I am a South African researcher that has been based in the Netherlands for the past 13 years. Despite being based here my work still primarily engages with the African continent, most notably its relations with rising powers such as China. My work therefore fits into the broad banner of South-South cooperation within International Relations, but importantly the geopolitical consequences of this engagement for traditional IR. Central to my work is a consideration for alternative frameworks and narratives of IR, notably taking a postcolonial and discursive lens to understand contemporary IR. I completed my PhD from the Department of Law, Governance, and Economics from Utrecht University, titled 'Impediments to Uncovering the Human Rights Dimension of Sino-African Relations.' Prior to this I have worked in the field of human rights and development for organisations in the Netherlands, South Africa, Senegal, Ghana, and Haiti. I currently also hold a research fellowship position at the LeidenAsiaCentre and a non-resident fellowship at the newly founded African Policy Research Institute (Berlin, Germany). I also serve on the editorial board of the Cross-Cultural Human Rights Review (CCHRR). My work is also very much policy oriented and thus I consult frequently for policy makers both in the global North as well as global South. Key to this is a African-centred approach to that is informed by centring African agency in international policy making.
Fields of interest
- International Relations
- South-South Cooperation
- China-Africa Relations
- The Right to Development
- Human Rights
My doctoral research in particular focused on the western foreign policy discourse on the place of human rights in Sino-Africa relations. Through adopting a postcolonial critical discursive approach, this research proposed a new conceptual framework for understanding the human rights dimension of Sino-African relations. This work is in the process of being published as a book.
Subsequently I have worked on issues related to the right to development in China-Africa relations; African agency within the context of China's Belt and Road Initiative; and Pressure points for ESG compliance and responsible mining by Chinese companies in the Cobalt Supply Chain (pertaining to the Democratic Republic of Congo).
Links, S. 2021. ‘Ascertaining Agency: Africa and the Belt and Road Initiative’, in Florian Schneider (ed.) Global Perspectives on China's Belt and Road Initiative: Asserting Agency through Regional Connectivity. Amsterdam University Press. Amsterdam
Links, S. 2021. ‘Parameters and Pathways: Agency in the Case of the Southern African Development Community’, in Florian Schneider (ed.) Global Perspectives on China's Belt and Road Initiative: Asserting Agency through Regional Connectivity. Amsterdam University Press. Amsterdam
Links, S. 2020. ‘Long-Overdue: COVID-19’s Revelation of Systemic Subjugation and the Demand for Structural Approaches to Human Rights Protection’ Cross-cultural Human Rights Review, volume 2(2-3)
Links, S. 2020. ‘Changing the Discourse of Difference for a Common Vision for International Human Rights: Changes in the International Order and Opportunities for Realising Human Rights,” Human Rights and the Concept of the Community of a Shared Future for Humankind. Brill.
Links, S. 2019. ‘Book Review: The persistent Power of Human Rights’, Cross-cultural Human Rights Review, vol. 1, issue 1-3, December
Links, S. 2018. “The Right to Development in a Reconfigured Global Order: Conceptual Dynamism and South-South Cooperation.” in Africa Now! Emerging Issues and Alternative Perspectives. Adebusuyi Adeniran and Lanre Ikuteyijo (eds.) Palgrave Macmillan
Links, S. 2018. “Reconceptualising peace and security: distributional justice within Sino-Africa co-operation and beyond.” in Belt and Road Initiative: Alternative Development Path for Africa. Simelane, T. and Managa, L (eds.) Africa Institute of South Africa. Pretoria.
Zwart, T and Links, S. et al. 2014. “Safeguarding the universal acceptance of human rights through the Receptor Approach” Human Rights Quarterly. Vol. 36(4): 898-904.
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