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Visiting Scholars

Visiting Scholars have always enriched academic life here at St John's. We welcome visitors at different stages in their careers from all over the world.

Our current and recent Visiting Scholars are listed below.

Lent Term 2018

Professor Jonathan Schneer, Georgia Institute of Technology, Beaufort Visiting Scholar

Jonathan Schneer is the modern British historian at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta GA. He is the author of seven books, including London 1900: The Imperial Metropolis (Yale University Press, 1999), The Thames: England’s River (Yale University Press, 2004), The Balfour Declaration: The Origins of Arab-Israeli Conflict (Random House, 2010) which won a National Jewish Book Award, and Ministers at War: Winston Churchill and his War Cabinet (Basic Books, 2015). He has been a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies. He is a recipient of a Whiting Fellowship.  Before teaching at Georgia Tech, he taught at Yale University. He served for many years on the editorial boards of the Radical History Review and Twentieth Century British History. While a Beaufort Visiting Scholar at St John’s, he will be conducting research for a book on the British General Strike of 1926. Professor Schneer's sponsor is Professor Tombs.

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Dr Gioia Filocamo, Conservatory of Music of Terni, Beaufort Visiting Scholar

Gioia Filocamo is an Italian musicologist (PhD in Musical Philology, 2001; Degree in Drama, Art, and Music Studies, 1994; Diploma in Piano, 1988) and historian (PhD in History, 2015), a full professor in Poetry for Music and Musical Dramaturgy at the Conservatory of Music of Terni (Italy).

After having devoted her academic research to musical philology, she turned to cultural history connected to music from the fifteenth to the seventeenth century. Her interest in Early Modern society concerns the cultural function of music: the oldest polyphonic Requiem pieces in Italy; the fear of death and the activity of Italian lay confraternities connected to music (also related to public executions); saints and sins in Italian devotional sung poetry; the social role of confraternities; social and musical life inside nunneries; connections between food, art and music; and music in court and religious contexts. Her most recent work deals with social and cultural implications of Italian opera, specifically its musical structures as related to dramaturgy. Some of her recent reflections also encompass a gender perspective.

Her strong desire to spend some productive time in Cambridge is motivated by her recent scholarly interests, based on the lengthy research that resulted in her second PhD dissertation (in Modern History): the investigation of the text, context and contents of the huge corpus of 211 laude (devotional poems typically in Italian intended to be sung) compiled for the Confraternita di Santa Maria della Morte (Confraternity of St Mary of Death) of Bologna, the first institution ever to deal with spiritual and psychological assistance to prisoners condemned to death, founded in 1336.

Professor Elizabeth Tyler, University of York, Beaufort Visiting Scholar

Elizabeth Tyler is Professor of Medieval Literature in the Department of English and the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of York. Her research into early and high medieval English literature focuses on poetry and history-writing in Latin, English and French. It aims to develop new models for the integral place of England within European literary culture on both sides of the Conquest. These models are multilingual, reflecting the linguistic and social diversity of medieval England, and entangled, working across Flanders, France and the German Empire. Tyler’s work emphasises Anglo-Saxon England (alongside early medieval Ireland) as an important laboratory for the development of written vernaculars, which exerted a crucial impact on vernacularisation in Western Europe as a whole. Her publications include: England in Europe: English Royal Women and Literary Patronage, c. 1000 – c. 1150 (2017); Anglo-Saxon Poetics: The Aesthetics of the Familiar (2006); and an edited collection, Conceptualizing Multilingualism in England, c. 800 – c. 1250 (2011).

Tyler co-directs the Centre for Medieval Literature (CML) – a Danish centre of excellence based jointly at the University of Southern Denmark and the University of York. CML works to develop theoretical models for the study of medieval literature on a European scale.

While at St John’s, Tyler will be beginning her project, ‘Connected Vernaculars in the Latin West, c. 500- c. 1100’. This project looks at the writing of vernacular languages as an interconnected elite phenomenon rather than as the beginning of national literatures. She will also be continuing to work on a project on poetic anthologizing in the Latin West. Both projects involve collaboration with Professor Máire Ní Mhaonaigh (St John’s).


