Samir Gandesha

Associate professor
Director, Institute for the Humanities


Research interests

  • Politics and aesthetics
  • Critical Theory and phenomenology
  • Authoritarianism and populism
  • Psychoanalysis


  • PhD, Political Science, York University
  • MA, Political Science, York University
  • BA, International Relations, University of British Columbia


I was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and immigrated with my parents as an infant to Canada in the mid-1960s. Members of my extended family were expelled from Uganda by Idi Amin in 1972 and entered Britain as refugees. There, they were confronted by an ascendant xenophobic, racist far-right in the form of the National Front and British Movement. This traumatic period had a profound impact on how I view questions of hospitality, refuge, exile, identity, and politics more generally. As an undergraduate, I studied at SFU, UBC, and the London School of Economics. I did my MA and PhD at York University in Toronto and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California at Berkeley and an Alexander von Humboldt fellow at Universit├Ąt Potsdam. I have been teaching at SFU since 2003 and have been on the Steering Committee of the Institute for the Humanities since 2004 and its director since 2010. Read the full biography on the Institute for the Humanities website.

Graduate supervision


Politics and aesthetics; Critical Theory and phenomenology; authoritarianism and populism; and psychoanalysis. Also open to supervising other subjects. 


A full list of publications and activities can be found on Dr. Gandesha's faculty website.