CAS News Bulletin: Week of January 9th, 2017
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Lake Tanganyika, Tanzania. Photo provided by Ben Lowe.

A Note from the Director

Dear CAS Students, Faculty and Friends:
Welcome back to campus and best wishes for the New Year!
I’m in Ghana where I witnessed the inauguration of incoming President, Nana Akuffo-Addo! Very exciting!
There’s already a lot going on at the Center too although the semester’s just begun.
Mark your calendars:
The Covering Africa initiative co-sponsored with the College of Journalism brings citizen-journalists Fati Abubakar and Farooq Kperogi to campus to talk about news, photojournalism and social media in Nigeria. Stay tuned for Kperogi’s Baraza Friday, Jan 13. The following week, January 20, Harn Museum Director and Africa Curators report on the contemporary art scene in Ghana.
The Center’s annual Carter Conference is scheduled for February 23-25. The topic is ‘On the Edge: What Future for the African Sahel’ and features panelists from across the region. March 25 is the Islam in Africa Symposium: Negotiating Gender and Sexualities in Muslim Africa. April 14 brings distinguished archaeologist Audax Mabulla from the National Museum of Tanzania. This is in addition to the usual schedule of Friday afternoon Baraza and our many working group sessions.
All events are open to the UF community and the public. We especially want to encourage undergraduate participation. Please let them know they are welcome at all our activities.
If you have Africa-focused events, publications, photographs, CFP or other information to share, send them to and we will make sure to include them in the CAS bulletin.
Brenda Chalfin
January 9th, 2017

Talks This Week

Monday 01/09- Social Change & Development talk, Elizabeth Carey, University of Florida: "We are in the Air: Land Claims and Liminal Space on Ghana's Volta Delta." 12:50pm in 471 Grinter

Friday 01/13- Baraza, Farooq Kperogi, Kennesaw State University: "Citizen Journalism and Nigeria's Digital Diapora." 3:30pm in 404 Grinter

In this issue:





Awards and Publications

Please send citations for your recently published articles, book chapters, book reviews, or op-ed pieces to for their inclusion within the news bulletin.


Ilhan Omar- United States' First Somali-American Legislator

On January 3rd, Ilhan Omar was sworn in to the Minnesota House of Representatives making her both the first Somali-American and first Muslim woman legislator in the US. She represents House District 60B in Minnesota. Find out more information here.
Dr. Goran Hyden is Emeritus Professor of Political Science and African Studies at the University of Florida. Significantly attracted by UF’s Center for African Studies, Dr. Hyden first came to UF in 1986. Over several decades his research began focused on rural cooperatives and public administration to the political economy of the peasantry to democratization and governance in Africa. His book, African Politics in Comparative Perspective (2006) is well known and widely-used in both undergraduate and graduate African Politics courses.
Dr. Hyden first became interested in African politics in high school. He distinctly remembers Ghana’s independence in March 1957 as he received high marks for a paper he wrote on the significance of that event. He continued studying African politics at the University of Lund, though the absence of scholars working in Africa meant he spent part of his time also at Oxford University and UCLA. At UCLA, Dr. Hyden worked under the guidance of Dr. James Smoot Coleman, a political scientist and founding director of UCLA’s African Studies Center. Beginning in 1964, Dr. Hyden spent several years in East Africa, conducting research in northwestern Tanzania and working as a Visiting Lecturer at Makerere University in Uganda. He subsequently returned to Sweden to finish his dissertation and graduated in 1968. Dr. Hyden then taught at the University of Nairobi (1968-71) and the University of Dar es Salaam (1971-77).
Between 1978 and 1985, Dr. Hyden worked for the Ford Foundation as a Social Science Research Advisor, and later Director of the regional office, based in Nairobi. After spending a one-year sabbatical at Dartmouth University, Dr. Hyden joined the faculty at the University of Florida in 1986 (with recognition given to Hunt Davis for helping to convince him). During his time at UF, Dr. Hyden has chaired at least 15 doctoral committees and served on countless others. He served as the President of the ASA in 1995 and won the ASA’s Distinguished Africanist Award in 2015, making him the first political scientist to win the award since Ali A. Mazrui in 1995. He retired in 2008 but remains active in the academic community by attending Baraza presentations at UF, occasionally reviewing manuscripts and articles, and attending academic conferences. After attending the ASA meeting in Washington DC, Dr. Hyden flew to Japan to present his work on the ‘economy of affection’ at a conference focused on the moral economy.

Graduate Student Spotlight

Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim’s (PhD candidate, Political Science) dissertation research focuses on political contestation and Islamic discourse in the Sahel region. It addresses the questions of why and how have political contestations on behalf of Islam proliferated in the Muslim world? And why have these contestations taken different forms: jihadist insurgencies, violent riots, and peaceful protests?

The dissertation will address these questions by focusing on specific episodes of political contestations in Muslim majority countries of the Sahelian region of West Africa. More specifically, the research focuses on three cases: the jihadist insurgency by the Movement of Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MOJWA) in Gao/Mali, the anti-Charlie Hebdo riots in Zinder/Niger and the anti-slavery protests in Nouakchott by the Initiative for the Resurgence of the Abolitionist Movement (IRA-Mauritania). These cases provide a representative sample of the contentious issues as well as the varied form of collective actions that are at play in the Sahel region.

Over the course of the summer 2015 and the spring and summer of 2016, Ibrahim conducted extensive field research in each of Mali, Mauritania, and Niger where he interviewed a variety of actors, including political elites, civil society activists, jihadists, scholars, military officers, etc. He conducted archival research, focus groups, and participant observations as well. In addition to these qualitative data, Ibrahim also collected other quantitative data from different sources, including Afrobarometer, Freedom House, Armed Conflict Location and Events Data Project (ACLED), Global Terrorism Dataset (GTD).
The argument that will emerge from this research will help to understand the way in which macro level factors—such the state and society dynamics—interact with factors at meso level—such as group’s ideology—and micro level factors—individual’s identity, to explain the emergence and varied forms of Islamic political contestation.
Ibrahim Yahaya Ibrahim is a PhD candidate in political science and a research associate with the Sahel Research Group. Funding for his research is provided by the Minerva Research Initiative.
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