Dr Akin Iwilade


Before coming to Leeds, I taught International Relations for five years at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria where I had received a BSc and an MSc in International Relations. I also hold an MSc in African Studies and a doctorate in International Development from the University of Oxford. I am currently a member of the Editorial Working Group of the Review of African Political Economy and Book Reviews Editor for the Leeds University Center of African Studies (LUCAS) Bulletin.

Research interests

My research has focussed primarily on the politics of violent youth in Africa, especially in extractive contexts like the oil rich Niger Delta region of Nigeria. I have also researched the role of social movements in the forming and sustenance of political authority at the regional level in West Africa. Output from these research areas have appeared in leading journals including the Journal of Modern African Studies, Journal of Contemporary African Studies, Africa Spectrum, Journal of Youth Studies and Extractive Industries and Society. My article about youth infrastructures of violence in Nigeria's Niger Delta published in the Journal of Modern African Studies was awarded the 'best article published on Africa' prize for 2014 by the African Politics and Conference Group of the African Studies Association at its 54th Annual meeting in San Francisco in December 2015. I have received recognition and funding support for various aspects of my research from a wide range of organisations including grants from the Social Science Research Council, the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), the Carnegie Corporation of New York, scholarship funding from the University of Oxford, and awards from Obafemi Awolowo University, Oxford University, Columbia University and the International Institute of Education. My research actvities have also suported short term  consultancies with various organisations including Think Tank Innitiative, Tana Forum for Security in Africa and Friedrich Erbert Stiftung. 

Currently, I am working on three research projects. The first one looks at the shifting geographies of covert gang networks who appear to be exploring innovative migratory routes from west Africa to Europe. The goal here is to understand how new waves of migration subvert or transform statehood in a new age of globalisation. The second focusses on exploring multiple citizenship questions that emerge out of the informal production and distribution of fuel in the Gulf of Guinea area and how it impacts on notions of statehood. Finally, I am working on middle class youth identity formation in Africa.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • DPhil International Development (Oxon)
  • MSc African Studies (Oxon)
  • MSc International Relations (Ife)
  • BSc International Relations (Ife)

Professional memberships

  • International Political Science Association
  • Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA)
  • Association for Third Sector Research (ATSR)
  • Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA)
  • African Association of Rhetoric
  • International Association for Conflict Management
  • Association of American Geographers

Student education

I currently teach modules that focus on various aspects of the politics of Africa at both graduate and undergraduate levels.

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for African Studies
  • Centre for Global Development