Political Science

Postdoctoral Fellows & Visiting Scholars

Dr. Chrislain Eric Kenfack
Killiam Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Kenfack’s research is at the heart of the critical issues of our times. His questions concern the grounds for solidarity among social movements that are differently positioned in the struggle to create ecologically sustainable societies. As a consultant-researcher at the Centre for International Forestry Research in Yaounde, Cameroon, he conducted field work with indigenous and non-indigenous communities in the Congo Basin forests that were affected by REDD+ programs, developing a critique of the way “free, prior, and informed consent” (UNDRIP) principles were being interpreted. His doctoral research at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, critically examined the current UN-led global climate governance (climate politics from above) from the perspective of state centrality and market-dominated approaches, and analyzed the climate justice and labour movements’ proposals (climate politics from below) as possible ways forward, based on the South African and Portuguese climate jobs campaigns case studies, producing a series of publications on the lessons for Just Transition, and labour environmentalism. He has also authored critical studies of the Paris CoP framework (and market-based climate policies more generally), and on the implications of climate change for human rights and for migrant movements. His work ranges widely across ethical, political-economic, and sociological questions linked by concerns about climate justice. He completed his Ph.D. in Political Science and Sociology at the University of Coimbra, Portugal, in 2018. Before that, he earned a Master’s degree in International Relations at the University of Yaounde II, and also completed a double BA in Theology (at the Catholic University of Central Africa) and Philosophy (at the University of Yaounde I). His postdoctoral research in Alberta will examine the Indigenous climate action movement and faith-based environmental organizations, asking how they are relating to one another given the long history of church involvement in settler colonialism.


Dr. Mark R. Johnson
Killiam Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr Mark R Johnson is a Killam Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta. He holds a PhD in Science and Technology Studies and a BA (Hons) in Politics & Sociology from the University of York (UK), and previously worked as a postdoctoral fellow at both the University of York and Goldsmiths College, University of London.

His research is focused on the intersections between play and money (and their attendant ideological entanglements), such as the phenomenon of "Esports" (professional competitive video game play), live streaming on platforms such as Twitch.tv, fantasy sports betting, and so forth. More broadly he is interested in a range of other topics in the field of game studies, particularly game design, labour, and player communities. His work has been published at journals including 
'Information, Communication and Society''The Sociological Review' and 'Games and Culture'. His first monograph, 'The Unpredictability of Gameplay', is a Deleuzean examination of randomness, chance and luck in games, focusing on the player experiences created through different kinds of mechanical unpredictability, and the player cultures that have arisen around them. 

He is currently developing two new monograph projects, one into the phenomenon of live streaming, and one into fantasy sports betting. Beyond academia, he is also an independent game developer, a former professional poker player, and a regular games blogger, podcaster, and freelance writer.


Dr. Ghada Ageel
Visiting Professor 

Dr. Ghada Ageel is a Visiting Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta. She holds a PhD and MA in Middle East Politics from the University of Exeter (Britain) and a BA in Education from the Islamic University/Gaza. Her PhD dissertation examined the historic and contemporary role of the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) in relation to the question of a durable solution for Palestinian refugees.

Dr. Ageel is the recipient of several awards and scholarships including The Phillips Grant (UK, 2013), The Jerusalem Studies’ Scholarship of the University of Exeter (2002 and 1999), the Higher Education Award of the Ministry of Education (Palestine, 1996) and the Hebrew Language and Literature Scholarship (Gaza, 1993).

Her research interests focus on rights-based approaches to forced migration, Palestinian refugees in comparative perspective, oral history, women's studies, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and the permanent status issues involved in the Middle East peace process. Dr. Ageel's work has been widely published in several newspapers, magazines and journals worldwide, including The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Hill, CNN, BBC, The Guardian, Journal for Palestine Studies, Palestine Chronicle, MATAN Magazine (Hebrew), Occupation Magazine and many Arabic newspapers throughout the Middle East.

In addition to her book with Dr. Ibrahim Abu Jaber, Wisam Afifi, Maisam Eid, et all “Jurh Al-Nakba: Part 1” The Wound of Nakba, Part 1, Um Al-Fahem, Centre of Contemporary Studies, 2003; Dr. Ageel is currently working on a book project: The Palestinian Nakba and Israeli Apartheid : The Law and The Experience. She is also active in Faculty4Palestine—Alberta.


Dr. Siavash Saffari
Visiting Professor

Saffari is currently working on a new book project, tentatively titled Iranian Marxism and the Question of Religion. A work in intellectual history and comparative political theory, the book will chronicle the encounter between Marxism and political Islam in modern Iran through a critical reading of original works by leading twentieth century Marxist intellectuals in Iran, including Mammad Amin Rasulzadeh (1884-1955), Taqi Erani (1903-1940), Bijan Jazani (1937-1975), Mostafa Shoaian (1936-1976), and Ehsan Tabari (1917-1989). The book will also examine some of the major critiques of Marxist approaches to religion (and to Shi'i Islam in particular) in Iran, including by feminists, Muslim socialists, and Islamists. The study aims to fill a research gap in modern Iranian/Middle Eastern/Islamic studies with regard to the diverse modalities of the interaction between Marxism and political Islam as two of the major intellectual and sociopolitical movements of the twentieth century. Moreover, within the fields of Marxist and socialist theory scant attention has been given to non-European/non-Western thinkers and their contributions. This study will hence contribute not only to the field of modern Iranian, Middle Eastern, and Islamic studies, but also to the fields of Marxist theory, global South theory, and intellectual history.