About the blog
Blog posts published here have a predominant a focus on politics, conflict, peace and security on the African continent. We are also interested in the images of Africa; how this diverse continent is portrayed in Western/Northern media and the politics around it.
When I started this blog in October 2011, I saw it as a means to communicate my own research with a crowd beyond the academic one, and beyond my articles in journals and the books. I also needed a tool where I could present temporary research findings faster than in slow-paced academic publications, and where I could write more freely, and in a less formal manner. Very soon I found that some friends and colleagues had the same need, and so I extended this space to include their texts as well. At times, strangers approached me to publish here, and sometimes I have approached people to write something for me. A few times I have also, after permission, re-published texts that I found particularly interesting.
Years later I can now look back at a surprisingly rich body of work, articles by people at the frontlines of research, quite often presenting commentaries on what is happening right now, yet with years of research knowledge behind these commentaries.
A good example of this was the time when the Ebola epidemic in West Africa had reached global attention, and several posts regarding it had already been published in this blog. In summer 2014, I received a steady flow of messages from WordPress showing the number of visitors going through the roof – only to find out that the Washington Post had referred to a post published here. Subsequently, I would daresay that most of the social scientists who wrote about Ebola, also published something in this blog. In a similar fashion, when a major crisis has occurred somewhere on the continent, we have been very quick in getting analyses from some of the best researchers. This has astonished me as it has been way beyond my original intention but it has also taught me a lot about how social media works.
At the same time, I have also tried to involve local scholars writing about their African home countries. Although quite often, the number of non-locals outnumber the locals, and often the non-locals have carried out way more research than locals (the research world is truly not an equal place), I hope that in the future I can involve even more local researchers with profound, and often overlooked knowledge. In the spring 2015 I returned to Uppsala University, where I have a pleasure of working with some fantastic students – and I have urged some of them to write for this blog. When you go through the archives of the blog you will find some of their posts too.
From March 2018, this blog is run in cooperation with Uppsala University Forum for Africa Studies whose mandate is, from a Swedish horizon, to strengthen higher education and research on the African continent. I will maintain my role as editor and contributor.