Speaker Bios


Bios of the panelists

Abdallah Al Bashir

Abdullah Al-Faki Al-Bashir is a Sudanese writer and researcher. Since 1999, he has been working at the foreign ministry in Qatar. His publications include: Pioneers in New Islamic Thought, Mahmoud Mohammad Taha and the Inteligencia: Readings in the Forging of History and its Contexts (2013); Failures in Managing Diversity: The Case of Sudan (2014); Our Civilizational Heritage: Readings on the Factors that Influence Rootlessness, Adaptation and the Feeding of the Collective Imagination (2014). He has also presented over 20 academic papers at numerous conferences and universities around the world, and has written extensively for Sudanese newspapers on a number of topics over the years. His current research project takes on a critical approach to the study of the politics, culture, and intellectual history of the Sudan, Africa, Arabia, the West, and the Muslim world. The aim of this project is to look at historical sources and contemporary writings in an effort to better understand future aims. The hope is to offer a critical lens through which to examine culture and politics and to contextualize historical and contemporary perceptions while challenging pervasive assumptions. The project draws heavily on the notion of “What Happens After the Predicted Date” and closely examines the idea of predictability in an effort to come up with titles, new conceptions, and political and intellectual ideas for the future.

Uday Chandra

Uday Chandra is an Assistant Professor of Government. He received his B.A. in economics from Grinnell College and his PhD in political science from Yale University in 2013. He received the 2013 Sardar Patel Award for writing the best dissertation in a US university on any aspect of modern South Asia. Before coming to Doha, he held a prestigious research fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Goettingen, Germany.
Uday's research lies at the intersection between critical agrarian studies, political anthropology, postcolonial theory, and South Asian studies He is interested in state-society relations, power and resistance, political violence, agrarian change, rural-urban migration, popular religion, and the philosophy of the social sciences.
Uday's work has been published in the Law & Society Review, Interventions, Critical Sociology, Social Movement Studies, New Political Science, The Journal of Contemporary Asia, Contemporary South Asia, and the Indian Economic & Social History Review. He has co-edited volumes and journal special issues on the ethics of self-making in modern South Asia, subaltern politics and the state in contemporary India, caste relations in colonial and postcolonial eastern India, and social movements in rural India today.
Uday is currently working on a book, based on his doctoral research in the forest state of Jharkhand in eastern India, which revisits classic questions of power and resistance by tracing how the notion of "tribe" has curiously co-evolved with modern statemaking processes in South Asia and beyond. He is also working concurrently on two projects on (1) circular flows of labor migrants that remake rural and urban spaces and define the social contours of capitalism in contemporary India, and (2) the nature and emergence of vernacular forms of Christianity among the most marginalized populations in South Asia since the mid-nineteenth century.

Paromita Chakrabarti

Dr. Paromita Chakrabarti is associate professor of English Literature, Culture Studies and Communication and Director, Global Research Initiatives at H.R. College, University of Mumbai. She is a 2010-2011 Fulbright Nehru Doctoral Research Fellow at the Department of English, Indiana University, Bloomington and has an M.Phil in African American Feminist Theatre and a Ph.D in South Asian American Diaspora literature from SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai, India. Dr. Chakrabarti has lectured and taught feminist critical theory for postgraduate students at the school of Languages and Cultures, University of Sheffield, UK, given talks at Georgetown University, Washington DC, published several articles in international journals and presented at numerous international conferences around the globe. She has completed a Postdoctoral Project titled ‘The Migrant as Grotesque: The United Kingdom and South Asian Immigration.’ at the Bakhtin Centre, University of Sheffield, UK, 2015. She is currently working on a postdoctoral project on interracial marriage and multicultural citizenship in the South Asian Diaspora. She is the assistant editor of Writing Today: International Journal of Studies in English, Babasaheb Bhimrao Marathwada University, Aurangabad, India. She has been a co-editor with her colleague from Soderton University, Stockholm, for the July 2017 special edition on Bakhtin in the peer reviewed journal Baltic Worlds. Her forthcoming publication on South Asian diaspora writer Meena Alexander is in press with Springer as part of an edited volume and will be in print by February 2018. Dr. Chakrabarti’s research areas include diaspora, migration, postcolonial studies, gender, ethnicity and race.

