Maria Cristina Ercolessi



After her graduation in Political Science (African Studies) at the University of Bologna, she studied at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) (Johns Hopkins University) in Washington D.C. (MA in International Relations, 1978). She was then a researcher in Rome, first at the institute ICIPEC (1979-80) and later (1981-92), at the Center for the Study of International Politics (CeSPI) where her main research interests were: political development and conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa, international development cooperation, Italian foreign and development policies in Africa.

1992-present: Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations of Contemporary Africa, Department of Asia, Africa and the Mediterranean, University of Naples “L’Orientale”. In such position, she coordinated the master courses in International Development and Cooperation (2005-2008), and in International Relations and Politics of Asia and Africa (2010-2015) as well as the Ph.D. programme in African studies.

In 1997-98 she was the editor of the journal “Africa e Mediterraneo” and in 1999-2003 of the quarterly journal “Afriche e Orienti” (Bologna), of which scientific board is still a member.

In November 2016 was nominated President of the Center for the Study of Contemporary Africa (University of Naples “L’Orientale”) which is part of the network of European centers of African Studies AEGIS (Afro-European Group of Interdisciplinary Studies). She is an active member of the Italian Association of African Studies (ASAI) and member of its board from 2011 to 2013.

Her main research interests are: relationship between conflict, development and humanitarian assistance; political reforms and democratization, with a special focus on Southern Africa and Angola; Africa’s  international relations; Italy’s policy toward Africa.

Main recent publications:

  • 2015 – “L’Italia e la questione sudafricana: dalla rivolta di Soweto alla liberazione di Mandela”, in P. Borruso (ed.), L’Italia in Africa. Le nuove strategie di una politica postcoloniale, Wolters Kluwer-CEDAM, Padova, pp. 183-201
  • 2015 –  “Italy and Apartheid South Africa: Between Innovation and Ambivalence, 1976-1990”, in A. Lissoni & A. Pezzano (eds.), The ANC Between Home and Exile. Reflections on the Anti-Apartheid Struggle in Italy and Southern Africa, Dipartimento Asia, Africa e Mediterraneo, Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”, collana Il Porto delle Idee, Napoli, 2015, pp. 37-51
  • 2014- “L’Africa, tra crisi locali e sfide globali”, in Atlante Geopolitico Treccani 2014, Roma 2014, pp. 123-132
  • 2013 – “L’Angola nella guerra fredda tra destabilizzazione sudafricana e linkage americano”, in afriche e orienti,  anno XV, n. 3/4, pp. 66-79
  • 2012-Thinking and Tanking.Istituti di ricerca e politica estera italiana di fronte alla primavera araba e alla guerra in Libia, in A:M. Di Tolla, E. Francesca (a cura di), La rivoluzione ai tempi di Internet: il futuro della democrazia nel Maghreb e nel mondo arabo, Il Torcoliere, Unior, Napoli, pp. 93-109
  • 2012 – “La Cina in Africa: un’ascesa irresistibile?”, in C. Fiamingo (a cura di), Africa che cambia, Edizioni Unicopli, Milano, pp. 117-130
  • 2011 – L’Angola indipendente, Carocci Editore, Roma

Comments are closed.