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RGU professor puts the spotlight on oil and political violence in Africa


The reasons behind political violence in oil rich regions of Africa will be explored by a leading academic at an event in Aberdeen next month.

Professor Stephen VertigansProfessor Stephen Vertigans, Head of the School of Applied Social Studies at Robert Gordon University (RGU), will deliver a public lecture on Wednesday, May 11 which will challenge the widespread belief that oil and gas resources lead to violence.

The free event, which is taking place at RGU’s Garthdee campus, is part of a new series of professorial lectures announced by the university where a number of its experts discuss topical research issues.

Professor Vertigans joined RGU in 2003 and during his time with the university has published extensively on a range of topics including political violence, resurgent forms of Islam and corporate social responsibility.

Building upon some of his earlier research work into processes in and out of political violence, Professor Vertigans will consider a number of sub-Saharan African case studies where oil has been discovered during his lecture. 

Professor Vertigans explains: “After quickly dismissing the tired and lazy assertion about an oil curse, I will unpick the courses and multi-layered causes of political violence in regions such as Nigeria, Sudan and Angola. 

“By way of conclusion, my lecture will draw upon non-violent developmental examples from recently emergent oil producers such as Ghana, and will argue that embedded socially responsible approaches can provide the robust basis for sustainable security.”

Professor Vertigans was first appointed to Professor of Sociology at RGU in June 2010 before taking up the position of the Head of the School of Applied Social Studies in 2012.

His lecture, which is entitled ‘Violence in Oil Rich Parts of Africa: Shades of Darkness and Glimmers of Light’, is taking place at 6pm in The Sir Ian Wood Building located on RGU’s Garthdee campus.

The evening will include an opportunity for discussion led by questions and answers, which will be followed by light refreshments.

Book a place at the professorial lecture

Bookings can also be made by calling Jenny Rush on 01224 262206. 

Release by
Anna DuthieCommunications Officer