Laura Fair

Laura Fair is a historian of East African social, cultural and gender history. Her publications include Pastimes and Politics: Culture, Community and Identity in Post-abolition Urban Zanzibar, 1890-1945 (Ohio, 2001); Historia ya Jamii ya Zanzibar na Nyimbo za Siti binti Saad (Twaweza, 2013); Reel Pleasures: Cinema Audiences and Entrepreneurs in Twentieth Century Urban Tanzania (Ohio, 2017). She teaches at Michigan State University.

Iza Hussin

Iza Hussin is the Mohamed Noah Fellow at Pembroke College and University Lecturer in Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge. Her book, The Politics of Islamic Law: Local Elites, Colonial Authority and the Making of the Muslim State (Chicago 2016, was a finalist for the Greenstone Award from the American Political Science Association. She has also published a number of articles on Islamic law in contemporary and colonial states, on law’s mobility and translations, and on the legacy of empire on gender and ethnicity in post-colonial states. She has held faculty positions at the National University of Singapore, the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the University of Chicago, and has been a Fellow in Islamic Legal Studies at Harvard Law School and Visiting Associate Professor at L’École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales. She is a recipient of awards from the American Political Science Association and the International Convention of Asia Scholars, and has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Social Science Research Council, and the European Commission.

Abdullahi Ibrahim

Abdullahi Ali Ibrahim, Professor Emeritus of African History and Islam, History Department, University of Missouri, Columbia. Ph.D. (1987) in folklore and anthropology, Indiana University. He has published extensively, in both Arabic and English, on the culture history of Sudan.

Rosemary Kilkenny

Rosemary Kilkenny is Georgetown University’s first Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity. Rosemary has served on the Board of Directors of the American Association of Affirmative Action, Howard Road Academy and National Child Research Center respectively. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Discovery Creek Children’s Museum of Washington, D.C. She is an active participant in community affairs and campus activities. She has given many seminars on such topics as Cultural Diversity, Sexual Harassment, and Legal Issues in Affirmative Action to name a few topics on which she has presented at national, regional, and on campus venues. She was one of five Americans invited to Faith University, Istanbul, Turkey to give a presentation at an international conference on social justice in higher education. Her talk was very well received and covered by the national press in Turkey.
Rosemary received her Juris doctorate from Georgetown University Law Center; and her Bachelors and Masters degrees from Kent State University.

Prita Meier

(PhD, Harvard University) is assistant professor of African art and architectural history at NYU. Her research focuses on the visual cultures and built environment of east African port cities and histories of transoceanic exchange and conflict. She is the author of Swahili Port Cities: The Architecture of Elsewhere (Indiana University Press, 2016) and has publications in The Art Bulletin, Art History, African Arts, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, Artforum, and Arab Studies Journal, as well as contributions in several exhibition catalogs and edited books. Currently she is working on a new book about the social and aesthetic history of photography in Zanzibar and Mombasa and is completing an exhibition and edited volume titled World on the Horizon: Swahili Arts Across the Indian Ocean (which received two NEH Humanities Projects grants). This academic year she is William Seitz Senior Fellow at CASVA at the National Gallery of Art (2017-2018) and she has held fellowships at the Clark Art Institute (2014-2015), Cornell University’s Society for the Humanities (2009-2010), and the Johns Hopkins University (2007-2009).

Abdelaziz Baraka Sakin

Abdel Aziz Baraka Sakin is an award-winning Sudanese novelist. Author of Jungo: The Stakes of the Earth, The Messiah of Darfur, and Samahani among a rich plethora of novels. In these brilliant novels, Sakin interrogates some of the most critical issues facing human society today. His work addresses the problem of difference and of 'self' and 'other' as generated in systematic narratives on the interlocking nature of race, class and gender oppression. His work, which has been translated in English, French, Spanish and German is regarded among the very best in literary circles today.

