About Sahel Blog

Sahel Blog analyzes news about religion and politics in the Sahel (Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, and Eritrea) and the Horn of Africa (Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Sudan). The blog pays particular attention to elections, protests, rebel movements, resource conflicts, relations between African countries and foreign powers, and Muslims’ participation in democracy and religious debates.tea

Sahel Blog aims to engage readers in discussions about these issues and to provide students, policymakers, American citizens, citizens of African countries, and other audiences with a resource on the pressing topics of the day in a region that extends from Senegal to Somalia.

About Alex Thurston

I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Religion Department at Northwestern University in the Islam in Africa track. In 2011-2012, I conducted field research in Nigeria with the support of the Social Science Research Council and the Wenner-Gren Foundation. I am currently pursuing follow-up research in the United States and the United Kingdom while writing my dissertation, entitled “Northern Nigeria’s Arab-Educated Activist Intellectuals: Law, Media, Politics, and Islam, 1954-2011.” My work focuses on Islamic scholars in postcolonial Northern Nigeria, but I am also interested in the intersection of Islam and politics in Sudan, Niger, Senegal, Mali, Mauritania, and elsewhere. My other major research interests include ties between Africa and the Arab world, and American foreign policy toward Africa.

Before entering the Ph.D. program, I graduated from the Masters of Arts in Arab Studies program at Georgetown University in 2009. In 2006-2007, I conducted research on Muslim youth movements in Dakar, Senegal, as a Fulbright Scholar. I completed my BA in Religion at Northwestern University in 2005. I speak and read Modern Standard Arabic, French, and Hausa.Goree

My writing has appeared in Foreign Policy, The American InterestWorld Politics Review, New York University’s The Revealer, the International Peace Institute’s Global Observatory, the Guardian‘s Comment is Free, and the Bulletin of Concerned Africa Scholars. Posts from Sahel Blog sometimes appear on the Christian Science Monitor‘s Africa Monitor page. I have done consulting work for Eurasia Group, Oxford Analytica, and other clients.

You can reach me at alexseminal at gmail dot com. I am always happy to hear from readers.