Professor Michael Puett, Harvard University, Beaufort Visiting Scholar

Michael Puett is the Walter C. Klein Professor of Chinese History and Anthropology at Harvard University. He is also a non-resident long-term fellow for programs in anthropological and historical sciences and the languages and civilizations of East Asia at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, Uppsala. His interests are focused on the inter-relations between history, philosophy, anthropology, and religion, with the hope of bringing the study of China into larger historical and comparative frameworks. He is the author of The Ambivalence of Creation: Debates Concerning Innovation and Artifice in Early China and To Become a God: Cosmology, Sacrifice, and Self-Divinization in Early China, as well as the co-author, with Adam Seligman, Robert Weller, and Bennett Simon, of Ritual and its Consequences: An Essay on the Limits of Sincerity. While a Beaufort Visiting Scholar at St John’s, he will be conducting research for a book on commentaries in Chinese late antiquity. Professor Puett’s sponsor is Professor Tim Whitmarsh.

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Dr Josh West, University of Southern California, Beaufort Visiting Scholar

Josh West is Associate Professor of Earth Sciences and Zinsmeyer Chair in Marine Studies at the University of Southern California. His research focuses on the chemical and physical processes at the surface of the Earth. He works on how these processes operate over millions of years of geological time to sustain a habitable planet, and over shorter time scales to shape soil and water resources, as well as produce hazards like landslides and debris flows. He is particularly interested in Earth's long-term carbon cycle, which has remarkably maintained a climate that can support life over billions of years despite frequent large perturbations. West has authored over 60 peer reviewed publications in journals including Nature. While a Beaufort Visiting Scholar at St John's, he will be working on a research project evaluating how large earthquakes perturb Earth's surface environment, collaborating with Dr. Ed Tipper to investigate the case study of the 2015 Gorkha Earthquake in Nepal.

Josh West

Professor Ana Maria Mauad, Celso Furtado Visiting Scholar

Professor Ana Maria Mauad is Professor of History at the University Federal Fluminense, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she is the Coordinator of the Laboratory of Oral History and Image. Dr. Mauad is a National Council Researcher (CNPq), and a Scientist of the State of Rio de Janeiro. She is also a member of the International Graduate Program of Portuguese Heritage Influence, University of Coimbra (Portugal), University of Bologne (Italy), University of Mondlane (Mozambique) and University Federal Fluminense (Brasil). She has held Fellowships and Residencies at: Intituto de Estudios Avanzados, Universidad Santiago de Chile; University of California-Berkeley; International Forum for U.S Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia, INAH, Mexico; Universidad de Mar del Plata, Argentina; Laboratorio de Audiovisual de Investigaciones Sociales, Intituto Mora, Mexico; and CAPES-Cofecub month research, Paris. She still coordinates collective projects involving collaboration among professors from different universities in Latin America.

Her field of focus is nineteenth- and twentieth-century photography studies, US, and Latin American cultural history; oral history theory and methodology; visual history theory and methodology; history of memory.

During her time in Cambridge she will develop her present research on the concept of public photography titled “Photography and Public Visual Space in Contemporary Societies” focusing on the historicity of the audiences of photographic exhibitions and the history of different collections of photographs in UK.

Her recent publications are Uma história visual da Guanabara (with Marly Motta and Paulo Knauss, Edições Janeiro, 2015); Fotografia e Historia ( with John Mraz, edited by CdF Montevideo, 2015); História Pública no Brasil: Sentidos e Itinerários (with Juniele Almeida and Ricardo Santhiago, Letra & Voz, 2016), among many articles published on specialised journals.

Ana Mauad


Michaelmas Term 2017

Professor George Alter, University of Michigan, Beaufort Visiting Scholar

George Alter is Research Professor in the Institute for Social Research and Professor of History at the University of Michigan. His research integrates theory and methods from demography, economics, and family history with historical sources to understand demographic behaviors in the past. From 2007 to 2016 Alter was Director of the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research, the world’s largest archive of social science data. He has been active in international efforts to promote research transparency, data sharing, and secure access to confidential research data. During his visit to St John’s College Alter will be working with colleagues at the Cambridge Group for the History of Population & Social Structure to re-analyse English family histories from 1580 to 1900. He is particularly interested in the adoption of family limitation, and he has been comparing recent transitions to lower fertility in Africa to fertility declines in Europe and East Asia. Professor Alter's sponsor is Professor Szreter.