Ahmad Sikainga

Ahmad Sikainga is professor of African history at the Ohio State University.  Professor Sikainga’s research deals with the social and economic history of Africa and the Middle East, with a focus on
slavery, labor, urban history, and popular culture. His publications include: Slaves into Workers: Emancipation and Labor in Colonial Sudan (1996), City of Steel and Fire: A Social History of Atbara, Sudan's Railway Town, 1906-1984 (2002), and Western Bahr al-Ghazal Under British Rule, 1898-1956 (1991). He also co-edited Africa and World II (2015), Post conflict Reconstruction in Africa (2006) and Civil War in the Sudan, 1983-1989 (1993).

Abdelkader Tayob

Abdulkader Tayob holds the chair in Islam, African Publics and Religious Values at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He has published on Islam in South Africa, modern Islamic Thought and Islam and the History of Religions. He has led a number of research initiatives and projects, and convened workshops and conferences. He is currently working on Religion Education in South Africa, and on religion, ethics and religious texts.

Harry Verhoeven

Prof Harry Verhoeven teaches at the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University in Qatar. He is also an Associate Member of the Department of Politics and International Relations of the University of Oxford, where he completed his doctorate (St Cross) and worked as a postdoctoral fellow (DPIR) and junior research fellow (Wolfson College). He was founder of the Oxford University China-Africa Network in 2008-2009 and remains a Co-Convenor of OUCAN. In 2016-2017, he served as a Visiting Scholar at Cambridge University.
Harry Verhoeven is the author of Water, Civilisation and Power in Sudan. The Political Economy of Military-Islamist State Building (Cambridge University Press, 2015) and the editor of Environmental Politics in the Middle East. Local Struggles, Regional Imaginaries, Global Connections (Hurst/Oxford University Press, forthcoming).

Radoslav Yordanov

Radoslav Yordanov majored in Political Science at the University of Sofia and after graduating summa cum laude received an Open Society Foundation scholarship to study International Politics at the University of Manchester, where he acquainted himself with the issues of superpower involvement in the Third World, concentrating on the Somali state collapse and international community’s responses to it. Upon completing his postgraduate degree in Manchester, he went to Addis Ababa, were he received a first-hand experience in the world of diplomacy as an intern at the Bulgarian diplomatic compound there. This led him to the pursuance of a masters degree in African Studies at the University of Oxford, where he examined the Soviet Union’s involvement in the Ogaden War. Building on his interest in center-periphery interaction, sponsored by the AHRC, Radoslav continued his postgraduate work as a doctoral student at Oxford University, where he completed a thesis on Soviet Union’s involvement in Ethiopia and Somalia during the Cold War. This thesis served as a basis for his recent book, published in the Harvard Cold War Book Series. Following stints at RAN’s Institut Vseobshchei Istorii (Institute of World History) in Moscow and Columbia’s Harriman Institute in New York, Radoslav is currently an associate fellow at Harvard’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. He is working on his second book-length manuscript, which aims to conceptualize, using a broad range of newly declassified materials from Eastern European archives, the relationships between the former Soviet Bloc states and the Third World.

Bahru Zwede

Bahru Zewde is currently Emeritus Professor of History at Addis Ababa University, Founding Fellow of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences, Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences, Editor of the Africa Review of Books, and Vice President of the Association of African Historians. He was formerly Director of the Institute of Ethiopian Studies at Addis Ababa University, Executive Director of the Forum for Social Studies, a think tank based in Addis Ababa, and Vice President of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences. He has also served as Resident Vice President of the sub-regional research network, Organization for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA), and as Editor of its journal, Eastern Africa Social Science Research Review. In addition to serving as Editor of the Journal of Ethiopian Studies for 15 years, he was member of the International Advisory Board of the Journal of African History. He is the recipient of numerous awards and Fellowships, including ones from the British Academy, Japan Foundation and the Institute of Advanced Study (Wissenschaftskolleg) in Berlin. His major publications include: A History of Modern Ethiopia 1855-1991 (2001); Pioneers of Change in Ethiopia: The Reformist Intellectuals of the Early Twentieth Century (2002); Society, State and History: Selected Essays (2008); and The Quest for Socialist Utopia: The Ethiopian Student Movement c. 1960-1974 (2014).