Stephen Chan

Professor
Stephen Chan is a professor of international relations at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. His focus lies in security issues, using comparative philosophical and theological lenses, and he has worked on conflict resolution and postwar reconstruction in several African countries. Former international civil servant and university dean, Chan was made OBE by Queen Elizabeth in 2010. He is the author of 30 academic books, five books of poetry and three novels.

What Will Be Left of Great Britain?

Dec 23, 2019

As the shock of the UK general election fades, many questions will take time to be answered. Not that the reelection of the Conservative Party led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson was a shock, but the size of his majority in Parliament was one that no Labour Party strategist had...

Is South Africa Heading for a Storm?

Nov 26, 2019

Despite having a technocratic president in Cyril Ramaphosa, are the structural underpinnings of the economy so weak that South Africa’s future is endangered? Allied to weak economic foundations are the questions of corruption and extremely poor public administration. The mismanagement at both the Electricity Supply Commission and South African Airways...

The English Left: A Tragedy of Our Insular Times

Feb 01, 2019

Despite its early 20th-century intellectual history, English thought never sought an impact outside Britain. In the 1930s, international battalions of the left flocked to Spain to join the fight against fascism. From France came figures like André Malraux, problematically the first tomb raider of South East Asia and also someone...

The Contradictions of France's World Cup Victory

Jul 21, 2018

The winning French team is populated by players who had been captured by football academies at a young age, and they too had led curiously privileged lives and enjoyed their own elite formation. There was once a certain style. Rereading the 1953 English translation of Albert Camus’s The Rebel, one...

Black Panthers Don't Speak Xhosa

Apr 04, 2018

Black Panther makes sense for black Americans who have never stayed long in Africa, people who want a Marvel Comic of their own. Since 1979, I have wandered and worked all over Africa. That work has been in the slums of great cities, innumerable war zones, universities, amidst spectacular natural...

The Uses of God

Feb 17, 2018

Demonization, a key tactic in religion, is precisely the reductionism and making wicked of any political enemy. Of all the burning issues confronting the world today, nothing causes greater concern — and greater perplexity — than the force of religion in pursuing political aims. I make this statement precisely: It...

Echoes of Empire at the Zagreb Philharmonic

Jan 03, 2018

A young conductor fails to breathe new life into a 147-year-old orchestra. The spectacle of a sign flashing across the screen, “Please Recolonise Us,” was at best a very bad joke. More likely, many in the audience would have seen it as an affront. A Bosnian Croat general had committed...

A Scandalous Novel: Marguerite Duras’ The Lover

Aug 27, 2017

Revisiting Marguerite Duras’ novel today reminds us how poignant it remains. Bertrand Russell wrote his History of Western Philosophy from memory, to earn some money while in the US. It was published in 1945 and is magisterial. But there, amidst chapter after chapter devoted to individual philosophers, is the sudden...

A Valediction of Late Life

Aug 19, 2017

Nearing the end of life, for artists, intellectuals and politicians their last hurrah carries a very specific style.  Edward Said, the late Palestinian intellectual, was not a natural bedfellow for Arsene Wenger, the French football manager in the English Premier League. However, the very first match of the 2017-18 season...

London’s Calm Response to Violence

Jun 05, 2017

The long and destructive campaign by the IRA not only hardened the citizens of London and Manchester, but increased their open-mindedness about how to deal with terrorism. In the wake of the June 3 terror attacks in London, Mayor Sadiq Khan assured Londoners of their safety. He said this as...

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