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Branwen Gruffydd Jones

Professor Branwen Gruffydd Jones

Professor of International Relations

School of Law and Politics

+44 29208 70409
Law Building, Room 2.46, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX


I joined Cardiff in March 2016 as Reader in International Relations, and served as Head of Department from September 2016 to August 2018. During 2018-19 I was Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Postcolonial Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London, and at the Instituto de História Contemporânea, Universidade Nova de Lisboa.

My teaching and research focus on Africa in international relations, encompassing a substantive empirical focus on international policy, a strong concern with postcolonial debates about the politics and epistemology of scholarship, and an examination of African international political thought. My current research focuses on African Anticolonialism in International Relations.

I am a Contributing Editor ofthe journal Review of African Political Economy, having previously served for many years as member of the Editorial Working Group, and as Book Reviews Editor 2008-14.





















Book sections



My current project, African Anticolonialism in International Relations, examines the political thought and practice of the liberation movements of Portugal’s African colonies in the broader continental and global context of decolonisation. During 2016-2020 I was  a member of a team of colleagues based in Portugal working on the collaborative project Amílcar Cabral, da História Política às Políticas da Memória (Amílcar Cabral, from political history to the politics of memory), funded by the Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (PTDC/EPH-HIS/6964/2014).

My research has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the British Academy, with additional support from the University of Aberdeen Visiting Scholars Programme; Goldsmiths, University of London; and Cardiff University School of Law and Politics Research Fund.

My research has pursued three related and overlapping strands of enquiry:

i) a substantive critical focus on international policy with regard to Africa

My ESRC-funded doctoral research examined the contemporary international discourse of poverty alleviation in Africa, focusing specifically on rural poverty in Mozambique:

2006 Explaining Global Poverty: A Critical Realist Approach, London: Routledge

2003 ‘Explaining Global Poverty: A realist critique of the orthodox approach’, in Justin Cruickshank (ed) Critical Realism: the difference that it makes, London: Routledge, London, pp. 221-239.

2003, ‘The civilised horrors of over-work: Marxism, imperialism and development of Africa’ Review of African Political Economy 30 (95): 33-44

2003 ‘Appearances and realities of post-war reconstruction in Mozambique’, Portuguese Literary and Cultural Studies 10: 49-67

2003 ‘‘The massive presence of the past and the outside’: presences, absences and possibilities for emancipation in the current global condition’, Journal of Critical Realism 1 (2): 1-26

2002 ‘Globalisation and the freedom to be poor: from colonial political coercion to the economic compulsion of need’, Portuguese Studies Review (Special issue on Portugal and Africa) 10 (1): 108-128

Subsequently I have explored two dimensions of contemporary international policy discourse with regard to the global south in general and Africa in particular.

First, on the basis of collaborative work with Julian Saurin and Alison Ayers with the conference The Global Constitution of ‘Failed States’: the Consequences of a New Imperialism?, University of Sussex, April 2001, and with support of an ESRC post-doctoral fellowship, I developed a critique of the notion of ‘failed states’ within international development and security discourse:

2014 ‘‘Good governance’ and ‘state failure’: the pseudo-science of statesmen in our times’ in Alex Anievas, Nivi Manchanda, and Robbie Shilliam (eds) Race and Racism in International Relations: Confronting the Global Colour Line, London: Routledge, pp. 62-80

2013 ‘‘Good governance’ and ‘state failure’: Genealogies of Imperial discourse’ Cambridge Review of International Affairs 26 (1): 49-70

2008 ‘The global political economy of social crisis: towards a critique of the ‘Failed State’ ideology’ Review of International Political Economy 15 (2): 180-205

Second, with funding from the British Academy I examined the neo-liberal basis of contemporary international urban development policy, with a specific focus on ‘slum-upgrading’ approaches:

2012 ‘‘Bankable Slums’: the global politics of slum upgrading’ Third World Quarterly 33 (5): 769-789

2012 ‘Civilising African Cities: International housing and urban policy from colonial to neoliberal times’ Journal of Intervention and State Building 6 (1): 39-56

2010 ‘‘Cities Without Slums’? Global architectures of power and the African city’ in Karel Bakker (ed), The African City Centre (re)Sourced, University of Pretoria, South Africa, pp. 57-68

ii) postcolonial debates about the politics and epistemology of international thought

This strand of research, which grew out of my more substantive policy-focused research, explores the broad problem of eurocentrism and race within the discipline of International Relations, and the more specific dimensions of this problem within Africanist scholarship:

2006 (editor) Decolonising International Relations, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield (with support from British Academy)

2016 ‘Definitions and categories: Epistemologies of race and critique’, Postcolonial Studies, 19 (2): 1-12

