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‘Building-States: political authority and architecture in Africa’ – public talk by Julia Gallagher

Building Africa’s fourth speaker event is on Thursday 22 February. The talk, ‘Building-States: political authority and architecture in Africa’, is based on research by the ASA project PI, Julia Gallagher.


17.00-18.30, Thursday 22 February

Brunei Gallery, SOAS, 10 Thornhaugh Street, London WC1H 0XG


The event is free and open to everyone. 



‘Building-States: political authority and architecture in Africa’

Julia will explore how states are made and why they matter in five African countries. She’ll do this by looking at state buildings, from parliaments to hospitals; from supreme courts to police stations, exploring their aesthetics, their role in public life, how they came to be built, who uses them and – most importantly – what citizens think about them. The talk is drawn from a five-year research project, African State Architecture, which is currently the subject of a public exhibition, Building Africa, at the Brunei Gallery at SOAS, University of London.

Julia Gallagher is a Professor in African Politics at SOAS and a Reader in International Development at Kings College London. Her research is about how citizens think about and help make states, combining political, social, aesthetic and psychoanalytic theory with extensive fieldwork. She has written on UK-Africa relations, Images of Africa and Zimbabwean conceptions of the state in relation to the wider world. She currently leads an ERC-funded project about Architecture and the State in sub-Saharan Africa and is finishing a book on State-Building/s in South Africa, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia.


The Building Africa Exhibition runs to 16 March 2024 at the Brunei Gallery at SOAS.


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