Stephen Smith

Stephen Smith

Professor of the Practice of African and African American Studies

External Address: 
Ernestine Friedl Building (East Campus), Durham, NC 27708-0257
Internal Office Address: 
Box 90257, Durham, NC 27708-0257
(919) 681-6111


Stephen W. Smith has been teaching African Studies at Duke since 2007. Until 2013, he also lectures as an adjunct at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, DC. He holds a PhD in semiotics from Berlin's Free University and graduated in anthropology at the Sorbonne (Panthéon) in Paris. The deputy editor of the foreign desk at Le Monde for five years and, previously, the Africa editor at Libération for twelve years, he had worked as a roving correspondent in West and Central Africa for Reuters news agency and Radio France International (RFI). He is the (co-)author of sixteen books, of country reports (Nigeria, Central African Republic) for the International Crisis Group, and a consultant for the UN and other international bodies. He has widely contributed to many publications and writes regularly for The London Review of Books. He also works for the film industry as a historical consultant and script writer.

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Free University of Berlin (Germany) 1984

Selected Grants

Centers of Excellence Annual Agreement 2020 awarded by Cultural Services of the French Embassy (Principal Investigator). 2020

Carayannis, Tatiana, and Louisa Lombard. Making Sense of the Central African Republic. Zed Books, 2015.

GLASER, Antoine, and Stephen W. SMITH. Sarko en Afrique. Plon, 2011.

Smith, Stephen. Voyage en postcolonie. Grasset & Fasquelle, 2010.

Smith, S., and S. Faes. Noirs et Français ! (Black and French !). Panama, 2006.

Smith, Stephen, and Antoine Glaser. Comment la France a perdu l'Afrique. Calmann-Lévy, 2005.

Smith, Stephen. Négrologie. Calmann-Lévy, 2003.

Smith, S. Sur le fleuve Congo (On the Congo River). Actes Sud, 2003.

Smith, Stephen, and Géraldine Faes. Bokassa Ier un empereur français. Calmann-Lévy, 2000.


Smith, Stephen W. “France in Africa: A New Chapter?Current History, vol. 112, no. 754, CURRENT HIST INC, May 2013, pp. 163–68.

Smith, S. “Behind France’s Foray into Mali.” Current History, a Journal of Contemporary World Affairs, May 2013, pp. 163–69.

Smith, Stephen W. “Youth in Africa: Rebels without a Cause but not without Effect.” Sais Review of International Affairs, vol. 31, no. 2, Project Muse, 2011, pp. 97–110. Crossref, doi:10.1353/sais.2011.0021. Full Text

Smith, Stephen W. “Sudan: In a Procrustean Bed with Crisis.” International Negotiation, vol. 16, no. 1, Brill, 2011, pp. 169–89. Crossref, doi:10.1163/157180611x553917. Full Text

Smith, Stephen. “La politique d'engagement de la France à l'épreuve de la Côte d'Ivoire.” Politique Africaine, vol. 89, no. 1, CAIRN, 2003, pp. 112–112. Crossref, doi:10.3917/polaf.089.0112. Full Text

Smith, S., and G. Faes. “République centrafricaine : la solitude et le chaos.” Politique Internationale, vol. 88, 2000.

Smith, S. “Paris vs. Washington.” Limes. Revue Française De Géopolitique, vol. 3, 1997, pp. 53–66.

Smith, S. “France-Afrique : la fin d’une époque.” Politique Internationale, vol. 67, 1994, pp. 265–82.

Smith, S. “Afrique noire: le duel Washington-Paris.” Politique Internationale, vol. 63, 1994.

Smith, S. “Continent noir : la technique du « suicide national ».” Politique Internationale, vol. 58, 1992.