Roelofs, Dr Portia


Portia Roelofs

Clayman-Fulford Junior Research Fellowship in Politics and Political Thought

Academic background

Dr Roelofs has a PhD in International Development from the London School of Economics, and has spent time as a visiting scholar at the universities of Ibadan and Maiduguri. She has degrees from the University of Oxford and SOAS, University of London and spent the first two years of her doctoral studies at Department for Political Economy, King’s College London.


Undergraduate: PPE (Politics)

Research interests

Dr Roelofs’ research lies at the intersection of Development Studies, African Politics and Political Theory. Her work brings a critical approach to questions of governance, democracy and accountability, and problematises the political-economies that shape knowledge production in these fields.

Dr Roelofs is writing a book, provisionally titled ‘What Nigeria can teach us about good governance’. Her next project will look at how public-private partnerships play out in sub-national politics in Nigeria, exploring how ideas of good governance, corruption and the public good are understood.

She also has an interest in the politics of public sector reform, parties and ideology, elite social networks, donor-recipient relations and grassroots politics. She seeks to bring feminist and decolonial commitments to her teaching and research.

Recent Publications

Journal articles:

Roelofs, P. 2020. Contesting localisation in interfaith peacebuilding in northern NigeriaOxford Development Studies

Roelofs, Portia (2019) Beyond programmatic versus patrimonial politics: contested conceptions of legitimate distribution in Nigeria. Journal of Modern African Studies. ISSN 0022-278X (In Press)

Roelofs, P. (2019) Transparency and mistrust: Who or what should be made transparent? Governance. 2019; 32: 565– 580.

Book chapters:

Roelofs, Portia. “Framing and blaming: Discourse analysis of the Boko Haram uprising, July 2009.” Boko Haram: Islamism, politics, security and the state in Nigeria. Leiden: African Studies Centre (2014): 110-131.

Working papers:

Roelofs, Portia (2018) “Accountability as Accessibility: Technocratic, popular and populist conceptions of governance in Nigeria and beyond.”

For general audiences:

Roelofs, Portia. 2020. How Nigerian debates about transparency can help public scrutiny of the UK’s Covid 19 response. Renewal Blog.

Roelofs, Portia (2019) Flying in the univer-topia: white people on planes, #RhodesMustFall and climate emergency, Journal of African Cultural Studies, 31:3, 267-270, DOI: 10.1080/13696815.2019.1630264

Roelofs, Portia and Gallien, Max (2017) Clickbait and impact: how academia has been hacked. Impact of Social Sciences Blog (19 Sep 2017). Blog Entry.