interests in the quest for the permanent settlement for Somali Refugees in Dadaab Camps in Northeastern Kenya
  • The Burden of the Future: An exploration of the aftermath of violent conflict in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo 2007-2017.
  • State Stability in the Horn of Africa: The problem of armed civilians and the proliferation of small and light arms in feuding pastoralist communities.
  • The Impact of the Kashmir Conflict on Indo-Pakistani Relations and its Security Implications for the South Asian Region.
  • A Policy Analysis of the Consequences of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project for Rural Communities in Lesotho: a case study of the communities affected by the construction of the Katse and Mohale Dams.
  • Inter-Organizational Institutional Relations in Policy Implementation: A Case Study of the KwaZulu-Natal Tourism Implementation Structure 2010-2013.
  • The Nature and Causes of Electoral Fraud in Nigeria: A Case Study of Ekiti State Relations.
  • The Politics of Human Trafficking in South Africa: A Case Study of the KwaZulu-Natal Inter-Sectoral Task Team.
  • The Politics of Local Government Finance in Nigeria.
  • Elections and Democratic Consolidation in West Africa: A comparative study of Senegal and Nigeria.
  • Minding the fiscal gap in KwaZulu-Natal: The prospects for improved financial oversight over the Provincial Government by the Provincial Legislature.

She has a strong commitment to the transformation of higher education by building research capacity among postgraduate and undergraduate scholars and welcomes enquiries from scholars and future scholars who are seeking a mentoring relationship and postgraduate development.

Published Work

Suzanne has produced more than 20 publications in the form of internationally peer-reviewed single authored, co-authored and collaborative monographs and books, and journal articles and, in addition to these, has worked on a variety of applied research publications for international social and government agencies across the Global North and Global South.

A few of these include:

Institutionalizing Elites (Brill: Leiden and Boston, 2011)

Selected Themes in African Political Conflict and Stability (Springer: New York, 2014)

The Edge of the Periphery: Situating the ≠Khomani San of the Southern Kalahari in the Political Economy of Southern Africa (African Identities, 2016)

Counter-Trafficking Governance in South Africa. (Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 2017)

Oil Corrupts Elections: The Political Economy of Vote Buying in Nigeria (African Studies Quarterly, 2015)

Elite Discourses on Human Trafficking: Media Waves and Moral Panicking (Strategic Review for Southern Africa, 2014)

Drivers of Nuclear Proliferation: South Africa’s incentives and constraints (Journal for African History, 2014)

Representation and Misrepresentation: San regional advocacy and the Global imagery (Critical Arts, 2010)

Gender, Numbers and Substance: The “Politics of Presence” and Parliamentary Women in KwaZulu-Natal (Transformation, 2010)

Political Violence and Conflict Transformation: The African National Congress - Inkatha Freedom Party Peace Process in KwaZulu-Natal (Gandhi Marg, 2010)

The IFP Campaign: ‘Indlovu ayisindwa kawbaphambili!’ in Southall, R. & Daniel, J. South African Election (Jacana, Johannesburg, 2010)

Current Research 2017-2018

“Take Me to Your Leader!” The Politics and Ethics of Fieldwork in Post-Conflict States (journal article)

The Postcolonial Burden: Land, Politics and Culture in the Political Economy of the Southern Kalahari (book/monograph)

The Political Economy of Conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR): Challenges to a sustainable peace.

Pedagogies of the PhD: Transforming the mid-point through the principles of Space, Access and Critical Consciousness (journal article)

Re-living, Remembering and “Developing” Agendas? The ≠Khomani San Living Museum and the struggles to re-claim the past (journal article)

Humanity, Expectations, Access and Transformation (HEAT): Revisiting Higher Education in a Postcolonial Context (journal article)


PhD: University of KwaZulu-Natal


Fellow: HEA