Professor Paul Nugent (PhD, FRHS)

Professor of Comparative African History


I  am a graduate of the University of Cape Town with an MA and a PhD from SOAS (London). I have spent most of my academic career researching borderlands in West Africa, involving a significant amount of knowledge exchange activity. MY ERC Advanced Grant (finished 2022) dealt with "Transport Corridors, Border Towns and Port Cities" in  three regions of Africa, which enabled me to do some research and publish on East Africa as well. More recently I have also been working  on the history of South African wine and temperance in global perspective. I am currently moving into wine and cultural heritage, comparing South Africa, Italy and France.


B.A. (Hons), Cape Town



Responsibilities & affiliations

Founder (2008) and Chair of the African Borderlands Research Network (ABORNE)

Former President of AEGIS

Current PhD students supervised

Name - Degree - Thesis topic - Supervision type - Link

  •       -  PhD - Social history of the BaSotho people in the Dewure and Mungezi Purchase Areas (Zimbabwe) - Primary -

Research summary


  • Africa


  • Comparative & Global History
  • Culture
  • Imperialism
  • Politics


  • Nineteenth Century
  • Twentieth Century & After

Research interests

  • History of Wine in South Africa
  • Global Temperance
  • Borderlands in West Africa
  • African State

Project activity

Having completed a history of the South African wine industry, working on phylloxera and the making of international scientific co-operation

Research projects


Current project grants

BA, "Border Festivals, Partitioned Communities and Practical Governance in West Africa" (£50,000) [BA Tackling the UK's International Challenges]

Past project grants

ERC Advanced Grant (2.5 million Euros): "African Governance and Space: Transport Corridors, Border Towns and Port Cities in Transition" [AFRIGOS] - ended June 2022
ESRC/DFID (£500,000) "A Comparative Analysis of Ex-Combatants' Economic and Socio-Political Power During and After War" - ended 2020.
Leverhulme project on "Race, Taste and the Grape", 2008

The list below is a subset of the information held on the University of Edinburgh PURE system, and includes Books, Chapters, Articles and Conference contributions. For a full list, including details of other publication types (e.g. reviews), please see the Edinburgh Research Explorer page for Professor Paul Nugent.

Books - Authored

Nugent, P. (2019) Boundaries, Communities and State-Making in West Africa: The Centrality of the Margins. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University PressDOI:

Nugent, P., Amoah, M., Aning, K. and Annan, N. (2015) A Decade of Ghana: Politics, Economy and Society, 2004-13. Leiden: BrillDOI:

Nugent, P. (2012) Africa Since Independence: A Comparative History. London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan

Nugent, P., Dorman, S. and Daniel, H. (2007) Making Nations, Creating Strangers: States and Citizenship in Africa. Brill

Nugent, P. (2003) Smugglers, Secessionists and Loyal Citizens of the Ghana-Togo Frontier: The Lie of the Borderlands Since 1914. James Currey Ltd

Nugent, P. and Asiwaju, A. (1996) African Boundaries: Barriers, Conduits and Opportunities. London: Pinter

Books - Edited

Nugent, P. and Lamarque, H. (eds.) (2022) Transport Corridors in Africa. Rochester: Boydell and Brewer

Horakova, H., Nugent, P. and Skalnik, P. (eds.) (2011) Africa: Power and Powerlessness. Lit Verlag

Engel, U. and Nugent, P. (eds.) (2009) Respacing Africa. BrillDOI:

Locatelli, F. and Nugent, P. (eds.) (2009) African Cities: Competing Claims on Urban Spaces. BrillDOI:

Nugent, P., Trudell, B., King, K. and McGrath, S. (eds.) (2002) Africa's Young Majority: Victims, Meanings, Actors. Edinburgh University Press


Falisse, J., Macdonald, R., Molony, T. and Nugent, P. (2021) Why have so many African leaders died of COVID-19?. BMJ Global Health, 6(5), pp. 1-6DOI:

Soi, I. and Nugent, P. (2017) Peripheral urbanism in Africa: Border towns and twin towns in Africa. Journal of Borderlands Studies, 32(4), pp. 535-556DOI:

Nugent, P. (2014) Modernity, tradition, and intoxication: Comparative lessons from South Africa and West Africa. Past & Present: A Journal of Historical Studies, 222(suppl 9), pp. 126-145DOI:

