Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

School of Politics and International Studies

Contact Details

Dr Alexander Beresford

Associate Professor in African Politics

I joined POLIS in 2011 after completing my doctorate at the Centre of African Studies in Edinburgh. I currently edit the Review of African Political Economy and Critical African Studies. I’m also on the editorial board of the Journal of Southern African Studies.

I’m a Senior Research Associate at the Centre for Social Change at the University of Johannesburg.

Research Interests

My research interests include: South African politics, authoritarianism in Africa, transitional justice, and neopatrimonial politics.

My current work explores ‘resilient authoritarianisms’ in Africa and is focused on South Africa and Rwanda. I’m also preparing a paper on South Africa’s relationship with the ICC.

I’ve blogged on the African Arguments website and The Conversation and can be followed on Twitter: @A_Beresford

My research has been widely disseminated in international media, where my fieldwork data and conceptual innovations have been widely discussed and debated in leading broadsheet newspapers such as the Mail & Guardian, Financial Mail, Daily Maverick and Business Day.

I have also been regularly interviewed by the Economist and Time Magazine and I have edited a special issue of the Review of African Political Economy looking at the legacies of Nelson Mandela’s leadership.


I’m passionate about teaching and in 2015 I won the POLIS Award for Inspirational Teaching. I also made the final shortlist for the University of Leeds Partnership Award for Inspirational Teaching in 2013.

I lead the level two module ‘State and Politics in Africa’ and the level three module ‘Violence and Reconciliation in Africa’. I also teach on the MA module ‘Global Inequalities and Development.’

I’m currently the ESSL Faculty Champion for Blended Learning and I am currently leading efforts to promote e-marking across the Faculty. I have also created a video about the ‘dangers of plagiarism’ for students. 

    PhD Supervision

    I welcome proposals in the areas of:

    • South African politics and society
    • African politics
    • Corruption, neopatrimonialism
    • Africa and the ICC

    Key Publications


    A Beresford (2016) South Africa’s Political Crisis: Unfinished liberation and fractured class struggles Palgrave: Basingstoke


    A Beresford 2017 (forthcoming) “Transitional Justice, Liberal Peace and Unending Violence: South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission 20 Years on” International Journal of Human Rights

    E-L Anderson and A Beresford 2016 “Infectious Injustice: The Political Origins of the Ebola Outbreak in Sierra Leone” Third World Quarterly 37 (3). pp. 468-486 http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01436597.2015.1103175

    A Beresford 2015 “Power, Patronage, and Gatekeeper Politics in South Africa” African Affairs 114 (455). pp. 226-248 http://afraf.oxfordjournals.org/content/114/455/226.full.pdf+html

    A Beresford 2015 “A Responsibility to Protect Africa from the West? South Africa and the NATO Intervention in Libya” International Politics 52 (3). pp. 288-304 http://www.palgrave-journals.com/ip/journal/v52/n3/pdf/ip201511a.pdf

    A Beresford 2014 “Nelson Mandela and the Politics of Unfinished Liberation” Review of African Political Economy 41 (140). pp. 297-305

    A Beresford 2012 “The Politics of Regenerative Nationalism in South Africa” Journal of Southern African Studies 38 (4). pp. 863 884 http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03057070.2012.744872

    A Beresford 2012 "Organised Labour and the Politics of Class Formation in South Africa" Review of African Political Economy 39 (134). pp. 569-589 http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03056244.2012.738417

    A Beresford 2009 "Comrades 'Back on Track'? The Durability of the Tripartite Alliance in South Africa." African Affairs 108 (432). pp. 391-412 http://afraf.oxfordjournals.org/content/108/432/391.short


    A Beresford 2016 “Africa Rising?” Review of African Political Economy http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03056244.2016.1149369#.V4N3-KJWU8A

    A Beresford and H Cross 2015 “The Politics of Globalized Labour in Africa” Critical African Studies http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/rcaf20/current

    A Beresford 2014 “Understanding how ‘Africa Works’?” Critical African Studies

    A Beresford 2014 “Nelson Mandela and the Political Economy of Unfinished Liberation” Review of African Political Economy

    Media Contact Areas

    • South African politics

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