Christopher Afoke Isike, PhD, is a Professor of African Politics and International Relations in the Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria and Director of the African Centre for the Study of the United States, University of Pretoria (ACSUS-UP), South Africa. He is also the current President of the African Association of Political Science (AAPS), the parent body of political scientists in Africa. Prof Isike also served as Vice President of the International Political Science Association (IPSA) between 2018 and 2021.
Professor Isike conducts research from an Africanist lens, and teaches international relations theory, strategic and security studies, and security theory at the University of Pretoria. His teaching philosophy is rooted in critical pedagogy which, unlike mainstream pedagogy, sees learning as personal, situated, ideological and a negotiated process and praxis that allows students to bring in their cognitive and lived experiences to the classroom. This philosophy informs his teaching practice and student-centred teaching method which is also driven by his belief that learning experiences and process must be critical and reflexive – in a manner that helps the student to move from merely comprehending and regurgitating information to critically thinking through and analysing such information to enable change. Prof Isike not only engages with teaching and learning theories in his teaching practice, but also engages in the scholarship of teaching and learning, and has published self-reflexive book chapters and articles on his teaching in credible education journals such as the African Education Review.
Prof Isike conducts his research also from an Africanist lens with research interests spanning African soft power politics, Africa/US studies, women, peace and conflict studies, women and political representation in Africa, rethinking state formation in Africa, politics in a digital era and African immigration to South Africa. A C2 rated researcher by the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa, Prof Isike has over 60 publications in top national and international peer-reviewed journals including books and chapters in books published by reputable publishing houses globally such as Palgrave McMillan and Cambridge Scholars.
He is Editor-in-Chief of Africa’s foremost political science journal, Politikon: South African Journal of Political Studies (2020 to 2024), and has been Editor of Ubuntu: Journal of Conflict and Social Transformation since 2017. He also serves on the editorial board of several reputable international journals, such as the Canadian Journal of African Studies, African Journal of Political Science , Strategic Review for Southern Africa and International Political Science Abstracts. The International Political Science Abstracts is one of 4 major journal publications of IPSA which was first published in 1951 by IPSA and supported by the Fondation Nationale des Sciences Politiques and the American University in Paris. Published by SAGE since 2007, International Political Science Abstracts is an essential source of biographical information for researchers and students in political science and related fields as it publishes over 8,000 abstracts of articles selected from among nearly 1,000 journals and yearbooks worldwide. In 2008, Prof Isike alongside his doctoral supervisor at UKZN, Prof Ufo Uzodike founded the Forum for Constructive African Scholarship (FCAS), a research think-tank committed to producing knowledge by Africans for Africa. To this end, in 2009, FCAS established Affrika: Journal of politics, Economics and Society which was accredited by IBSS in 2017.
Prof Isike consults for the UNFPA, UNICEF, UN Women and the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government on gender equality and women empowerment issues in the province. In recognition of his work on gender equality in Africa, he was selected by the South African government to be part of a KwaZulu-Natal government delegation to Ethiopia on a study tour to explore its social transformation model in ending early childhood/forced marriages in 2013. In 2015, Prof Isike had a 12-months sabbatical stint as Senior Research Advisor at the Shell Petroleum Development Company in Nigeria where he was a programme monitoring and evaluation specialist in the External Relations Department of the company.
Apart from IPSA, Prof Isike has extensive international research collaboration networks with scholars through his membership of the African Association of Political Science (AAPS), South African Association of Political Studies (SAAPS), Canadian Association of African Studies (CAAS), EPOS: Global Conflict Mediation and Resolution Network and the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA). He is also a staff member of Resilience Peace; a research network of scholars led by the University of Bristol which is committed to exploring resilient peacebuilding actors, cultures and policy transfer in West Africa and is funded by the Worldwide Universities Network’s Research and Development Fund. Prof Isike has recently published two edited book on the ambivalence of African migrant/South African relations in South Africa and on the political economy of migration in Africa.
African soft power politics, Africa/United States studies, African democracy and development dynamics, the quality of women’s political representation in Africa, women and peace-building in Africa, African masculinities, African immigration to South Africa, Human Security, Human Factor development in Africa and South African Higher Education studies.
Recent recognitions and appointments
- Director, African Centre for the Study of the United States, University of Pretoria (ACSUS-UP), 2022 – 2024
- Board of Directors member, Global Development Network (GDN) , 2022 - 2025
- Social Cohesion Advocate of South Africa (appointed by the Minister of Sports, Arts and Culture), 2020 – 2024
Recent grant awards
- American Political Science Association Centennial Special Projects Grant, 2022: $25,000
- National Institute for Humanities and Social Science (NIHSS) African Pathways Programme Teaching and Research Mobility Grant, 2021 – 2022: R286,000
- IAS Visiting Fellowship Grant, University of Western Australia, $6,000
- Visiting Research Fellow, University of Western Australia, Australia, 2022
- Visiting Scholar, University of Notre Dame, USA, 2022
- Visiting Professor, Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique, 2021
- Visiting Researcher, University of Minnesota, USA, 2021
Recent publications (last 5 years)
Isike, C and Isike, E (Eds). (2022), Conflict and Conviviality: The Ambivalence of African Migrant/Host Relations in South Africa, Palgrave Macmillan.
