The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Staff Profile

Dr Laura Routley

Senior Lecturer in African and Postcolonial Politics


Dr. Laura Routley completed her PhD in International Politics at Aberystwyth University in 2010.  Her thesis examined national NGOs in Nigeria and their engagements with donors and the Nigerian state, exploring themes of corruption and the performativity of the local and the global.  It will be published by Routledge Interventions Series as a book Negotiating Corruption: Hybridity NGOs and the Nigerian State in 2015.   Laura is currently developing a new project on prisons in West Africa.  


Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Studies in Academic Practice (CASAP)  Distinction, 2013PhD International Politics, Aberystwyth University 2006-2010: The negotiation of 'corruption' by NGOs in Eastern Nigeria: Engagements with local culture and global governance. ] ESRC Scholarship Funded

MSc (Econ) Postcolonial Politics, University of Wales Aberystwyth 2004-2005

BSc (Econ) International Relations 2:1, University of Wales Aberystwyth 1995-1998


Previous Appointments Held

Research Associate: Effective States and Inclusive Development Research Centre University of Manchester.  June 2011 – July 2012

Teaching Assistant:  School of Geography, Politics and Sociology Newcastle University. September 2010 – May 2011



·      Member of Royal African Society and the African Studies Association of the UK

·      Member of British International Studies Association

o   Member of BISA Africa and International Studies working group.

o   Member of BISA Colonial Postcolonial Decolonial working group

·      Associate Fellow of The Higher Education Academy 


The Politics of Prisons: West African prisons and forms of governance

Prisons in Africa were instituted under colonialism with a distinctly different remit and purpose to their contemporary penal institutions in Europe which, following previous reforms, focused on the reformation of the prisoner. Given this institutional history this research aims to understand how the purpose of prisons is understood, both by inmates and prison officers in contemporary postcolonial West Africa.  This is a particularly interesting question for political scholars given the prominence given by Foucault to the importance for the reform of prisons as an indicator of the changing relationship between government and the population.


Negotiating Corruption: NGOs in Eastern Nigeria

NGOs are usually seen as anti-corruption agents.  This research, based on participant observation and interviews with NGO workers, explores their role in obtaining accountability from the state and the way in which they undertake grey practices in order to get the outcomes that they perceive a fully functioning state would produce.  This complicates their role as anti-corruption agents and also highlights the assumptions within the literature about how the state is held to account. 


Political Economy Analyses for Development

Research on the use of Political Economy Analyses by development agencies tracing the growth of the practice and the purposes that development agencies see the analyses as fulfilling.  I am particularly interested in the ways in which these analyses attempt to present complex situations as knowable and governable. 


Research Administration

I am currently the convener of the Newcastle Postcolonial Research Group 

PhD Supervision 

Given these themes I would be very interested to supervise PhD students who wanted to examine the following themes in African contexts.  

-          The African State

-          Prisons

-          NGOs

-          Corruption

-          Postcolonial approaches 

Current PhD Students

John Davis


Undergraduate Teaching

POL2088 The Politics of Africa: Africa's Place in Global Politics (Module Leader)

POL3101 Postcolonial Politics (Module Leader)

Undergraduate and Postgraduate dissertation supervision