Professor Stefan Schulz, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Beaufort Visiting Scholar

Stefan Schulz is Professor of Organic Chemistry and Head of the Institute of Organic Chemistry at the Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany. He is interested in Natural Product Chemistry with a focus on Chemical Communication and Chemical Ecology, the understanding of the function of natural products in the native biological systems. His research covers the identification and isolation of chemical compounds from natural sources, their stereoselective synthesis and analysis, and studies on their biosynthesis in the original organism. Most work is done in close cooperation with biologists on specific systems such as arthropods, bacteria, or vertebrates. In Cambridge, research projects on the evolution and function of pheromone signalling in butterflies will be intensified in cooperation with Professor Chris Jiggins. The projects will be linking expertise in genetics, behavior and speciation with chemistry, hopefully resulting in a clearer picture of pheromone communication and its evolution in general. Professor Schulz's sponsor is Professor Jiggins.

Dr Susana Torres Prieto, IE University, Madrid, Beaufort Visiting Scholar

Susana Torres is Associate Professor of Humanities and Academic Director of Humanities at IE University (Madrid). Her research interests focus on medieval Slavic literature and culture, with particular focus on East Slavic (Medieval Slavic Studies: New Perspectives for Research (ed.), 2009). She has worked extensively on heroic literature both vernacular and in translation, (Cantos épicos rusos, 2003) particularly on how it contributed to develop an imperial ideology of power, and also on apocryphal gospels, on which she has published several articles on how to better approach critical editions of Slavic texts. During her Beaufort Visiting Fellowship she will focus on producing a monograph in which questions of literary generic classification and social function of the texts will be dealt with more extensively, taking into account not only recent discoveries and new appreciations on the techniques of manuscript culture in Medieval Russia, but also approaches already applied to other European medieval literary traditions in order to place medieval Russian literary studies within the European concert where it rightly belongs. Dr Torres' sponsor is Professor Ni Mhaonaigh.

Professor Edward Greitzer, MIT, Beaufort Visiting Scholar

Edward M. Greitzer is the H. N. Slater Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT, where he has been the Director of the Gas Turbine Laboratory and Deputy Department Head. He received his BA, MS, and PhD from Harvard. In addition to his academic experience he worked at United Technologies Corporation for nearly a decade, both at the Pratt & Whitney Division and at the United Technologies Research Center. His research interests include gas turbines, turbomachinery, propulsion system-airframe integration, active control of fluid systems, vortex flows, and industry-university collaboration. He was the MIT lead on the Cambridge-MIT Silent Aircraft Initiative and has had several previous stays at Cambridge as an Overseas Fellow. Professor Greitzer will be working at the Whittle Laboratory (Engineering Department). One objective is to complete a text on fluid dynamic Concept Questions. A second important goal, however, is to foster the longstanding and fruitful collaboration between the Cambridge Whittle Laboratory and the MIT Gas Turbine Laboratory that has been one of the highlights of his career. Professor Greitzer's sponsor is Dr Hynes.

Professor Martin Parniske, LMU Munich, Beaufort Visiting Scholar

Professor Martin Parniske studied biology, microbiology, biochemistry and genetics at the universities of Konstanz and Marburg, Germany. From 1986 until 1991 he performed diploma and doctoral studies in the laboratory of Dietrich Werner on chemical communication of the root with the bacterial microbiome with a focus on flavonoids and isoflavonoids. From 1992 until 1994 Martin carried out biochemical studies on the interaction of plant transcription factors and DNA at the Institute of Biochemistry of the Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research in Cologne, Germany as a postdoctoral fellow funded by the German Research Foundation. From 1994 until 1998 he studied the evolution of plant disease resistance genes in the lab of Jonathan D.G. Jones. In 1998 Martin was appointed as an independent group leader at the Sainsbury Laboratory in Norwich, UK. In 2004 he accepted a call for the chair of Genetics at the Faculty of Biology of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, Germany.From 2011 until 2013 he acted as the Dean of the Faculty of Biology of the LMU Munich. As the head of the Institute of Genetics at the Faculty of Biology of the LMU Munich, Martin teaches students at the Bachelor, Master and Doctoral (Dr. rer. nat.) level. Topics taught include Genetics, Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, Genetics and Society, Plant Nutrition and Sustainable Food Production. Professor Parniske’s sponsor is Dr Paszkowski.


