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Dr Justin Pearce

Dr Justin Pearce

Research Fellow

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow


Justin Pearce is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in POLIS and a Research Associate of St John's College. He completed his doctorate at Oxford in 2011 on political mobilisation in the Angolan civil war. He was subsequently an ESRC postdoctoral fellow at SOAS, University of London. Before embarking upon his doctorate, Justin worked as a journalist in South Africa, Angola and the UK.

Research Interests

Justin Pearce is conducting research on the roots and the character of political legitimacy in contemporary southern Africa, using a comparative case study of Angola and Mozambique. His current research is supported by a Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship, part funded by the Newton Trust. His broader research interests include the politics and history of Lusophone Africa and of southern Africa, with a thematic interest in civil conflict, peace making, the continuities between wartime and peacetime politics, and the politics of memory and memorialisation. His approach to research puts a strong priority on gathering interviews in order to examine popular as well as elite discourses on power and identity. 

Key Publications

Political Identity and Conflict in Central Angola 1975-2002

Cambridge University Press 2015


"Peace agreements in Angola: Contesting the meaning of success."

in Grace Maina and Erik Melander (eds), Peace Agreements and Durable Peace in Africa, University of KwaZulu Natal Press, 2015.


“Contesting the past in Angolan politics”

Journal of Southern African Studies, 41 (1) pp 103-119, January 2015


“Control, politics and identity in the Angolan civil war”

African Affairs, 111 (444) pp 442-465, July 2012.


“Angola: Changing nationalisms, from war to peace”

in Eric Morier-Genoud (ed) Sure road? Nations and Nationalisms in Lusophone Africa. Brill, Leiden, 2012.


“From rebellion to opposition: Unita in Angola and Renamo in Mozambique”

in Wafula Okumu and Augustine Ikelegbe (eds), Militias, Rebels and Islamist Militants: Human Insecurity and State Crises in Africa.

Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria, 2010.


“L’Unita à la recherche de « son peuple »”

Dossier Angola, Politique Africaine 110, June 2008.