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World Politics Fellow Antoinette Handley to Deliver Talk on Businesses' Reaction to Crises in Africa

Antoinette Handley, this year's World Politics Fellow.
Wednesday, April 26, 2017

World Politics Fellow Antoinette Handley, who is visiting PIIRS this year from the University of Toronto, will deliver a talk today, April 26, on how businesses in Africa react in times of crises. The event will be held at 4:30 to 6 p.m. in 127 Corwin Hall and will be followed by a reception.

During her talk, Handley plans to unfold these questions: "In moments of intense social crisis, why do some firms respond in a way that assists the broader society to resolve that crisis, while others act much more ruthlessly to protect only their own interests, in the process defining those interests both narrowly and in the short term? What kind of political economy is being constructed in each case, with what kind of capacity to construct a broader public good in the face of society-wide challenges?"

In her talk, she will explore two instances of broad-based, complex, society-wide crises and what they may explain about these issues: the HIV/AIDS epidemic in East and Southern Africa respectively, and broader violent, political convulsions in two countries, one each from the same two regions (Kenya and South Africa). She will argue that labor is a key mechanism, along with the institutions that connect (or not) the interests of the country’s economic elites to those of ordinary citizens and the broader society.

Handley is an associate professor of political science at the University of Toronto. Her research interests include the political economy of development with a focus on the role of business and the private sector in Africa. She is currently finishing up a book on the business response to social crisis, which includes an examination of the private sector response  to HIV/AIDS in four AIDS-affected countries. This year at Princeton, Handley has been working on  the nature of state formation in Africa, particularly on how the power of political elites and of the states they build are constrained or enabled by the concomitant development,  or not, of an economic class. She earned her Ph.D. at Princeton.

The event is being sponsored by World Politics and the Program in Democracy and Development.