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Ph.D Students

Yvon Muya Cimanga

Ethnonationalism and Violence: Understanding Insurgency and Claims in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Thesis Supervisor: Dr. Moda Dieng

Building a viable national identity has been an ongoing quest for many African countries since decolonization. For the Democratic Republic of Congo, this ambition has been regularly hampered by several phases of ethnic violence. In his doctoral research, Yvon Muya examines the role played by ethno-nationalist movements in this difficult process. As part of the universe of nationalism studies, the thesis explores the discourse of Congolese ethno-nationalist leaders engaged in recent conflicts and attempts to measure their effects on non-insurgent ethnic communities. A comparative study of two cases will aim to generate a framework for reflection, necessary to better understand the relationship of ethnic groups to national belonging.

Linda Ehrichs

Bridging Two Solitudes:Secularism and Religion in Development Assistance

Thesis Supervisor: Dr. Heather Eaton

Linda’s doctoral research is examining the role of religion, religiosity, and secularism in international development assistance to conflict-affected countries. She comes to the School of Conflict Studies at Saint Paul University after 20 years of professional experience in international development and humanitarian assistance working for the Government of Canada and various development agencies.

Mohamad El-Jabi

The “Islamic State” and the “Iraqi Islamic Party:” An Ethnic Challenge

Thesis Supervisor : Dr. Peter Pandimakil

My main areas of focus are the new ideologies shaping the Middle East and their political consequences. My thesis pertains to the different rationalizations of fundamentalists.  I am aiming to see to what extent is the Iraqi branch of the Muslim Brotherhood able and willing to combat the policies of the “Islamic State” organization regarding Iraq’s Christian minority.

Shannon Gallagher

Exploring Gender and Terrorism: The Need for Feminist Analysis in Terror and Counterterror Research

Thesis Supervisor : Dr. Heather Eaton

Shannon’s research explores the challenges with dominant North American approaches and responses to terrorism. She examines the potential contributions of feminist theories of international relations and geopolitics in providing more comprehensive and successful research and policy in counterterrorism. This research focuses on how feminist theories use intersectionality to disentangle narratives and ideologies saturated with sexism, racism, and neo-orientalism to produce a more holistic and accurate understanding of the phenomena of terrorism and political violence.

Katrina Leclerc

Amplifying voices: Ensuring young women are recognized in peacebuilding

Thesis Supervisor : Dr. Heather Eaton

Katrina’s research focuses on the intersections between the United Nations’ Women, Peace and Security, and Youth, Peace and Security agendas. Specifically, she studies the synergies between both agendas in the context of local peacebuilding and everyday peace theories in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. This research looks at local young women peacebuilders as critical actors in applying and monitoring international peace and security policy frameworks.

Frederick Matern

Thesis Title: TBD

Thesis Supervisor : Dr. Jean-François Rioux

My research interest is in the role of culture and communications technologies in the dynamics of conflict at the international level, against the backdrop of changing political dynamics, post-secularism, and multiple modernities.

Amadou Ghouenzen Mfondi

Multiculturalism and identity conflicts in Cameroon and Canada: A comparative approach

Thesis Supervisor : Dr. Moda Dieng

My research area covers ideologies of exclusion, marginalization, and violence against otherness. My dissertation explores, from a comparative perspective, the dynamics of identity conflicts in Cameroon and Canada as multicultural countries, as well as the identity politics that are employed to promote living together in diversity. My intellectual project in this thesis is to identify the best practices of living together in these two countries, as well as the regularities that unite them in the same framework of identity conflicts, while underlining the singularities that link each case to its political and socio-historical context.

Peace Mukazi Ndekezi

Examining women’s agency in post-conflict peacebuilding: Case Study of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Thesis Supervisor : Dr. Philip Onguny

My research seeks to examine the role and participation of women in peacebuilding. I am particularly interested in understanding how women’s formal and informal roles help nurture a culture of peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo. My work draws primarily from African Feminism, Ubuntu philosophy, and Virginia Held’s ethics of care to probe the links between women’s agency and post-conflict peacebuilding. Overall, my research explores how these perspectives interact to create meaning around women’s active roles as peacebuilders, including the challenges encountered during the process.

Georges Olongo

International rivalry as a source of political instability: the case of the Congolese civil war

Thesis Supervisor : Dr. Moda Dieng

This work raises the question of how international politics influences models of civil war and internal conflict. While recent studies of civil wars have paid much attention to how international politics affects their dynamic, duration, and termination, there is as yet no general theory of a connection that many find intuitive. We therefore lack a systematic account of how conflicts in the international sphere shape the strategies and incentives of actors in civil conflicts, and the conditions under which interstate conflicts make escalation of civil conflicts more or less likely. The main contribution of this work will therefore be to show, via a case study, that international politics does not only matter in explaining the dynamics and duration of civil wars once they are in progress; it also helps explain why these wars happen in the first place.

Yacouba Isaac Zida

State governance at the beginning of armed terrorist groups (ATG) emergence and their rise in the countries of Sahel region: the case of Burkina Faso

Thesis Supervisor : Dr. Moda Dieng

The countries in the Sahel region facing an insurgency by jihadist groups which cause numerous military and civilian victims as well as numerous abuses on the rural populations forcing them to flee their villages causing serious humanitarian, economic and social disorders due to these displacements of populations. While the attacks began in northern and central Mali in 2012, they have spread in recent years to Niger and Burkina Faso. Our research project aims to find in the weaknesses of the state governance the root causes of terrorism in Burkina Faso, and to assess the relevance of the response strategy.

Mireille Bénédicte Zoungrana

The nation-state in the face of terrorism in Burkina Faso

Thesis Supervisor : Dr. Jean-François Rioux

Debates around the sustainability of the nation-state as a strong institution are legion in the sense that although it faces several political, economic, and social realities, it remains. However, the nation-state as a structure built on the collective feeling and based on the conviction of belonging to the same nation challenges us to question the impact of terrorism on the nation-state and its future in Burkina Faso. The objective of our research is to demonstrate under what conditions we can finally hold a discourse based on a weak and therefore declining nation-state.