Dr Jan Erk

at Centre of African Studies, University of Cambridge


Jan Erk, political scientist at Leiden University, is the 2016-2017 Smuts Memorial Fellow at the University of Cambridge. During his residency, he is working on his research project ‘The Enduring Impact of Africa’s extinct kingdoms and invisible chieftaincies'. This project focuses on the continuing influence of kingdoms which existed in Africa throughout its precolonial and colonial history. While these kingdoms have formally ceased to exist, they still permeate many cultural practices and influence political loyalties in their historic heartlands.

He holds a PhD from McGill University in Montréal, Canada. Prior to Leiden University, Dr. Erk has held positions at the University of Toronto in Canada, université catholique de Louvain in Belgium, and Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. He is currently co-editor of the journal Regional and Federal Studies. His work covers the study of federalism and decentralisation – both in the industrialised and developing world. Dr. Erk is a recurring visiting professor at Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. And in 2014, he was visiting professor as the Faculty of Law, the University of Western Cape, in South Africa.