Barbara Harlow Prize: 2018 Finalists

Oloruntoyin Falola Discussion

We are pleased to announce the finalists for the 2018 Barbara Harlow prize for best paper by a graduate student at our annual conference. These five young scholars are all at the beginning of very bright careers, and we will continue to expect big things from them going forward.


Toyin Falola



Ilari Aula

London School of Economics and Political Science

"Unpacking the 'contribution': The responsibility of consumers for conflicts in eastern DR Congo and southern Nigeria"

Over the past 15 years, the claim that consumers in the OECD countries are contributing to conflicts upstream in global supply chains has been voiced in different forms. The narrative of   ‘blood’ diamonds, minerals and oil that binds final consumers with atrocities abroad, has turned out to be a successful advocacy tool in the OECD countries: legislative, policy and corporate initiatives to make supply chains of natural resources responsible are proliferating. This paper analyses the role of consumers by using methods of jurisprudence and moral philosophy. First, it engages with legal theories of causation to interrogate to what extent the alleged role of consumers resonates with the most common conceptions of responsibility. Second, it applies recent work on responsibility in global ethics, especially theories by Leif Wenar and Christian Barry. Third, it complements the theoretical analysis with empirical findings, which consist of 60 interviews and fieldwork in the eastern DR Congo and Nigeria conducted in 2017. The paper bridges applied ethics and international political economy, concluding that although consumers in the OECD countries do not contribute to conflicts in a way that qualifies rendering them responsible, there are alternative grounds that more adequately describe the moral role that consumers play in conflicts upstream in global supply chains.



Alberto Cauli

University of Auckland

At Ras Tafari Makonnen’s court: The 1927 Italian diplomatic mission to Ethiopia and its colonial implications


Mussolini’s imperial project was focused on the conquest of Ethiopia, which was the only African country still uncolonized by Europeans. This ambitious plan aimed to unify Ethiopia with the Italian colonies of Eritrea and Somalia to found a fascist empire, which was eventually established in 1936 and named Africa Orientale Italiana. However, since the 1920s Mussolini had disguised his aggressive intentions in Ethiopia by developing commercial relationships between it and Italy, which culminated in sending a diplomatic mission to Addis Ababa in 1927. This paper reconstructs the mission, led by Luigi of Savoia, the Duke of Abruzzi, and analyzes its colonial implications. The work is based on a thorough analysis of archival documents, which revealed how the Duke and Ras Tafari Makonnen, regent of the Ethiopian Empire, both benefitted from the mission. Luigi of Savoia gained authorization to explore the Wabi-Shebelle river sector located in Ethiopian territory, hydrographic knowledge of which was fundamental to developing his Somali consortium of Villabruzzi. He also ‘imported’ Ethiopian manpower from those tribes settled along the exploration’s route. Tafari Makonnen exploited the presence of the Italian delegation in Addis Ababa to gain Ethiopia access to the sea across the Italian colony of Eritrea, while emphasizing the independence and the strength of his country via military parades with troops equipped with modern weapons and dressed in a European style.


Lynda C. Iroulo

Free University of Berlin

The African Peer Review Mechanism: A study of African regional integration thought and institutional model

Since the 1950s African states driven by the Pan-African ideology have striven for unity and resisted any form of neo-colonialism. It was considered necessary to develop their own African ideas, concepts and institutions independent of foreign intervention –African solutions to African problems, and this has remained the motto. However, the similarities observed in the design of the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) and Development Assistance Committee (DAC) Peer Review of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) raises questions on their current stance. In considering the functionalist versus sociological explanations of the origin of institutions, this research proposes Paradoxical Adaptation as a new conceptual tool for the study of origin, reform and change of institutions. Paradoxical Adaptation is an outcome triggered when local actors create a model as a strategic measure to ward off current or perceived foreign interference in the same manner, ultimately using models from the resisted actor/model. It does so by focusing on the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) as a case study; a peer review model created to monitor governance in Africa. This research aims to contribute to three strands of literature in International Relations. First, it expands the diffusion literature by introducing Paradoxical Adaptation as an effect of resistance. Second, it stresses the agency of Third World countries in the regionalism discourse. Third, it establishes Third World countries as active adopters of regional institutional designs.


Moyosore Balogun

University of Toronto

Wrongful convictions in Nigeria and Canada: A comparative analysis of two styles of leadership

Analysis of the cases of wrongful convictions in any country is a reflection of the style of    leadership in such a country. In recent times, reflections on the problem and issues surrounding   wrongful convictions of innocent citizens have gained the attention of researchers, Non-  Governmental Organizations, and legal practitioners all over the world. Countries are beginning  to understand that it is a legal phenomenon that would have to be addressed. In Canada, public  apologies have been issued by the courts and public inquiries have been set up to look into the  causes of wrongful convictions, which is an indication that Canada, and other countries of the  world are not immune to the global problem of wrongful convictions. In this paper, an attempt is made to undertake a comparative analysis of the leadership styles in Nigeria and Canada using the handling of the challenges associated with wrongful convictions as a foundation. The method that will be adopted in this research will be expository, analytical and comparative. Through expository method, various cases of wrongful convictions in Nigeria (instances are drawn from Oyo and Lagos States) and Canada will be considered, while the analytical method shall critically look at how formal institutions play a major role in the causes and adjudication of wrongful convictions. The comparative part of this paper will be explored to discuss how each country has responded to the problem of wrongful convictions based on their style of leadership. This comparative analysis is justified by the fact that Nigeria and Canada inherited a “British based adversarial legal system with similar basic features.” The paper recommends that Nigeria can learn from Canada by being proactive in remedying the problem of wrongful convictions. The paper further recommends that Nigeria should adopt the leadership style of Canada by birthing public inquiries to investigate the causes of wrongful convictions, using DNA evidence to exonerate the wrongfully convicted, compensating the wrongfully convicted and abolishing the death penalty from her criminal code.


Bamba Ndiaye

University of Louisville

African American evangelic missions and social reforms in the Congo: The activism of Reverend William Henry Sheppard

The contribution of African Americans to evangelical missions in Africa is often neglected in contemporary as well as historical analysis of the ecclesiastic penetration in Africa. The Second Great Awakening of the nineteenth century fostered a greater involvement of African American missionaries in the evangelization of the continent, especially in the equatorial regions. The presence of a black Presbyterian, William Sheppard, (later known as the “Black Livingston”) born in Waynesboro, Virginia, transformed Congo’s racial dynamics and intensified its political atmosphere already aggravated by the presence of white missionary minorities. Thus, as an evangelist, Sheppard successfully established a racial solidarity between him and the autochthones which later triggered in him a strong sense of activism/nationalism which he used to save the Congolese from European atrocities. Although his denunciation campaign against King Leopold cost him a defamation lawsuit, which ended in his favor, Sheppard was able to rally pan-Africanists behind him to fight a noble cause: the rehabilitation of the Congolese and the respect for their human rights and dignity.