Past Event


Islamist Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa: Local, National and Transnational Conflict Dynamics

3 October 2016 13:00–14:30

Institute of Development Studies, Library Road, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9RE

The first “Conversations about Conflict and Violence” this term will be led by Dr Caitriona Dowd who will briefly present her latest research on the dynamics of Islamic violence in sub-Saharan Africa, and then open the floor for indepth discussions on the topic.

About the Seminar:

In recent years, Islamist violence in sub-Saharan Africa has escalated in frequency and intensity; emerged in new spaces; and transformed to involve a repertoire of violent tactics, including the mass targeting of civilians in conflict. In seeking to understand these trends, this presentation sets out to situate Islamist violence within the wider field of violent domestic politics on the continent, with particular attention to three components:

  • the local conditions in which Islamist violence emerges and evolves in sub-Saharan Africa, including the ways in which violent Islamists exploit pre-existing national and local narratives for mobilisation;
  • the linkages between sites and modalities of historic conflict and contemporary Islamist violence;
  • and finally, the processes of transformation of Islamist conflict into other forms of violent contestation.

These themes are explored through a combination of qualitative, quantitative and spatial research methods. Taken together, the findings suggest that in order to effectively analyse and address Islamist violence, it is necessary to first understand the interconnections between multiple forms of violence and the shared drivers of these diverse forms of insecurity.

About the Speaker:

Dr. Caitriona Dowd is a Research Fellow in the Conflict and Violence cluster at IDS, specialising in the politics of violent conflict and sub-national governance in sub-Saharan Africa. Caitriona’s research expertise includes Islamist and indenty-based conflicts, inequality and violence, the geography and diffusion of violence, and the application of quantitative methods for conflict analysis.

Prior to joining IDS, Caitriona’s PhD research focused on Islamist and identity-based violence; civilian vulnerability to conflict; and processes and practices of marginalisation, inequality, and differential governance. Employing a combination of quantitative and qualitative methodologies, her ongoing research focuses on analysing patterns of inter-group conflict, mobilisation, and relations in comparative contexts, in both cross-national and country-focused cases including Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, and Somalia. Her work has been published in a number of peer-reviewed journals, including African Affairs, The Journal of Modern African Studies, and Political Geography.


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