Columbia Global Centers | Nairobi invites you to our virtual book talk series featuring African Authors! With this series, we hope to offer a platform where African writers can engage a global audience, offering not just their work but exciting perspectives on how personal, political, and cultural experiences drive their storytelling.
For our sixth African Book Talk Series, we discuss 'Neither Settler nor Native' by Mahmood Mamdani. In this genealogy of political modernity, Mahmood Mamdani argues that the nation-state and the colonial state created each other. In case after case around the globe-from the New World to South Africa, Israel to Germany to Sudan-the colonial state and the nation-state have been mutually constructed through the politicization of a religious or ethnic majority at the expense of an equally manufactured minority.
Mshaï Mwangola is an oraturist / performance scholar who uses the lens of culture in her work as an academic, artist, and activist. She holds a doctorate in Performance Studies from Northwestern University (USA), a Masters of Creative Arts from the University of Melbourne (Australia), and a Bachelor of Education from Kenyatta University.
Mwangola chairs the Uraia Trust Board, which is the most significant non-state facilitator of civic education in Kenya. A member of the Executive Committee of the Council of the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), she is also a founder-member of the intellectual collectives, The Elephantand the Orature Collective. Through the latter's artistic arm, The Performance Collective, she co-facilitates the monthly Pointzero Bookcafé, which features public performances and conversations around literature.
Mahmood Mamdani is the Herbert Lehman Professor of Government. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1974 and specialized in studying African history and politics. His works explore the intersection between politics and culture, a comparative study of colonialism since 1452, the history of civil war and genocide in Africa, the Cold War and the War on Terror, and the history and theory of human rights. Before joining the Columbia faculty, Mamdani was a professor at the University of Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania (1973–1979), Makerere University in Uganda (1980-1993), and the University of Cape Town (1996-1999).
He has received numerous awards and recognitions, including being listed as one of the "Top 20 Public Intellectuals" by Foreign Policy (US) and Prospect (UK) magazine in 2008. From 1998 to 2002, he served as President of CODESRIA (Council for the Development of Social Research in Africa). His essays have appeared in the New Left Review and the London Review of Books, among other journals. He teaches courses on significant debates in Africa's study; the modern state and the colonial subject; the Cold War and the Third World; the theory, history, and practice of human rights; and civil wars and the state in Africa.
Mamdani's books include Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror (2009); Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War and the Roots of Terror (2004); When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and Genocide in Rwanda (2001); Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism (1996), which was awarded the Herskovitz Prize of the African Studies Association; Politics and Class Formation in Uganda (1976); From Citizen to Refugee(1973); and The Myth of Population Control: Family, Class and Caste in an Indian Village (1972).