Easter Term 2017

Professor Yang Lu, Peking University, Beaufort Visiting Scholar

Yang LU is Professor of History of Peking University. After received his Ph.D in East Asian Studies from Princeton University, he has been concentrating his work on history of medieval China, especially the transformation of imperial power and political culture, and the use of writing in shaping elite identity, in Tang empire. He is also deeply interested in comparative studies between medieval Chinese empires and the world of late Antiquity and medieval Europe. As a Beaufort Scholar at St John's, he plans to work on a monograph on the rise of Tang literocracy, a group of social-political elite that dominates the society from the 8th to early 11th century, and explores new way to compare the medieval Chinese emphasis on writing and the Renaissance emphasis on the art of rhetoric. Professor Lu's sponsor is Professor McMullen.

Professor Jean Szlamowicz, Université de Bourgogne (France), Beaufort Visiting Scholar

Professor Jean Szlamowicz specializes in linguistics, translation and music. Formerly a student at the Ecole Normal Supérieure in Fontenay, an assistant in Cambridge (Girton, St John’s) and a senior lecturer at the Sorbonne University in Paris, he now teaches in Dijon in the English department. His fields of study include oral syntax, semantics, and translation studies. He has published two handbooks in French/English translation (2011, Outils pour le commentaire de traduction and 2012, Outils pour Traduire, Ophrys). In discourse analysis he has focused on the rhetoric of political activism and contemporary anti-Semitism, publishing a critical study of Stéphane Hessel’s Indignez-vous! (2011, Détrompez-vous!, Intervalles). He has translated several novels into French (Past Imperfect by Julian Fellowes; Bowl of Cherries by Millard Kaufman; The Axeman’s Jazz by Ray Celestin…) and one into English, Parisian Gentleman by Hugo Jacomet, a study in menswear, another of his academic fields of interest. A member of the Académie du Jazz created by Jean Cocteau and former contributor to Jazz Hot, he currently writes for the Chicago jazz magazine Downbeat. As a producer, he runs the Paris-based organization Spirit of Jazz. His next book, entitled Jazz Talk, is a sociolinguistic exploration of the jazz jargon. As a visiting scholar, he plans to complete a book in translation studies, as well as two studies on wine terminology and another on pragmatic connectors. Professor Szlamowicz's sponsor is Professor Boyde.

Professor Catherine Alexander, Durham University, Beaufort Visiting Scholar

Catherine Alexander is Professor of Social Anthropology at Durham University with a long interest in waste: the politics and economics of waste, how it variously appears as matter, metaphor, something to be managed away or transformed into value. She will be working on two edited collections which are considering first, indeterminacy, as a particular form of waste with specific effects and, second, the imaginative and other work required to transform different wastes to value – which considers why potential value often fails to be realised. She will also be writing a monograph on the small one-company town, which is centred on Kazakhstan’s National Nuclear Centre (NNC) and abuts the former Soviet nuclear test site in north east Kazakhstan. The NNC has the related tasks of managing this past and spearheading what is often called Kazakhstan’s nuclear renaissance as a global peaceful nuclear leader. Professor Alexander's sponsor is Dr Watson.

Professor Dimitri El Murr, University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, Beaufort Visiting Scholar

