Africa’s lawyers: between imperial legacies and transformations in global capitalism

VSR Keynote Lecture 2021 – Hosted by Tilburg Law School

13:30-15:00 h, Friday 15 January

Keynote Speaker: Dr Sara Dezalay (Cardiff)

Politico-ideological projections on the prominence taken by Africa as the “world economy’s last frontier” raise particularly acute challenges for the researcher interested in the relationship between law, politics and globalization on the continent. Combining political sociology with global history, Dezalay’s research aims to expound the entanglement between legal evolution, political change and transformations of capitalism in the uneven and unequal relations between Africa and the world economy. Drawing on multi-sited research, her micro focus on the roles played by lawyers in state transformations offers an entry-point to trace how the asymmetrical yet interconnected relations between the African South and the global are justified and renegotiated in the longue durée. Building on a case-study of the “Africa bar” in Paris, as a key site for the negotiation of extractive contracts between multinational corporations and Francophone states on the African continent, her presentation will examine ongoing legal corporate globalization dynamics into the continent as a layered process embedded in national palace wars, in the North and the African South, and molded by the competition between imperial pasts and presents.

This is an online event. Please email Phillip Paiement ( if you would like to receive a zoom link to the event.