School of Politics and International Relations

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Michaela Collord

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Social Sciences



I joined Nottingham as an Assistant Professor in September 2021. Prior to this, I was a Junior Research Fellow in Politics at New College, University of Oxford. I also completed my PhD in politics at Oxford.

Expertise Summary

My research comprises three overlapping strands:

(1) The political economy of authoritarian rule and authoritarian political institutions (parties and legislatures)

(2) Authoritarian strategies for urban dominance, urban informal labour markets, labour organizing and cooperatives

(3) The history and politics of sub-Saharan Africa, particularly east Africa

My PhD and book (forthcoming) examine variation in ruling party cohesion and legislative assertiveness across Africa's dominant party regimes. Comparing Uganda and Tanzania with further reference to Kenya and Rwanda, I show how contrasting institutional outcomes result, in part, from differences in the distribution of power across economic and political elites. These elite power dynamics are, in turn, shaped by different trajectories of state-led capitalist development. I further examine the implications of a more assertive legislature, particularly regarding accountability, interest group representation, and distributive outcomes. This research combines descriptive statistics with a primarily qualitative, comparative historical approach.

My new project still focuses on dominant party regimes but recentres on the politics of authoritarian dominance in rapidly expanding cities. Focusing on Dar es Salaam and Kampala, the commercial capitals of Tanzania and Uganda respectively, it examines the collective action strategies of informal workers and how these interact with strategies of state and private sector actors seeking to manage, control, or accumulate via the informal economy. The primary sectoral focus is trade (market and street vendors) and transport (especially motorcycle-taxi drivers). This project sits at the intersection of the literatures on urban political economy, urban labour informality, and labour organising.

Alongside these projects, I have engaged in collaborative work on a range of related themes including urban political settlements (as part of the Dar es Salaam team within the African Cities Research Consortium) and the political economy of party competition and party system development.

I have conducted fieldwork in Uganda, Tanzania and Benin.

Teaching Summary

I provide teaching for the following undergraduate modules:

  • African Politics (co-convenor)
  • Intro to Comparative Politics
  • Political Parties and Party Systems Around the World
  • Politics Placement

Recent Publications

I am interested in supervising PhD projects on a range of topics, including:

  • The political economy of authoritarian rule, institutions (parties and legislatures), particularly with a focus on Africa
  • Urban politics, urban labour informality, and labour organising, particularly with a focus on Africa

School of Politics and International Relations

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