Samir Gandesha

Professor, Director (Institute for the Humanities)
Global Humanities

Areas of interest

Politics and aesthetics, critical theory and phenomenology, authoritarianism and populism, and psychoanalysis.


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


Samir Gandesha was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and immigrated with his parents as an infant to Canada in the mid-1960s. Members of his 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 he views questions of hospitality, refuge, exile, identity, and politics more generally. As an undergraduate, he studied at SFU, UBC, and the London School of Economics. He did his 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 Universität Potsdam. He has 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.