Isike, C (2022), “Foes, friends or both? Looking beyond hostility in relations between Congolese migrants and South Africans in Empangeni” In: Isike, C and Isike, E (Eds). (2022) Conflict and Conviviality: The Ambivalence of African Migrant/Host Relations in South Africa, Palgrave Macmillan.
Isike, E, Olaitan Z and Isike, C (2022), “Cyberspace xenophobia in South Africa” In: Isike, C and
Isike, E (Eds). (2022) Conflict and Conviviality: The Ambivalence of African Migrant/Host Relations in South Africa, Palgrave Macmillan.
Isike C, and Olasupo, O (2022). Rethinking the State in Africa: Perceptions of Nigerians on State Formation, State-Building, and a Negotiated Social Contract in the Nigerian Case. International Journal of African Renaissance Studies, DOI: 10.1080/18186874.2022.2073245.
Isike, C and Ihembe, M. (2021), “COVID-19 and the decline of the social state in Nigeria’s federal democracy”, African and Asian Studies, 20(4).
Abasi, A, and Isike, C (2021), “The role and potential of soft power in mitigating the rivalry between India and Pakistan”, Journal of the Research Society of Pakistan, 58(2), 1 – 9.
Okeke-Uzodike, U, Isike, C and Iloh E (Eds.). (2021), The Political Economy of Migration in Africa, Enugu: Afriheritage Institute (ISBN: 978-978-981-627-9).
Madise D, Isike C. (2020), “Ubuntu diplomacy: Broadening soft power in an African context”. J Public Affairs. 2020;e2097. https://doi.org/10.1002/pa.2097.
Isike, C. (2020), “Profit vs Public health: the crisis of liberal democracy and universal healthcare in Africa” Inkanyiso: Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, 12(2), 263 - 267.
Isike, C (2019), “Digitalization and Political Science in South Africa” In: Kneuer M and Miller, H (eds.) Digitalization and Political Science: A Global Perspective. Barbara Budrich Publishers, 271 - 283.
Olaitan, Z and Isike, C (2019), "The Role of the African Union in Fostering Women’s Representation in Formal Peacebuilding: A Case Study of Sierra Leone". Journal of African Union Studies, 8(2), 135 - 154.
Owusu-Ampomah, K and Isike, C (2019), "A Human Security Analysis of Issues Affecting Boys and Young Men in Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa". Journal of Gender, Information and Development in Africa, 8(3), 39 - 67.
Onapajo, H and Isike, C (2018), “The Political Economy of Ethno-religious Conflict in Nigeria: A Case Study of Jos, Plateau State” In Babalola, D and Onapajo, H (eds.) A Country under Siege: Issues of Conflict and its Management in Democratic Nigeria. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 69 – 91.
Isike, C and Isike, E (2018), “Migration and the geopolitics of Boko Haram terrorism in Nigeria” Strategic Review for Southern Africa, 40(2), 34 – 51.
Umezurike, S and Isike, C (2018), “A geopolitical analysis of South Africa-Nigeria trade relations (1994-2014)”. Afrikka: Journal of Politics, Economic and Society, 7(1).
Sabela, P and Isike, C (2018), “Appraising the effectiveness of South Africa’s Low-Cost Housing Delivery approach for beneficiaries in uMhlathuze village and Slovos settlement”, Africa Renaissance, 15(2), 9 - 31.
Isike, C (2018), “The impact of University of Zululand structural and cultural contexts on my postgraduate supervision practice, 2011 to 2016”. Africa Education Review, 15(2), 1 – 19.
Ogunnubi, O and Isike, C (2018), “Nigeria’s Soft Power Sources: Between Potential and Illusion?” International Journal of Politics, Culture and Society, 31(1), 49 – 67.
Isike, C (2017), “Soft Power and an African Feminist Ethics of Peacebuilding” Peace Review, 29(3). DOI: 10.1080/10402659.2017.1344535.
Isike, C and Omotoso, SA (2017). “Reporting Africa: the role of the media in (un) shaping democratic and development agendas in Africa” In Olutokun and Omotoso, SA (eds.) Political Communication: Issues and Perspectives in Selected parts of Africa. USA: Springer, 209 - 227.
Isike, C and Ogunnubi, O (2017), “South Africa’s foreign policy aspirations and the National Development Plan (NDP 2030): The role of soft power” Journal of Contemporary African Studies, 35(3), 284 – 302.
Isike, C and Owusu-Ampomah, K (2017).,“A human security analysis of the situation of girls and young women in KwaZulu-Natal”. African Population Studies, 31(1), 3178 - 3192.
Isike, C and Ogunnubi, O (2017), “The Discordant Soft Power Tunes of South Africa’s Withdrawal from the ICC”, Politikon, 44(1), 173 – 180. DOI:10.1080/02589346.2017.1274085.
Isike, C and Ajeh, A (2017), “Stakeholder Engagement as a Core Management Function: Analysing the Business Value of Stakeholder Engagement for Nigerian Business Organizations”. Journal of Economics and Behavioural Studies, 9(1), 46 – 55.