Skip to main content

Security and Governance in Africa

Image of a person working on a computer. The computer screen has a colorful map displayed on it.

Since 2014, our group has facilitated this research collaboration on comparative conflict studies between Northwestern and Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences Po). The project brings together scholars from a range of disciplines on both sides of the Atlantic — including political science, history, law and anthropology — to study conflict and stability in the Sahel region of Africa. The group also benefits from the strong core of researchers at Northwestern’s Buffett Institute for Global Studies and Program in African Studies.

Research agenda

Africa has witnessed a remarkable rise of security threats across the Sahel region, the Eastern coast and the Horn. Movements such as Boko Haram, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Al-Shabab and the role of international interventions pose serious questions to the state and political orders, leading to domestic processes of reformation. The growth of religious radicalism presents alternative social and political orders that contest the state in some zones.  Alternative forms of governance and administration from below also present opportunities and challenges for the social and political orders.  

This project addresses these contemporary realities and leverages the diversity of intellectual traditions, academic disciplines and institutional resources at Northwestern University and Sciences Po to advance research on issues of:

  • Stability and security
  • Civil society and human rights
  • Religious mobilization and the state



The conferences held in both Evanston and Paris have brought together scholars with expertise on African comparative politics from the two partner universities, as well as leading experts from other international institutions such as the European Union Institute for Security Studies, Institut des Mondes Africains, Near East Foundation in Mali, University of Nouakchott, University of Florida and University of Notre Dame.


For more information, contact project investigator Rachel Riedl.