Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


Professor Rita Abrahamsen

Professor Rita Abrahamsen is a Senior Visiting Research Fellow in 2023-24.

Rita Abrahamsen is Professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. Her research interests are at the intersection of African politics and International Relations, and her research is empirically grounded and theoretically informed by international political sociology. She is the author of World of the Right: Radical Conservatism and Global Order (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2024, with JF Drolet, MC Williams, S. Vucetic, K. Narita and A. Gheciu); Security Beyond the State: Private Security in International Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2011 with M.C. Williams); and Disciplining Democracy: Development Discourse and the Good Governance Agenda in Africa (Zed Books, 2000). She was Director of the Centre for International Policy Studies (CIPS) from 2017 to 2023, and joint-editor of African Affairs, the highest ranked journal in African studies, from 2009 to 2014.

Project Description: Global Right, Global White: South Africa in the Political Imaginary of the Radical Right

This project focuses on the unique position of South Africa and the Afrikaner minority within the narratives and imaginaries of the contemporary global radical Right. It shows how Afrikaner nationalist groups and movements have successfully mobilized political networks, strategies, and social media platforms to gain visibility on the international stage. It further analyses how representations of the Afrikaners at the southern-most tip of Africa are mobilized by the radical Right in Europe and the United States in attempts to produce politically powerful images of a white minority surrounded by civilizational ‘others’, systematically connected to right-wing fears about ‘the great replacement’. Theoretically and methodologically, the research project seeks to develop an approach that captures the radical Right simultaneously as a grounded political project and as a global phenomenon. It also seeks to contribute creative and practical solutions for how to counter the spread of radical right-wing ideas and practices.