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The Agrarian Question and Contested Rural Futures in Africa

A Spring School in Political Economy and Political Ecology 

Call for Applications

12-16 September 2022

The Institute for Poverty, Land, and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) at the University of the Western Cape is hosting a Spring School on The Agrarian Question and Contested Rural Futures in Africa, in collaboration with the Global South Studies Center (GSSC) at the University of Cologne and Future Rural Africa, a collaborative research center (CRC) funded by the German Research Council (DFG). 

It will take place in person from 12th to 16th September in Cape Town, South Africa. 

The Spring School builds on thematically-organized lectures by eminent scholars in their respective fields. It aims to introduce core concepts, theoretical formulation and debates in political economy and political ecology. The priority is to support young and emerging scholars to deepen critical understandings of agrarian change in Africa, and related fields of land, agricultural production, food security and environmental change. 


  • To strengthen political economy and political ecology research on rural futures
  • To build scholarly contributions to navigating contemporary challenges
  • To promote critical engagement with the future of rural Africa 
  • To provide a platform for knowledge exchange across generations and geography
  • To provide young scholars in and of Africa with exposure to leading academics
  • To provide young scholars in and of Africa with a platform to build peer support and networks with one another. 

Who can apply? 

Applications are open to registered PhD students, or those who have graduated with a PhD within the past five years, and whose research topic is related to the themes land, agricultural production, food security and environmental change. Evidence of commitment to critical interdisciplinary research on rural Africa is required. This open call is for African scholars only, and preference will be given to those who are also based in Africa. Preference will be given to women applicants. 

What funding is available? 

The Spring School is funded by Future Rural Africa, with generous support from the Volkswagen Foundation. Funding is available for participant travel and accommodation, and available to accepted participants. 

How do I apply? 

To apply, please complete the application form online. Applications should contain an abstract detailing how the applicant’s current academic work relates to the course (500 words), a short bio (250 words), and the names and contact details of two academic referees, one of whom should be the applicant’s PhD or postdoc supervisor. 

Closing date for applications: Friday 15 July 2022

Application Form

With the participation of the Young African Researchers in Agriculture (YARA) network)