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Stephen Smith, Professor of the Practice and Director of Undergraduate Studies

Stephen Smith

Stephen W. Smith has been teaching African Studies at Duke since 2007. Until 2013, he also lectures as an adjunct at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, DC. He holds a PhD in semiotics from Berlin's Free University and graduated in anthropology at the Sorbonne (Panthéon) in Paris. The deputy editor of the foreign desk at Le Monde for five years and, previously, the Africa editor at Libération for twelve years, he had worked as a roving correspondent in West and Central Africa for Reuters news agency and Radio France International (RFI). He is the (co-)author of sixteen books, of country reports (Nigeria, Central African Republic) for the International Crisis Group, and a consultant for the UN and other international bodies. He has widely contributed to many publications and writes regularly for The London Review of Books. He also works for the film industry as a historical consultant and script writer.

Contact Info:
Office Location:  Ernestine Friedl Building (east Campus), Durham, NC 27708-0257
Email Address: send me a message

Teaching (Fall 2015):

    Friedl Bdg 240, MW 10:05 AM-11:20 AM
    (also cross-listed as CULANTH 310S.01, PUBPOL 218S.01)
    Gray 220, MW 01:25 PM-02:40 PM
    (also cross-listed as CULANTH 315.01)
Office Hours:

Monday and Wednesday 10am-noon, or by appt.

Ph.D.Free University of Berlin (Germany)1984

African and African-American Studies
Communications, Journalism and Media
Research Interests:

Smith graduated in anthropology at the Sorbonne in Paris and obtained his Ph.D. in 1983 from Berlin’s Free University. The former deputy editor of the foreign desk at Le Monde and, previously, Africa editor of Libération, he worked for many years as traveling correspondent in Africa for Reuters and Radio France International. He is the (co-)author of sixteen monographs, of country reports (Nigeria, CAR) for the International Crisis Group and consultancies for the UN, in addition to numerous journalistic and academic publications. He contributes to the London Review of Books and also works as historical consultant for the film industry (Whisper to A Roar, Plot for Peace). Olivier Assayas’s film Carlos, which won in 2010 a Golden Globe and both the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award and the New York Film Critics Circle award for Best Foreign Language Film, is based on his research.


Africa • Literary collections • Sub-Saharan Africa, demographic trends ("youth bulge), Franco-African relations

Recent Publications   (More Publications)

  1. S Smith, Behind France’s Foray into Mali, Current History, A Journal of Contemporary World Affairs (May, 2013), pp. 163-169
  2. SW Smith, France in Africa: A New Chapter?, CURRENT HISTORY, vol. 112 no. 754 (May, 2013), pp. 163-168, ISSN 0011-3530 [Gateway.cgi]
  3. A GLASER and SW SMITH, Sarko en Afrique (January, 2011), ISBN 2259213685  [abs]
  4. SW Smith, Sudan: In a Procrustean Bed with Crisis, International Negotiation, vol. 16 no. 1 (January, 2011), pp. 169-189, ISSN 1382-340X [doi]
  5. SW Smith, Youth in Africa: Rebels without a Cause but not without Effect, SAIS Review, vol. 31 no. 2 (2011), pp. 97-110 [doi]

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