Dimitri El Murr is Associate Professor in Ancient Philosophy at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and an Honorary Member of the Institut Universitaire de France. His research area is Ancient Philosophy, especially Socrates, Plato and political Platonism in Antiquity and beyond. His latest books include The Platonic Art of Philosophy (Cambridge University Press, 2013), co-edited with G. Boys-Stones and Ch. Gill; a collection of essays on Plato’s Theaetetus (La Mesure du savoir. Études sur le Théétète, Paris, Vrin, 2013); and a monograph on political science in Plato entitled Savoir et gouverner. Essai sur la science politique platonicienne (Paris, Vrin, 2014). As a Beaufort scholar at St John’s, he plans to work on a new book provisionally entitled The Laws of attraction: Plato on friendship and politics. Arguing that Plato has a systematic, wide-ranging, and philosophically challenging conception of friendship in the manner of Empedocles, the aim of this book is to propose a detailed reconstruction of Plato’s account of philia (friendship) throughout the dialogues, thus helping to see how the Platonic psychological analysis of philia as a form of desire, the treatment of friendship as a political means of social cohesiveness, and the analysis of philia as a cosmological principle all fit together. Professor El Murr's sponsor is Professor Schofield.

Professor Renate Dürr, University of Tübingen, Beaufort Visiting Scholar

Renate Dürr has been Professor of Modern History at the University of Tübingen since October 2011 and Dean of the History Department since 2013. From 2006 to 2011, Dürr was Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Kassel; prior to that, she worked as an assistant professor in Early Modern History at the University of Frankfurt am Main and was a visiting instructor at several universities, including the University of Basel. In 2006, Renate Dürr’s research focused on the history of Jesuit missions within the context of global history. In her publications on the flow of knowledge and culture between the Old and New Worlds, Dürr has examined Jesuit letters and travelogues, which were often published in Der Neue Welt-Bott, a German missionary journal which was published from 1726 to 1758. As a Beaufort Visiting Scholar at St John’s College, she will work on her next book about this journal, which she is currently writing together with Prof. Ulrike Strasser (University of California – San Diego). It will be published by Brill. Professor Dürr's sponsor is Professor Rublack.

Professor Tzvi Abusch, Brandeis University, Beaufort Visiting Scholar

Professor Tzvi Abusch is Rose B. and Joseph Cohen Professor of Assyriology and Ancient Near Eastern Religion, Brandeis University. He is a scholar of ancient Near Eastern texts. His expertise is in the languages and cultures of Ancient Mesopotamia, Ancient Near Eastern religions, and the Hebrew Bible. His primary fields of research and publications are Mesopotamian religion, magic, literature, and thought as well as biblical-Babylonian interconnections. During his stay in Cambridge in 2017 he intends to continue his work of editing and interpreting ancient Mesopotamian anti-witchcraft incantations and rituals and to work on volume 3 of the Corpus of Mesopotamian Anti-Witchcraft Rituals (which he is editing together with D. Schwemer) and II) to study and analyse selected Akkadian prayers and thereby to continue work on the interpretation of Babylonian prayers and their historical development. Professor Abusch's sponsor is Dr Worthington.

Dr Robert Miller, Catholic University of America, Beaufort Visiting Scholar

Dr Robert Miller is an Associate Professor of the Old Testament at the Catholic University of America and Director of the Biblical Studies faculty. He earned a PhD in Near Eastern Studies from the University of Michigan in 1998, with a concentration in Hebrew Bible. Dr Miller is the author of several books and many articles on early Israel, its history, archaeology, and literature. His research in Cambridge is on 'Southern Elements in the Origins of Israelite Yahwism', investigating biblical traditions about the source of Yahwism in northwestern Arabia, Ancient Near Eastern confirmation of this, and archaeological evidence for its importance. Dr Miller's sponsor is Dr MacDonald.

Lent Term 2017

Professor Catherine Alexander, Durham University, Beaufort Visiting Scholar

Catherine Alexander is Professor of Social Anthropology at Durham University with a long interest in waste: the politics and economics of waste, how it variously appears as matter, metaphor, something to be managed away or transformed into value. She will be working on two edited collections which are considering first, indeterminacy, as a particular form of waste with specific effects and, second, the imaginative and other work required to transform different wastes to value – which considers why potential value often fails to be realised. She will also be writing a monograph on the small one-company town, which is centred on Kazakhstan’s National Nuclear Centre (NNC) and abuts the former Soviet nuclear test site in north east Kazakhstan. The NNC has the related tasks of managing this past and spearheading what is often called Kazakhstan’s nuclear renaissance as a global peaceful nuclear leader. Her sponsor is Dr Helen Watson.

