Professors Discuss Boko Haram, and Why We Should Pay Attention To It

The radical Sunni Islamic sect of Boko Haram originally went by the name, Jama’atu Ahlis Sunnar Lidda’awati Wal-Jihad, or “people committed to the propagation of the Prophet’s teachings and jihad.” The group’s more widely known name of Boko Haram means “Western education is sin.” While initially non-violent and preaching a doctrine of withdrawal from what they perceived as a corrupt Nigerian state, they now increasingly engage in confrontation and deadly attacks on a wide range of targets.

Bowdoin’s Africana Studies program recently organized a panel of two Bowdoin professors and a professor from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, to sit down and discuss Boko Haram and why we should care about this group and its activities.

Tess Chakkalakal, associate professor of Africana studies and English and director of Bowdoin’s Africana Studies Program, introduced the three guests.

Ericka Albaugh, assistant professor of government at Bowdoin, teaches courses on Africa, language politics, development and state-building. She has researched in Cameroon, Senegal and Ghana, and her more recent explorations focus on violence and language spread in West Africa.

Daren Kew, associate professor and chair of the Department of Conflict Resolution, Human Security, and Global Governance in the McCormack Graduate School, is the executive director of the Center for Peace, Democracy, and Development at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He has researched and consulted on the prevention of conflicts in Nigeria and elsewhere, highlighting in particular the role of religious civil society groups in promoting peace and democratization.

Scott MacEachern, professor of Anthropology at Bowdoin, has directed archaeological research projects in different countries in Africa and North America, but much of his research since the mid-1980s has taken place around the Mandara Mountains of northern Cameroon and Nigeria. His main research interests are in state formation processes in Africa, the archaeological studty of ethnicity and social boundaries, and African and global historical genetics.

2 thoughts on “Professors Discuss Boko Haram, and Why We Should Pay Attention To It

  1. thank you for your insightful lecture regarding Boko Haram. I was particularly interested in hearing about Boko Haram’s activity in Cameroon as I recently traveled to Cameroon (Southern region). I plan to visit Cameroon each year and would like to hear any future lectures about this region. Scott Mceachern’s research was especially informative. I would also be interested in the opportunity to meet Professor Mceachern and any other Professor with pertinent information regarding Boko Haram and Cameroon. Thank you.

  2. Muchas gracias a todas y todos los que nos dan informaciones sobre “la secte boko haram”. Por lo tanto, estamos muy serca de éstos pero ne tenemos ningún información clara osea del gobierno ni de los militares que luchan contra boko haram. Digo esto porque vivo en la región de extremo norte de Camerún, precisamente en el departamento de Mayo-Sava. Me dirijo sobre todo al Profesor Scott Mceachern quien muchos anos pasados, trabajaba allí, para no decir mas, con mis padres en los pueblos como Mayo-Plat, Aissa Hardé etc. Quisiera aprovechar pedir si pueda usted enviarme algunos de sus trabajos hechos aquí para estudie mas la historia de mi pueblo. Mejor en versión francesa.
    Thank you.
    Pierre Tchango

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