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Mahmood Mamdani is the Herbert Lehman Professor of Government
at the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University.
He is also the Director of the Institute of African Studies
Mahmood Mamdani's reputation as an expert in African history,
politics and international relations has made him an important voice
in contemporary debates about the changing role of Africa in a
global context. His book Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa
and the Legacy of Late Colonialism (Princeton University Press,
1996) has been hailed as one of the
best scholarly works on Africa published in English, and won the
prestigious Herskovits Award of the African Studies Association of
the USA (1998). Other books include When Victims Become Killers:
Colonialism, Nativism, and the Genocide in Rwanda (Princeton
University Press, 2002), Beyond Rights Talk and
Culture Talk: Comparative Essays on the Politics of
Rights and Culture (editor, Palgrave Macmillan,
November 2000), Crises and Reconstruction -
African Perspectives: Two Lectures (with Colin
Leys, Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, December 1998), Imperialism and Fascism in Uganda
World Press Inc., 1983), and many others.
Recent works include "Iraq: Collective Punishment
The Iraq War and Its Consequences:
in War and Peace," in Irwin Abrams and Wang Gungwu,
Thoughts of Nobel Peace Laureates and Eminent
Scholars (World Scienti.c, 2004); and When
Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism, and
the Genocide in Rwanda (Princeton University
Press, 2002). He is also author of the Good
Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the
Roots of Terror (2004).
Professor Mamdani holds a BA from the
University of Pittsburgh (1967). He received an MA
and MALD from Tufts University Fletcher School of Law and
Diplomacy in 1969, and in 1974 he received his PhD
from Harvard University. His other academic
appointments include A.C. Jordan Professor of African Studies and
Director for the Center for African Studies at the University of
Cape Town (South Africa). He has taught at the University of Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania) and Makerere University (Uganda).
He is the
founding Director of the Centre for Basic Research in Kampala,
Uganda, and is the current President (1999-2002) of the Council for
the Development of Social Research in Africa (CODESRIA), Africa's
social science body based in Senegal. Mr. Mamdani's current work
focuses on internal conflict and civil war in Africa, with
particular attention given to the political and social restructuring
which such conflict elicits.
updated Fri. December 1, 2023
April 12, 2018
This upsets the argument of (scholar, Mahmood) Mamdani and others around the way citizens and subjects are constructed through indirect rule, suggesting a new configuration of “traditional” and state power. The paper concludes: “Chiefs regained their prestige and influence in rural politics, they play aÃâÃÂ ...
April 12, 2018
Mahmood Mamdani, a philosopher at Columbia University, describes how this dichotomy has been used in media reporting in his book Good Muslims, Bad Muslims. Crime TV shows, as the research proves, are designed to discipline populations by intimidating them with demonstrations of the negativeÃâÃÂ ...
HuffPost South Africa
March 26, 2018
It remains integral that we visit Professor Mahmood Mamdani's question on "how to teach Africa in a post-apartheid academy". To respond to the question, we need to take into account an Afrocentric education system similar to the route that Uganda and Kenya took after independence. These countriesÃâÃÂ ...
The New European
March 17, 2018
Articulated by political scientist Mahmood Mamdani, among others, the good Muslim/bad Muslim binary portrays the 'good' as those who appease society by accepting majority values and customs, while the 'bad' are those who resist it religiously, culturally, or politically. The 'good' Muslim is the 'hero' imamÃâÃÂ ...
March 15, 2018
Rather than abandoning customary tenure and practices, the challenge for rural movements is to seize on their emancipatory potential – a point made by Mahmood Mamdani in his key work, Citizen and Subject. Despite attempts by both the apartheid and democratic governments over decades to imposeÃâÃÂ ...
March 12, 2018
“It's our turn to rule,” he says, and brings to the fore the dangers of “victims becoming killers,” to paraphrase the title of Mahmood Mamdani's book on the Rwandan genocide. T'Challa sympathises with Killmonger and the circumstances that make him what he becomes, but he nevertheless not onlyÃâÃÂ ...
Brown Political Review
March 2, 2018
Under those rulers, what Ugandan academic Mahmood Mamdani calls “involuntary coercion” and appropriations were endemic. For example, Amin's 1975 land decree reform took away legal recognition of land and appropriated customary land that was not being “productively used.” Therefore, prior toÃâÃÂ ...
February 28, 2018
In September 2017 Mahmood Mamdani, a highly regarded Ugandan academic who recently emigrated to the USA delivered the T.B Davie Academic Freedom Lecture at UCT. He told the startled audience that the universities on the African continent have failed to develop a specific academic tradition.
February 24, 2018
Ultimately, the Whatsitsname's mistake is to conflate revenge and justice, a tragic error that Ugandan scholar Mahmood Mamdani argues, in his 2004 book Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War and the Roots of Terror, was also made by the Americans, who “dish[ed] out collective punishment,ÃâÃÂ ...
February 23, 2018
It was kind of amazing to do long, three-session interviews with Mahmood Mamdani, a prominent political theorist [and commentator]. It certainly gave me a more holistic sense of how African wars and events are shaped and disseminated by media in the West. It was also incredible to do an interview inÃâÃÂ ...
February 20, 2018
In 2010, Mahmood Mamdani, who was director of the Institute for African Studies at Columbia University, New York (from 1999 to 2004), created the Makerere Institute of Social Research at the Makerere University in Uganda. In 2016, Ousmane Kane, who holds the Chair of Contemporary Islamic ReligionÃâÃÂ ...
The New Times
February 14, 2018
... through which nations were brought together, wars averted, transnational bridges and transcontinental pipelines constructed. Today, diplomacy is increasingly becoming a primitive pissing contest, held hostage by radical, unelected factions, those whom Ugandan scholar Mahmood Mamdani used to callÃâÃÂ ...
February 13, 2018
Two decades ago Ugandan academic and author Mahmood Mamdani pointed to the myth of SA's exceptionalism and that it shares the legacies of colonialism and the bifurcated nature of the state that colonialism had bequeathed other African states too. This meant that the country was no different in itsÃâÃÂ ...
October 5, 2017
In a six-page memo emailed to all staff at the institute on September 13, Ocita accuses Prof Mahmood Mamdani, the director of MISR of undermining his students, staff and the faculty. He warns that unless something is done to avert the looming crisis, the MISR academic programme may collapse soon.
August 23, 2017
The last time celebrated Ugandan scholar Mahmood Mamdani set foot at UCT was 16 years ago. Mamdani left UCT swearing never to return after clashing with the university over his attempts to “decolonise” its curriculum. This week, he was back to deliver UCT's TB Davie Memorial Lecture on academicÃâÃÂ ...
SDE Entertainment News
December 31, 1999
“Sincerely, I would undress again and shout obscenities at Mahmood Mamdani for abusing my labour rights for years while the impotent administration and management of Makerere University merely looked on and continued licking his wrinkled arse,” she recently wrote, uncontrite. During her six-monthÃâÃÂ ...
HuffPost South Africa
December 31, 1999
Marjorie Jobson speaks of the terrible gaps that existed in the TRC proceedings, and she quotes Mahmood Mamdani when he said of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission; "You guys did the wrong thing. You didn't understand that the TRC should have been about political justice and not aboutÃâÃÂ ...
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