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Professor Pal Ahluwalia 

Position: Adjunct Professor Professor Pal Ahluwalia
Division/Portfolio: Division of Education, Arts and Social Sciences
School/Unit: Education Arts and Social Sciences Divisional Office
Campus: Offshore
Email: Pal_dot_Ahluwalia_at_unisa_dot_edu_dot_au
URL for Business Card: http://people.unisa.edu.au/Pal.Ahluwalia

Other Contacts

Personal Assistant to the Pro Vice Chancellor: Division of EASS: +61 8 83024420

Executive Officer to the Pro Vice Chancellor: Division of EASS: +61 8 83024388

Project Officer to the Pro Vice Chancellor: Division of EASS: +61 8 83024074

Professor Ahluwalia has always had a deep interest in the complexities of identity formation, yet his own upbringing and professional career reflects a myriad of cultural influences. He was born in Kenya, schooled in Canada, received a Bachelors degree and a Master of Arts from the University of Saskatchewan, and then completed his PhD at Flinders University here in Adelaide. He was subsequently at Adelaide University for 14 years, finishing as Professor of the Politics Department, then Visiting Professor with the University of California, and Professor with the Goldsmiths College at the University of London, where he was also Director of the Centre for Postcolonial Studies.

Prior to commencing as Pro Vice Chancellor, Professor Ahluwalia was Research SA Chair and Professor of Post-Colonial Studies in the Hawke Research Institute and Director of the Centre for Post-Colonial Studies. At the same time he was a Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California. His main research interests lie in the areas of African studies, social and cultural theory, in particular, postcolonial theory and the processes of diaspora, exile, and migration.

On 14 October 2008, Professor Ahluwalia was appointed a UNESCO Chair in Transnational Diasporas and Reconciliation Studies.

The aim of the Chair is to promote and emphasise research in the areas of transnational diasporas and reconciliation studies. This will be accomplished by holding masterclasses, workshops and conferences, and inviting international scholars especially from the post-colonial world. These activities are aimed most specifically at capacity building and the facilitation of the exchange of knowledge. The UNESCO Chair in Transnational Diasporas and Reconciliation Studies will complement UNESCO's work in the field of social transformations and will provide a valuable contribution to international dialogue and policy development on international migration and social integration.

Professional associations

Academy of Social Sciences in Australia (ASSA)

Australasian Council of Deans of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities

The African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific (AFSAAP)

UNESCO Chair in Transnational Diasporas and Reconciliation Studies


1981 - Bachelor of Arts (Advanced) - University of Saskatchewan

1983 - Master of Arts - University of Saskatchewan

1990 - Doctor of Philosophy - Flinders University of South Australia

Research interests

  • African studies
  • Social and cultural theory
  • Postcolonial theory
  • Diaspora
  • Exile and migration

Research publications


Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture

African Identities: Journal of Economics, Culture and Society

Sikh Formations: Religion, Culture, Theory


Out of Africa: Post-structuralism’s Colonial Roots, (London: Routledge, 2010).

Edward Said, (London: Routledge, 2009). With Bill Ashcroft. 2nd Edition updated and revised

Violence and Non-Violence: African Perspectives, (London Routledge, 2006).

Idward Said: mufaraqat al-hawiyyah, (Damas: Ninawi, 2002). With Bill Ashcroft. Translated by Tarjamat Suhayl Najm.

African Identities: Contemporary Political and Social Issues, (Aldershot: Ashgate Publications, Ltd., 2002). With Abebe Zegeye.

Politics and Post-colonial Theory: African Inflections, (London: Routledge, 2001).

Edward Said, (London: Routledge, 2001). With Bill Ashcroft. This book launched the series entitled, Routledge's Critical Thinkers and is a new edition with two new chapters.

Imperial Ghetto, (Cape Town: Kwela Books, 2001). With Omar Badsha and Abebe Zegeye. This is a book of photographs about the Grey Street area in Durban by South Africa's leading photographer, Omar Badsha. I have co-authored a detailed analytical text that accompanies the photographs.


“The Struggle for African Identity: From Senghor to Thabo Mbeki”, African Geopolitics, September, 2008. Translated into French as “Le combat pour l'identité africaine: de Senghor à Thabo Mbeki”.