Leoussi, A., Spence, J., Nugent, P. and Green, E. (2013) Dreams and Nightmares of Nationhood: The Obi Igwara Special Memorial Event to mark 50 Years of Decolonization in Africa, 1960-2010. Nations and Nationalism , 19(3), pp. 434-455DOI:

Nugent, P. (2011) The Temperance Movement and Wine Farmers at the Cape: Collective Action, Racial Discourse, and Legislative Reform, C. 1890–1965. The Journal of African History, 52(03), pp. 341-363DOI:

Nugent, P. (2010) States and Social Contracts in Africa. New Left Review, 63, pp. 35-68

Jockers, H., Kohnert, D. and Nugent, P. (2010) The successful Ghana election of 2008: a convenient myth?. Journal of Modern African Studies, 48(1), pp. 95-115DOI:

Nugent, P. (2010) “Nkrumah and Rawlings: political lives in parallel?”. Transactions of the Historical Society of Ghana , 12, pp. 35-56

Nugent, P. (2010) Do nations have stomachs? Food drink and imagined community in Africa. Africa Spectrum, 45(3), pp. 87-113

Nugent, P. (2009) “Introduction”. Respacing Africa, pp. 1-9

Nugent, P. (2009) Critical African Studies: a voluntarist manifesto. Critical African Studies, 1

Nugent, P. (2008) “Not so much boom towns as trickle towns: a comparison of two West African border towns, Kpetoe (Ghana) and Darsilami (the Gambia), in Yomi Akinyeye (ed.). That They May Be One: African Boundaries and Regional Integration - Essays in Honour of Professor Anthony I. Asiwaju, pp. 84-105

Nugent, P. (2008) Not so much boom towns as trickle towns: a comparison of two West African border towns, Kpetoe (Ghana) and Darsilami (the Gambia), in Yomi Akinyey. That They May Be One: African Boundaries and Regional Integration - Essays in Honour of Professor Anthony I. Asiwaju, pp. 84-105

Nugent, P. (2008) Putting the history back into ethnicity: enslavement, religion and cultural brokerage on the construction of Mandinka/Jola and Ewe/Agotime identities in West Africa c.1650-1930. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 50(4), pp. 920 - 948DOI:

Nugent, P. (2007) Cyclical history in the Gambia/Casamance borderlands: Refuge, settlement and Islam from c.1880 to the present. Journal of African History, 48(2), pp. 221-243DOI:

Nugent, P. (2007) Migracíon, fronteras y creación del Estado: comparación de los patrones del África Occidentale y del Sur. Nova Africa, 20, pp. 7-26

Nugent, P. (2005) Les elections Ghaneennes de 2004: anatomie d'un system bipartite. Politique Africaine, 97, pp. 133-150

Nugent, P. (2002) Africa. Annual Bulletin of Historical Literature, 86(1), pp. 167-173DOI:

Nugent, P. (2001) Ethnicity as an Explanatory Factor in the Ghana 2000 elections. Issue, XXIX

Nugent, P. and Meyer, B. (2001) Moral discourses and public spaces in the Fourth Republic. Ghana Studies, 4, pp. 3-5

Nugent, P. (2001) The things that money can buy: chieftaincy, the media and the 1996 elections in the 1996 elections in Hohoe-North constituency. Ghana Studies, 4, pp. 85-106

Nugent, P. (2001) Winners, losers and also rans: money, moral authority and voting patterns in the Ghana 2000 election. African Affairs, 100, pp. 405-428DOI:

Nugent, P. (1999) Living in the past: Urban, rural and ethnic themes in the 1992 and 1996 elections in Ghana. Journal of Modern African Studies , 37(2), pp. 287-319DOI:

Nugent, P. (1996) An abandoned project?: The nuances of chieftaincy, development and history in ghana’s volta region. Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law, 28(37-38), pp. 203-225DOI:


Nugent, P. (2021) Making borders, closing frontiers and identifying smuggling: Comparative histories. In: Gallien, M. and Weigand, F. (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Smuggling. London: Routledge, pp. 95-106DOI:

Nugent, P. (2021) Lomé and Aflao: Ambivalent affinity at the Ghana-Togo border. In: Mikhailova, E. and Garrard, J. (eds.) Twin Cities across Five Continents: Interactions and Tensions on Urban Borders. London: Routledge, pp. 147-158DOI:

Nugent, P. (2019) Symmetry and affinity: Comparing borders and border-making processes in Africa. In: Fassin, D. (ed.) Deepening Divides: How Territorial Borders and Social Boundaries Delineate our World. London: Pluto Press, pp. 233-256