2015 ‘Africanist scholarship, eurocentrism and the politics of knowledge’ in  Marta Araújo & Silvia Rodríguez Maeso (eds) ‘Race’, racism and knowledge production: debates on history, political struggles and academia in Europe and the Americas, Birmingham: Palgrave, pp. 114-135

2013 with Heller, C., ‘Networks and infrastructures of political agency - The Political Mobilisation of the Women of the Market in Lomé’ in Bice Maiguashca and Raffaele Marchetti (eds) Contemporary Political Agency: Theory and Practice, London: Routledge, pp. 163-183

2012 ‘Slavery, Finance and International Political Economy: Postcolonial reflections’ in Sanjay Seth (ed) Postcolonial Theory and International Relations: A Critical Introduction, London: Routledge, pp. 49-69

2011 ‘‘Neither stubborn courage nor fine slogans are enough’. Postcolonial reflections on anti-globalisation resistance” in Benjamin Opratko and Oliver Prausmüller (eds) Gramsci global: Neogramscianische Perspektiven in der Internationalen Politischen Ökonomie, Hamburg: Argument Verlag, pp. 241-264 [in German translation]

2008 ‘Race in the ontology of international order’ Political Studies, 56 (4): 907-927

2006 ‘International Relations, Eurocentrism and Imperialism’ in Branwen Gruffydd Jones (ed), Decolonising International Relations, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, pp. 1-19

2006 ‘Decolonising International Relations: Imperatives, Possibilities and Limitations’ in Branwen Gruffydd Jones (ed), Decolonising International Relations, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, pp. 219-241

2005 ‘Africa and the poverty of International Relations’ Third World Quarterly 26 (5): 987-1003

iii) an examination of African international political thought, including in African film

2020 ‘Race, Culture and Liberation: African anticolonial thought and practice in the time of decolonisation’, International History Review42 (6): 1238-1256

2019 ‘Time, History, Politics: Anticolonial Constellations’, Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, 21 (5): 592-614

2018, ‘African Anticolonialism in International Relations: Against the Time of Forgetting’ in Zubairu Wai and Marta Iniguez de Heredia  (eds) Recentering Africa in International Relations: Beyond Lack, Peripherality, and Failure, New York: Palgrave, pp. 187-223

2017 ‘Comradeship, committed and conscious: the anti-colonial archive speaks to our times’ in Isaac Kamola and Shiera Malik (eds) Politics of the African Anticolonial Archive, Rowman and Littlefield, pp. 73-98

2015 ‘Le Malentendu International: remembering international relations with Jean-Marie Teno’ Alternatives: Local, Global, Political, 40 (2): 1-23

2015 ‘From rupture to revolution: race, culture and the practice of anti-colonial thought’ African Identities 13 (1): 4-17

2011 ‘Internationalism and anti-racism in the thought and practice of Mondlane, Neto, Cabral and Machel’ in Robbie Shilliam (ed) International Relations and Non-Western Thought: Imperialism, Colonialism and Investigations of Global Modernity, London: Routledge, pp. 47-63

2008 ‘Tell No Lies, Claim No Easy Victories: possibilities and contradictions of emancipatory struggles in the current neo-colonial condition’ in Alison J. Ayers (ed) Gramsci, Political Economy, and International Relations Theory: Modern Princes and Naked Emperors, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 209-228


I currently teach or have recently taught the following modules: Decolonising the Present (MSc/MA International Relations); Africa in International Thought: Colonialism, Anticolonialism, Postcolonialism (third year undergraduate); Colonialism, Global Political Economy and Development (second year undergraduate); Introduction to Globalisation (first year undergraduate).

In 2018 I was delighted to receive student nominations for the Enriching Student Life Awards scheme, under the categories of Most Uplifting Lecturer, and Most Innovative Lecturer.


I joined Cardiff in March 2016 as Reader in International Relations, and served as Head of Department from September 2016 to August 2018.

I was previously Lecturer and then Senior Lecturer in International Political Economy in the Department of Politics at Goldsmiths, University of London (2007-2016); Lecturer in African Political Economy, University of Leeds (2006-7); Lecturer in International Relations, University of Aberdeen (2003-2006); and ESRC Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in International Relations, University of Sussex (2002-3). I obtained my DPhil and MA (Development Studies) from the University of Sussex and my BA (General Engineering) from the University of Cambridge. After graduating with an engineering degree I worked in Uganda for a year (1994-5) for Rwenzori Highlands Tea Company, and then for nine months (1996) with the water engineering company General Utilities Projects in Watford, part of the French company Générale des Eaux.


I am currently co-supervising Harry Conway's doctoral research into the implementation of REDD+ forest management projects in Liberia.