Our new chair: An introduction

June 29, 2017

As she wraps up her year as the World Politics Visiting Fellow at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, Antoinette Handley is about to step into a role that has previously been held by just one other woman – Chair of Political Science.

Handley, whose research focuses on the nature of the private sector, specifically, business as a political actor and the role of these actors in the political economy of development, earned her Ph.D. in politics at Princeton. Her teaching areas include comparative and developing country politics, including African politics and government, African political economy, and the politics of epidemics. Prior to her initial appointment in 2003 to the U of T faculty, she served as the director of studies at the South African Institute of International Affairs in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she led the Institute’s research and publications division. She is a distinguished author, with many articles, chapters and papers to her credit. In 2008, Cambridge University Press published her well-received book, Business and the State in Africa: Economic Policymaking in the Neo-liberal Era.

Handley will serve as chair of the St. George Department and graduate chair of the tri-campus Department. “Antoinette will be an outstanding Department leader,” said outgoing chair Louis Pauly. “We are very lucky that she answered the call from her colleagues in the affirmative. She is a top-notch scholar with significant administrative experience and the deep respect of her peers around the world.”

Handley, who said she is tremendously excited to be stepping into this new role, is looking forward to the next five years at the helm. “It’s a great honour and quite humbling to be asked to help lead our outstanding department. Part of what makes this a little less daunting is that the department is in great shape – a view that was clearly signalled in the recent external review of the department. Nonetheless, I’d like to pay particular attention to both teaching and research which are at the heart of what we do. I hope to work with colleagues to take a fresh look at our undergraduate curriculum and to think about how, as a department we make decisions, govern ourselves and manage our relations with cognate units. Beyond that, my role is to facilitate the remarkable work of our world class faculty, and to foster the skills and potential of our talented students.”

Professor Handley will officially take the reins on September 1st with Professor Ryan Balot serving as Interim Chair during the months of July and August.