Nugent, P. (2019) Seeing the trees for the wood: The environmental and human consequences of partition in the Senegambian borderlands. In: Zips, W. and Zips-Mairitsch, M. (eds.) Bewildering Borders: The Economy of Conservation in Africa. Lit Verlag, pp. 157-174

Nugent, P. (2019) The remaking of Ghana and Togo at their common border: Alhaji Kalabule meets Nana Benz. In: Boundaries, Communities and State-Making in West Africa: The Centrality of the Margins. Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 436-483DOI:

Nugent, P. (2018) Border studies: Temporality, space and scale. In: Middell, M. (ed.) The Routledge Handbook of Transregional Studies. Routledge

Nugent, P. (2018) Africa's re-enchantment with big infrastructure: White elephants dancing in virtuous circles?. In: Schubert, J., Engel, U. and Macamo, E. (eds.) Extractive Industries and Changing State Dynamics in Africa: Beyond the Resource Curse. Abingdon: Routledge

Nugent, P. (2012) Who killed innovation in the Cape wine industry? The story of a stuck fermentation c. 1930-1986. In: Gewald, J., Leliveld, A. and Peša, I. (eds.) Transforming Innovations in Africa: Explorative Studies on Appropriation in African Societies. Brill Academic Publishers, pp. 17-38DOI:

Nugent, P. (2012) Border Towns and Cities in Comparative Perspective. In: A Companion to Border Studies. Blackwell Publishing LtdDOI:

Nugent, P. (2010) The Historicity of Ethnicity: Mandinka/Jola and Ewe/Agotime Identities in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries. In: Keese, A. (ed.) Ethnicity and the long-term perspective: The African experience. Peter Lang Publishing Group

Nugent, P. (2009) Ghana. In: Mehler, A., Melber, H. and van Walraven, K. (eds.) Africa Yearbook Volume 5: Politics, Economy and Society South of the Sahara in 2008. Brill Academic Publishers, pp. 93-102DOI:

Engel, U. and Nugent, P. (2009) Introduction: The spatial turn in African studies. In: Engel, U. and Nugent, P. (eds.) Respacing Africa. Brill Academic Publishers, pp. 1-9DOI:

Locatelli, F. and Nugent, P. (2009) Introduction. In: Locatelli, F. and Nugent, P. (eds.) African Cities: Competing Claims on Urban Spaces. Brill Academic Publishers, pp. 1-13DOI:

Nugent, P. (2009) Introduction. In: Locatelli, F. (ed.) African Cities: Competing Claims on Urban Spaces. Brill, pp. 1-14

Nugent, P. (2008) Border anomalies: the role of local actors in shaping spaces along the Senegal-Gambia and Ghana-Togo borders. In: Bellagamba, A. and Klute, G. (eds.) Beside the State: Emergent Powers in Contemporary Africa. Koeppe Verlag, pp. 121-138

Nugent, P. (2007) African Studies in Britain. In: The Oxford Companion to Black British History.

Dorman, S., Nugent, P. and Daniel, H. (2007) Introduction: Citizenship and its Casualties in Africa. In: Making Nations, Creating Strangers: States and Citizenship in Africa. Brill, pp. 3-26

Nugent, P. (2006) Banknotes and Symbolic Capital: Ghana's Elections Under the Fourth Republic. In: Mehler, A. (ed.) Votes, Money and Violence: Political Parties and Elections in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nordic Africa Institute

Nugent, P. (2005) A Regional Melting-Pot: The Ewe and their Neighbours in the Ghana-Togo Borderlands. In: Lawrance, B. (ed.) The Ewe of Togo and Benin. Accra Woeli publishers, pp. 29-43

Nugent, P. (2005) Borderland identities in comparative perspective: chieftaincy, religion and belonging along the Ghana-Togo and Senegal-Gambia borders. In: Hernaes, P. (ed.) The Role of Tradition and Modernity in African Political Cultures and Urban Conflicts: the Case of Ghana in Comparative Perspective. Trondheim University of Science and Technology, pp. 9-34

Nugent, P. (2005) Ghana. In: Mehler, A., Melber, H. and Walraven, K. (eds.) Africa Yearbook: Politics, Economy and Society South of the Sahara. Brill, pp. 77-87

Nugent, P. (2004) Ghana-Togo. In: Calvert, P. (ed.) Border and Territorial Disputes of the World. John Harper Publishing, pp. 31-36