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The Ferguson Centre for African and Asian Studies


The Ferguson Centre promotes the interdisciplinary study of empire and postcolonial conditions with a particular focus on Africa and Asia. Since its establishment in 2002, it has hosted seminars, exchanges, postgraduates and run collaborative research projects.

Members have contributed to the writing of a range of current Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences courses including:  A326 Empire 1492-1975; A300 20th century literature: texts and debates; A215 Creative writing; A815 MA English; A230 Reading and studying literature. Members have also contributed to previous courses including: AA316 The nineteeth-century novel; A180 Heritage, whose heritage?; AD281 Understanding global heritage.

Centre Director: Dr Sandip Hazareesingh
Assistant Director: Dr John Slight


John Slight, Lecturer in Modern History, has joined the Centre as Assistant Director.

Forthcoming events

Joint Ferguson Centre-International Development and Inclusive Innovation workshop

Cultural capacity building. Internal workshop on ideas for potential AHRC-GCRF bids

Date: Wednesday 4th October 2017; Venue: to be announced; Registration: contact Dawn Edwell

The aim of this FC-IDII strategic research area workshop is to bring together people across the OU who might be interested in adapting their research so as to participate in collaborative bids targeted at the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) initiative. GCRF was set up in 2015 to address a wide range of issues highlighted in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, including inequality, social justice and well-being for people and communities across the developing world. The AHRC has been granted an allocation of £26 million from GCRF over the period 2016-20 specifically to develop opportunities for the Arts and Humanities research community. A key gap seems to be that both the AHRC and arts and humanities scholars have not considered themselves ‘international development’ experts such that both struggle to know what to fund or apply for. We feel the OU is well-placed to lead in this area and the workshop is a first step in that direction.

The format will involve a number of short presentations followed by a workshop aimed at generating ideas broadly on the theme of ‘cultural capacity building’ and at identifying a range of methodologies that speak to the contribution that arts and humanities research can make to challenges relating to international development.  We aim for participants to be drawn from across the OU including those working with visual methodologies, historical methods, design, art, and curation.


Recent events

Joint Ferguson Centre-OpenSpace half-day seminar on ‘Non-Eurocentric approaches to environmental history’

2 November 2016, The Open University, Milton Keynes.

Seminar abstracts and programme.

Cultural Rights in Action: from global policy to local practice

Wednesday 20 April 2016, British Institute in Eastern Africa, Nairobi, Kenya.

A one-day workshop that will present preliminary research findings by the project team drawn from case studies across Kenya.
More information at and

Panel on Heritage and Subversion in Africa

3-8 June 2016, Association of Critical Heritage Studies conference, Montreal, Canada. Conference website

The British Empire and the HAJJ book cover

New publication

The British Empire and the Hajj, 1865-1956 by John Slight, Harvard University Press, 2015.

Find out more about this book

Egyptian Prime Minister Abdel Nasser with Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru at the Bandung Conference, Indonesia, 1955

Egyptian Prime Minister Abdel Nasser with Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru at the Bandung Conference, Indonesia, 1955