George M. Bob-Milliar is an Associate Professor in African Studies (Politics & History) at the Department of History and Political Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi-Ghana. He has been the Head/Chair of the department three consecutive times. He is the Director of the Centre for Cultural and African Studies (CeCASt). He has researched, taught, and mentored students at all levels. He trained as an interdisciplinary scholar. Consequently, his research lies at the intersection of three disciplines – political science, history & development studies. His research focuses on electoral politics in Ghana, informal institutions, social/political history, and African Diaspora, among others. He published in the top-ranked journals in his field of specialization. And he has been supported by numerous grants and fellowships. He is an adjunct African Studies professor at the University of Copenhagen and a Research Associate of the Governance and Local Development Institute (GLD) based at the University of Gothenburg. He has been visiting fellow at the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, Uganda’s Makerere University, and the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS). He has been a guest lecturer at the Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany and the University of San Francisco, US. In 2010, he received the inaugural African Author Prize for the best article published in African Affairs by an author based at an African institution, and in 2012 he was awarded a prize for his contribution to research on African policy issues from the Centre for International Governance Innovation, Canada. He edits African Affairs, African Economic History, and Contemporary Journal of African Studies and sits on the editorial boards of several other reputable journals.
RESEARCH INTERESTS/FIELDS OF STUDY
- African Studies
- African Politics & Development
- 'Informalization' of Party politics
- Democratic Studies, including electoral politics
- Traditional/Informal Institutions
- Social, Political & Economic History of Ghana/Africa
- Qualitative Research Approaches
- Diaspora & Migration
- Urban Studies
- CO-EDITOR: The Yearbook for the History of Global Development (YHGD) (2022-date)
- CO-EDITOR: APSA Africa Workshop Newsletter (2015-2017)
- EDITOR: Journal of African Political Economy & Development (2016-date)
- CO-EDITOR: African Affairs (since December 2021-date)
- CO-EDITOR: African Economic History (February 2020-date)
- CO-EDITOR: Contemporary Journal of African Studies (February 2021-date)
MEMBER OF EDITORIAL BOARDS: African Journal of Social of Sciences Education (UEW, 2021), Babcock Journal of the Social Sciences (BJSS) (University of Babcock, Ogun State, Nigeria), African Review of Economics & Finance (SA).
For interest in collaborating, don't hesitate to contact me directly.
Political Change and Local Governance in Emerging Cities
Funder: Swedish Research Council
Project period: (2023 – ongoing)
The Co-Principal Investigator of a three-country study that examines inclusive governance, political participation, and equitable development in emerging cities worldwide. The cases are from Sub-Saharan Africa (Ghana), North Africa (Tunisia) and Latin America (Brazil).
Environmental Crime and Illegal Ecologies (ILLECO)
Funder: Independent Research Fund Denmark
Project period: (2021 – ongoing)
The Co-Principal Investigator of a study that investigates environmental crime in Ghana. Ecological crime is one of the most destructive and drastically growing types. As a form of crime, it is currently estimated to be the fourth largest criminal sector – and to grow two to three times faster than the global legal economy. But even though it is one of the most profitable and fastest-growing forms of organized crime, we know very little about the social, political, and legal dynamics that underpin it.
Old Parks, New Futures: Documenting the Uses of Open Space in an African City
Funder: British Academy
Project period: (March 2021 – 31 August 2023)
Co-Principal Investigator of a study that examines the history and everyday uses of Jackson Park, created in 1935 in Kumasi, Ghana’s second-largest city. The Sir Francis Jackson Park is representative of the older urban park set up in Ghana’s towns and cities, part of the colonial urban landscape. In Jackson Park, Ghanaians go to hear politicians speak, attend religious meetings, sleep or try to make a living. These different uses of Jackson Park are studied through three case studies titled: GETTING VOTES, GETTING NOTICED and GETTING BY. Using the example of Jackson Park, we will bring together archival and ethnographic approaches to challenge urban planning visions that marginalise the importance of old parks.
The Impact of Private Universities on Public Universities in Ghana
Funder: The University of Texas at Austin/Carnegie Corporation of New York
Project period: (2019 – ongoing)
Lead country researcher for a project that investigates how private universities have influenced the public universities in Sub-Saharan Africa (Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya & Uganda). The entry of private universities into the higher education landscape was welcomed because it broke the state monopoly. It was said that private universities would introduce quality into tertiary education and inject more capital into the educational infrastructure. The image of private universities improved when some of them were ranked among the best public universities by international ranking agencies. Nevertheless, private universities continue to face several challenges. The overarching objective that underpins this study is to examine the activities of private universities and measure the extent to which they have influenced the culture and behaviour of the public universities in Ghana.
Party Branding in Africa: Political Images, Narratives, and Voting Decisions
Funder: German Research Foundation (DFG).
Project period: (2020 – 2021)
Co-Principal Investigator of a project that examines how political parties interact with their voters and how they build a distinctive image. Electoral politics in Africa raise cross-cutting issues on the nature of power, the repertoire of socio-cultural imagination, and narratives of nationhood, stateness and political history. The question of how African voters make their choices is a complex one. Research has often focused on clientelism, ethnicity, personalism, or valence issues. Some studies have explored the role of party programmes and policy platforms. The problem is that most of these studies look at one aspect only, whereas party identities and appeals are multifaceted. Party branding could resolve this problem and be more suitable to grasp the full variance of party positioning. Party branding can be a valuable tool to explain electoral success, political survival, and patterns of competition.
Institutional Trust in Ghana
Funder: KNUST Research Fund (KReF)
Project period: (1 February 2019 – 31 January 2020)
Principal Investigator of a study that examines institutional trust in Ghana. Trust in institutions is crucial in state building and essential for state legitimacy. Institutional trust is further central to service provision and economic growth. Despite decades of policy focus on good governance and more countries holding democratic elections, many citizens of the Global South lack trust in the state and public institutions. The project examines how institutional trust is created and why some institutional settings generate trust and others distrust.
‘The Generation of Trust in Political Parties in Ghana.’ Africa Today 68, no. 2 (2021): 81-100.