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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)


Adam Branch is Professor of International Politics at the University of Cambridge and was Director of the Centre of African Studies from 2017-2022. He received his PhD in political science from Columbia University and his BA from Harvard University. Prior to joining Cambridge, he was senior research fellow at the Makerere Institute of Social Research in Kampala. He is author of Displacing Human Rights: War and Intervention in Northern Uganda and Africa Uprising: Popular Protest and Political Change. His current research focuses on the politics of climate change and on the political ecology of wood energy in East Africa.


Adam’s research focuses on international politics, specifically around questions of political violence, intervention, and justice, with a regional focus on East Africa. His current agenda explores the politics of global climate change and climate justice, specifically through the lens of the political ecology of charcoal as a key energy source, driver of deforestation, and object of adaptation and mitigation interventions. He has worked extensively on the politics of human rights intervention, peacebuilding, and the International Criminal Court, in particular in Uganda, which culminated in his first book, Displacing Human Rights: War and Intervention in Northern Uganda (Oxford University Press, 2011). He has also written on popular protest and social movements in his second book, Africa Uprising: Popular Protest and Political Change (Zed Books, 2015, co-authored with Zachariah Mampilly). His research has been funded by the AHRC, ESRC, GCRF, and the British Academy.


Key publications: 


Africa Uprising: Popular Protest and Political Change (Zed Books, 2015; co-authored with Zachariah Mampilly)

Displacing Human Rights: War and Intervention in Northern Uganda (Oxford University Press, 2011)

Journal Articles (past 5 years):

Adam Branch and Liana Minkova. 2023. ‘Ecocide, the Anthropocene, and the International Criminal Court’. Ethics and International Affairs. 37:1, 51-79.

Adam Branch, Jon Phillips, and Frank Kwaku Agyei. 2023. ‘Charcoal politics in Africa: Value chains, resource complexes, and energopolitics’. Progress in Environmental Geography. OnlineFirst, 1-20.

Adam Branch et al. ‘From Crisis to Context: Reviewing the Future of Sustainable Charcoal in Africa’. 2022. Energy Research & Social Science 87, 102457.

Giuliano Martiniello, Arthur Owor, Ibrahim Bahati, and Adam Branch, ‘The Fragmented Politics of Sugarcane Contract Farming in Uganda’. 2022. Journal of Agrarian Change 22:1, 77-96.

Adam Branch, ‘Decolonizing the African Studies Centre’. Cambridge Journal of Anthropology. 2018. 36:2, 73-91.

Adam Branch and Giuliano Martiniello, ‘Charcoal Power: The Political Violence of Non-Fossil Fuel in Uganda’. 2018. Geoforum 97, 242-252.

Adam Branch, ‘From Disaster to Devastation: Drought as War in Northern Uganda’. 2018. Disasters. 42:S2, 306-327. DOI: 10.1111/disa.12303. Disasters is the academic journal published by the UK Overseas Development Institute. Impact Factor: 1.596.

Adam Branch, ‘Dominic Ongwen on Trial: The ICC’s African Dilemmas’. 2017. International Journal of Transitional Justice 11:1, 30-49. DOI: 10.1093/ijtj/ijw027. 5-year Impact Factor: 2.007.

Other publications: 

The African Criminal Court: Towards an Emancipatory Politics. 2019. In The African Court of Justice and Human and People’s Rights in Context, edited by C. Jalloh, K. Clarke and V. Nmehielle (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press).

Charcoal Power: The Political Violence of Non-Fossil Fuel in Uganda. 2018. Geoforum. Vol. 97: 242-252.

Decolonizing the African Studies Centre. 2018. Cambridge Journal of Anthropology. 36:2.

From Disaster to Devastation: Drought as War in Northern Uganda. 2018. Disasters. 42:S2, 306-327.

Dominic Ongwen on Trial: The ICC’s African Dilemmas. 2017. International Journal of Transitional Justice 11:1.

Neoliberal discipline and violence in northern Uganda, co-authored with Adrian Yen. 2018. In Uganda: The Dynamics of Neoliberal Transformation, edited by Jörg Wiegratz, Giuliano Martiniello and Elisa Greco (London: Zed Books).

The Violence of Peace: Ethnojustice in Northern Uganda. 2014. Development and Change 45:3. (Included in Transitional Justice, ed. Christine Bell, Ashgate, 2015)

The Responsibility to Protect and Africa’s International Relations. Handbook of Africa’s International Relations, edited by Tim Murithi (Routledge, 2013).

Gulu in War ... and Peace? The Town as Camp in Northern Uganda. 2013. Urban Studies 50:15.

The Paradoxes of Protection: Aligning against the Lord’s Resistance Army. 2012. African Security 5:3-4.

The Role of the ICC in Northern Uganda. In Peacemaking: From Practice to Theory, edited by Andrea Bartoli, Zachariah Mampilly, and Susan Allen Nan (Praeger, 2011).

Neither Liberal nor Peaceful? Practices of ‘Global Justice’ by the ICC. In A Liberal Peace? The Problems and Practices of Peacebuilding, edited by Susanna Campbell, David Chandler and Meera Sabaratnam (Zed Books, 2011).

The Irresponsibility of the Responsibility to Protect in Africa. In Critical Perspectives on the Responsibility to Protect: Interrogating Theory and Practice, edited by Philip Cunliffe (Routledge, 2011).

The Roots of LRA Violence: Political Crisis and Politicized Ethnicity in Acholiland. In The Lord’s Resistance Army: Myth and Reality, edited by Tim Allen and Koen Vlassenroot (Zed Books, 2010).

Humanitarianism, Violence, and the Camp in Northern Uganda. 2009. Civil Wars 11:4.

Against Humanitarian Impunity: Rethinking Responsibility for Displacement and Disaster in Northern Uganda. 2008. Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 2:2.

Uganda’s Civil War and the Politics of ICC Intervention. 2007. Ethics and International Affairs 21:2. (Excerpted in International and Transnational Criminal Law Casebook [Aspen Publishers, 2014]. Winner, Morton Deutsch Award for Social Justice, Columbia University.)

American Morality over International Law: Origins in UN Military Interventions, 1991-1995. 2005. Constellations 12:1.

Neither Peace nor Justice: Political Violence and the Peasantry in Northern Uganda, 1986-1998. 2005. African Studies Quarterly 8:2.

Winning the War but Losing the Peace? The Dilemma of SPLM/A Civil Administration and the Tasks Ahead. 2005. Journal of Modern African Studies 43:1. Co-written with Zachariah Mampilly.

Teaching and Supervisions


Adam lectures on POL15, “African Politics”, and is the organizer for the MPhil seminar, “African Environments: Knowledge, History, and Power”. He currently has four PhD students: Lyn Kouadio, Rumbidzai Dube, Mamasa Camara, and Matipa Mukondiwa.


Professor of International Politics
University Teaching Officer
Fellow, Trinity Hall

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