The School of Humanities and Social Sciences hosted Professor Nic Cheeseman (Professor of Democracy and International Development, University of Birmingham) for a guest lecture on “Writing a Scholarly Paper for Publication and how to get Published” on Tuesday, August 1 in the DVC-ASA Boardroom.

Professor Cheeseman who works in the fields of comparative politics and development with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa and processes of democratization, has undertaken extensive research addressing a range of questions such as whether populism is an effective strategy of political mobilization, how paying tax changes citizens' attitudes towards democracy and corruption, and the conditions under which ruling parties lose power.

In 2008, his doctoral thesis, "The Rise and Fall of Civil Authoritarianism in Africa", won the Arthur McDougall Dissertation Prize of the Political Studies Association of the UK for the best dissertation on elections, electoral systems or representation. Meanwhile, a recent article, 'Ethnopopulism in Africa: Opposition Mobilization in Diverse and Unequal Societies' [with Miles Larmer] won the Frank Cass Award for the Best Article Published in Democratization (2015).

In addition to these articles, Professor Cheeseman has also published a number of edited collections including Our Turn To Eat: Kenyan Politics Since 1950 (2010), The Handbook of African Politics (2013), and African Politics: Major Works (2016). His first monograph, Democracy in Africa: Successes, Failures and the Struggle for Political Reform was published in March 2015 by Cambridge University Press (CUP). A second monograph, How to Rig An Election, is currently under contract with Yale, while a further edited collection on the importance of formal political institutions in Africa is under contract at CUP.

To date, he has raised over £2 million in research funding for a range of projects including two current Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)- funded studies of the impact of elections in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda and presidentialism in Africa, Latin America, and Post-communist Europe. At the same time, he runs a collaborative research program with the Westminster Foundation for Democracy on the Political Economy of Democracy Promotion and is part of the Media, Conflict and Democratization research consortium that is funded by the European Union.

Prof. Nic Cheeseman was invited to speak to the graduate and doctoral students who are commencing their process of preparing academic papers for publishing in peer-reviewed journals. In his lecture, Prof. Cheeseman began with emphasizing the importance of choosing a topic that is within the author's niche, and a style that matches the topic being tackled. He requested his audience to select a journal that focuses on the selected area of interest, based on the journal's previously published articles, and its editors’ published interests.  Finally, Prof. Cheeseman underlined the need for a strong introduction if the academic paper is to be seriously considered for publishing.

The Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences Dr. Tom Onditi who also attended the lecture, thanked Prof. Cheeseman for sparing the time to speak to the students and faculty, while International Relations Program Director Dr. Fatma Ali agreed that there was a significant need for further seminars on academic writing, inviting Prof. Cheeseman back on campus to share his broad academic publishing experience with the students and faculty.