Professor Krste Asanovic, University of California, Berkeley

Professor Krste Asanovic has been developing and promoting the free and open RISC-V instruction set architecture, developed in his group at UC Berkeley, as a way to reinvigorate the computer hardware industry by lowering the barrier to entry for new ideas.  He is coming to St John's to collaborate with his sponsor Robert Mullins and others at the Cambridge Computer Lab to further develop new secure architectures based on the RISC-V architecture.

Professor Richard Lockhart, Simon Fraser University  
Professor Ezra Zubrow, University of Buffalo  

Dr Huasheng Song, Zhejiang University

Huasheng Song is an associate professor in economics at Zhejiang University in China. He received his Ph.D. from Université Catholique de Louvain in Belgium. He is a member of Jiusan Society in China which is a political party comprising of intellectuals engaged in science and technology. Dr. Song’s research centers on international trade, regional economics and Chinese economy.  As a Beaufort visiting scholar at St. John’s college, he plans to wrap up two ongoing research projects on trade policy uncertainty and firms dynamics in export markets, and foreign exchange rate fluctuation and pricing strategy of firms in export markets. He also aims to explore new collaborative research topics while residing at the college. His sponsoring fellow is Dr Crowley.

Dr Quentin Deluermoz, Université Paris 13

Quentin Deluermoz is Associate Professor of Contemporary History at Université Paris 13. He is a member of the laboratory PLeiade (Université Paris 13), associate member of the Centre de recherches historiques (CRH - EHESS) and a Member of the Institut Universitaire de France (IUF). His research focuses on the social and cultural history of order and disorder in the 19th Century Europe (including its Empires). He has published "le crepuscule des revolutions (1848-1871)" (Paris, Seuil, Histoire de la France contemporaine, 2012), "Norbert Elias et le XXe siècle" (Paris, Tempus, 2014), and, with Pierre Singaravelou "Pour une histoire des possibles" (Paris, Seuil 2016). After working on police-society relationship in the 19th century Paris, London and Berlin, his research focus now on the Paris Commune. As a Beaufort Visiting Scholar, he plans to finish the book on this topic which aims, by combining ethnographic approaches "from below" with local, European and global perspectives, to propose a new interpretation of that major revolutionary event situated within the profound changes of the "global 1860s". 

Professor Michael Duggan, St Mary's University, Calgary

Michael Duggan is Professor of Religious Studies at St. Mary’s University in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. His academic research focuses primarily on early Judaism and Christian origins with an attendant concern for interreligious dialogue in the 21st century. At St John’s College, his research will centre on the profile of the Jerusalem Temple in the biblical compendium of Ezra-Nehemiah with the intention of producing a monograph on the topic. The Temple reconstruction was foundational to establishing Jewish identity in the Persian era (539-332 BCE) and beyond. In the book of Ezra, intergovernmental communications (in Aramaic) between the regional administrators in Yehud and their superiors in Persia situate this construction project within the designs of the Achaemenid administration for ruling its empire. This is a story about the resettlement of exiles during an era of incipient globalization in the ancient world. Professor Duggan’s sponsor in Cambridge is Professor Stefan Reif.

Dr Max du Plessis, University of Kwazulu-Natal - Colenso Visiting Scholar

Max du Plessis, is a barrister in South Africa, associate professor, University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban) and a senior research associate at the Institute for Security Studies.  The primary focus of his research and writing over the past few years has been international criminal justice and the work of the International Criminal Court in and about Africa.  As a barrister in South Africa (and associate tenant, Doughty Street Chambers, London), Max has been working on domestic cases dealing with arrest warrants for senior government officials implicated in international crimes (including President Bashir of Sudan, Tzipi Livni of Israel, and President Mugabe of Zimbabwe) and litigating and advising on them in South Africa and other countries.  He most recently acted on behalf of the Southern African Litigation Centre in seeking to ensure that the South African government complies with its obligations to arrest Bashir - arguing against the government's claim that Bashir has immunity from arrest under customary international law on account of him being head of state.

Max is taking time away from practice to work on a book of his experiences (particularly from an African perspective) of international criminal justice in action, and to focus on the promises and problems of doing such work on the continent – and the lessons that might be drawn therefrom for other jurisdictions.