“Origins and Displacement: Working Through Derrida’s African Connections”, Social Identities, Vol. 13, No. 3, 2007, pp. 325-336.

“After Afterlives of Post-colonialism: Reflections on Theory Post 9/11”, Postcolonial Studies, Vol. 10, No. 3, 2007 Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 257-270.

"Negotiating Identity: Post-colonial Reflections on Transnational Adoption", Journal of Global Ethics, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2007.

“Negotiating Identity: Post-colonial Reflections on Transnational Adoption”, Journal of Global Ethics, Vol. 3, No. 1, 2007, pp.55-67.

"Derrida", a Special Issue of Theory, Culture and Society, 2006.

"Inventing Home: (Re)Membering the Nation", Sikh Formations, Vol.2, No.2, 2006.

"Delivering Freedom: Australia's witnessing of Abu Ghraib" Journal of Visual Cultures, Vol. 5, No. 1, April 2006, pp. 93-96.

"Race" in special issue on the New Encyclopedia of Knowledge, Theory Culture and Society, 2006.

"Origins and Displacement: Working Through Derrida's African Connections", Social Identities, 2006.

"Introduction" Social Identities, Vols. 11-12, Nos. 1-6, 2005-2006. With Toby Miller.

"Out of Africa: Post-structuralism's Colonial Roots", Postcolonial Studies, Vol. 8, No. 2, 2005, pp. 137-154.

"The Subject of Sikh Studies", Sikh Formations, Vol. 1, No.1, 2005, pp. 1-11. With Arvind Mandair and Gurharpal Singh.

"Empire or Imperialism: Implications for a "New" Politics of Resistance", Social Identities, Vol. 10, No. 5, 2004, pp. 629-645.

“Mainstreaming Africa”, African Identities, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2003, pp.iii-xii. With Abebe Zegeye.

“Between Black and White: Rethinking Coloured Identity” African Identities Vol. 1, No. 2, 2003, pp.253-280. With Abebe Zegeye.

"The Wonder of the African Market: Post-colonial Inflections", Pretexts, Vol. 12, No. 2, 2003, pp. 133-144.

"Fanon's Nausea: The Hegemony of the White Nation", Social Identities, Vol. 9, No. 3, September 2003, pp.341-356.

"'With Words We Govern Men': Orientalism and the Question of Translation", Stockholm Journal of East Asian Studies, Vol 13, 2003, pp. 7-26.

"The Struggle for African Identity: Thabo Mbeki's African Renaissance", Asian and African Studies, Vol. 1, No. 4, 2002, pp. 265-277.

“Transforming Culture: Street Life In an Apartheid City”, Social Identities, Vol. 8, No. 3, 2002, pp. 393-430. With Abebe Zegeye.

Race and Racism, a Special Issue of Social Identities, Vol. 7, No. 3, (Oxford: Carfax, 2001).

"When Does a Settler Become a Native? Citizenship and Identity in a Settler Society", Pretexts, Vol. 10, No. 1, July 2001, pp. 63-73.

“Frantz Fanon and Steve Biko: Towards Liberation”, Social Identities, Vol. 7, No. 3, September 2001, pp. 301-310. With Abebe Zegeye.

“Crisis in the Union and Multi-Party Democracy in Tanzania”, African Security Review, Vol. 10, No. 3, 2001. With Abebe Zegeye.

"Towards (Re)Conciliation: The Post-Colonial Economy of Giving", Social Identities, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2000, pp. 29-48.

"Uganda: Movement Politics or One-Party State?", Africa Quarterly, Vol. 40, No. 3, 2000, pp. 67-84.

“Uganda: No Party State or One-Party State?”, Africa Insight, Vol. 30, No. 2, 2000, pp. 82-85. With Abebe Zegeye.

Expertise for Media Contact

I am able to provide media comment in the following areas of expertise:


  • African studies
  • Social and cultural theory
  • Post-colonial theory

Research Degree Supervisor

I have successfully supervised and co-supervised more than a dozen postdoctoral students to completion in the areas of African Politics, Australian Politics, Post-colonial Theory, and Industrial and Comparative Politics. All these students have subsequently attained employment in universities across the world, with one student's thesis being given a special commendation.

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