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School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


Leila Sinclair-Bright

Leila Sinclair-Bright
Dr Leila Sinclair-Bright
Career Development Fellow (Research and Teaching)
3.22 18 Buccleuch Place Edinburgh UK
+44 (0) 131 6506630
Research Interests
Politics of belonging, Citizenship, Political and legal anthropology, Zimbabwe, Land Reform, Human rights, Humanitarianism, ethnography, postcolonial state and civil society, art and anthropology

Guidance and Feedback Hours

  • Tuesdays 11.00 - 13.00 or by appointment


I am an anthropologist who has specialized in land rights, customary law, labour and state-citizen relations in Southern Africa. My research has focused on the social and political lives of land beneficiaries and farmworkers on Zimbabwe's commercial farms a decade after the Fast Track Land Reform Program was launched. I teach the anthropology of Africa, human rights and humanitarianism, and anthropological theory. I am currently engaged in a number of different creative collaborative projects with students and staff here at Edinburgh aimed at making anthropology more accessible to non-academic audiences and exploring the intersection between art and anthropology (see below). 


  • Anthropological Concepts (2nd year undergraduate)
  • Cultures of Human Rights and Humanitarianism (MSc)
  • Fundamentals: Anthropological Practice (1st year undergraduate)


  • L.Sinclair-Bright, (2019) 'In Zimbabwe', London Review of Books, 30 January          
  • L.Sinclair-Bright, (2018) 'Euphoria turns to harsh reality for Zimbabweans in just a year', 18 November
  • L. Sinclair-Bright, (2018) 'Rugged Investors Only', London Review of Books, 17 August


Short Film of Imagining Recuration project, Dir. by Elspeth Parsons:

Collaborative/Creative Projects

Imagining Recuration – hands-on arts workshop for staff and students from the Edinburgh School of Art and the School of Social and Political Sciences. Participants were asked to respond to the question of how to display a collection of ethnographic objects collected and placed in the department by anthropologists from as early as the 1940s. Participants constructed art works that spoke to the material, emotional and aesthetic aspects of these objects, as well as the history of the department and disciplinary links to colonialism. Funded by the Atelier Network, University of Edinburgh.

Legacies of Human Rights: Beyond the Legal Paradigm - film series open to staff, students and the broader public that addressed the contemporary legacies of human rights violations from an artistic, cinematic perspective. Each screening was followed by an open discussion which engaged audience members in questions around the ethical potentials and limitations of cinema in tackling subjects of racial oppression, gender norms, agency and institutionalised state violence. Funded by the Global Justice Academy, University of Edinburgh.

Rethinking the Commons - open forum discussion designed as a starting point for an interdisciplinary exchange of empirical and conceptual work exploring the theme of ‘the commons’ and collective ownership across different contexts. Funded by the Global Justice Academy, University of Edinburgh.

Inspiring Writing - series of workshops held within the School of Social and Political Studies that brought established writers and public engagement specialists from the Scottish literary community together with researchers based within the School, with the aim of developing specific skills in writing and public engagment methods. Funded by the School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh.

Papers and Panels

2016 Co-convenor and discussant on panel: 'States of Care', ASAUK, University of Cambridge

2016 'Re-making citizens, re-making the state: land reform in Zimbabwe', EASA, University of Milano Bicocca

2014 'Zimbabwean Land Reform: between sympathy and recognition, farm workers and new farmers in a new resettlement area in Zimbabwe', African Research Forum, University of Cambridge

2014 Co-convenor of panel: ‘Community, belonging and moral sentiment: is to belong to be a moral person?’, ASA14 Decennial Conference, University of Edinburgh

2013 ‘Disrupting the Dead: the politics of morality in a new resettlement area in   Zimbabwe’, Corporealities of Violence in Southern Africa Workshop, University of Edinburgh 

2012 ‘Violence, Visibility and Human Rights: documentation practices of human rights NGOs working in Zimbabwe’, ASAUK, University of Leeds