Barnaby Dye

Mr Barnaby Dye


Research Themes:
Public Policy Political Economy Political economy and international political economy 

Academic Profile

Thesis Research

Following a decade that saw a near cessation in dam building across the world, and particularly in Africa, hydropower is back on the agenda with projects and funding widespread. My research seeks to interrogate this trend, asking why and how this resurgence is happening. It does this through taking three representative cases of recent hydropower projects in Rwanda and Tanzania, the Nyabarongo, Rusumo and Steigler’s Gorge hydropower projects. Through these cases the thesis explores a range of financiers and builders in this phase of hydropower, including actors from India, the World Bank and Brazil respectively.

At an international level, the research examines the rationales behind these governments and institutions engagement in African dam-building and the practises they adopt. At a national level it explores the histories of these projects and their context in Rwanda and Tanzania’s energy sectors. This includes how the three case studies fit into the planning of new electricity generation projects in the two countries. The dam project’s locale is also interrogated. The inclusion of communities in knowledge-production and decision-making is assessed, as is the planners’ understandings of each dam’s local socio-environmental context. These three levels contribute to an understanding of the rationales and practises of this latest phase of resurgent hydropower.

Top-down and teleological modernisation theory has provided the ideological drive behind dam-building in past eras. Consequently, the thesis aims to build theory on whether the ideological drive and practises of modernisation theory, critiqued for their expert-orientated and elite-centric knowledge-production and decision-making, are continuing. Through this, the research contributes to broader reflections about the workings of a more infrastructure-heavy phase of global development.   


Areas of Expertise  

Hydropolitics, The Political Ecology of Dam Building, Development Project Implementation, High Modernistation Theory, Infrastructure Projects, Partiipation in Developpment, Rwanda and Tanzania’s Political Economy, The energy sector, the Foreign Policies of India and Brazil, ‘Emerging Powers' in Africa, 


Seminar Series:

Co-convene Oxford Central Africa Forum (2015-Present)

Created and Co-convened Oxford University Natural Resources in society seminar series (2014-Present)

Assisted Oxford University China-Africa Network Annual Conference (2015)


Scholarship: Economic and Social Science Research Council 3+ PhD



Geography BA at the University of Cambridge 

Master's in Environment and Development at King's College, London. 


“The return of ‘high modernism’? Exploring the changing development paradigm through a Rwandan case study of dam construction”. Journal of Eastern African Studies, 10 (2), 303–324.


Academic Blogs:

Politics Inspires Article (edited blog): What can Rwanda’s dam building tell us about its politics? 

King’s Water (edited blog): Seeing like a Water Secure State  

LSE Africa Blog As India-Africa ties are boosted, a shift in this South-South relationship is taking place

                      Brazil’s new government could signal a new direction for its relationship with African countries



Study on East African Energy Market for the Department of International Development

Conference Papers and Presentations

Presented At

2016: Institute of Defence Studies, Delhi; African Studies Association of India and Centre for African Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University; Centre for African Studies, University of Mumbai.

Presented with Conference Paper 

2015: Royal Geographical Society’s Annual Conference.

Panel:  Negotiating energy megaprojects within and beyond boundaries: The role of communication, identities and distributive justice