Alden Library’s Authors @Alden series will present a discussion on Boko Haram, a book by Dr. Brandon Kendhammer, an associate professor of political science at Ohio University.

Kendhammer wrote the book as a short, accessible compilation of his research on not just the terrorist organization itself, but also how the group affects the average day-to-day lives of the Nigerian people. The Authors @Alden session will feature an interview of Kendhammer by Dr. Steve Howard, associate director of graduate studies for the School of Media Arts and Studies, about the book and his research.

Boko Haram, which roughly translates to “westernization is forbidden,” is a terrorist group that holds an Islamic extremist ideology within Nigeria that emerged around 2009. The group is often remembered for kidnapping 200 school girls and holding them hostage in 2014.

 If You Go:

What: Authors @Alden with Brandon Kendhammer

Where: Alden Library Fourth Floor

When: Wednesday, 3 p.m.

Admission: Free  

“I was writing this relatively positive book about the prospects for democracy in Nigeria,” Kendhammer said, “This group, (Boko Haram), was engaging in an awful lot of violence ... which was destabilizing a lot of things that were happening in Nigerian life, particularly for the people in the northern part of the country, where my research had been. It became obvious that this was something I was going to have to grapple with because I'd come back from Nigeria and was writing a book that was optimistic, but here was this really disastrous story for a lot of ordinary people.”

After Kendhammer finished his first book about the non-extremist responses to issues of bad government and corruption in Nigeria, he went on to write about the effects of Boko Haram specifically.

“By the time I got to it, there had been a number of other research projects that had already been done about the group,” Kendhammer said. “But there had not been a lot (of books) by people who knew Nigeria well who had spent a lot of time in Nigeria (to write) about the ways in which living in a society where there is this incredible violence impacts ordinary folks ... the people whose lives are kind of in the shadow of this conflict.”

Because of the extensive time he had spent in Nigeria and the network he had developed there, this felt like the natural approach to take for Kendhammer.

In addition to his own research, he co-authored the book with Carmen McCain, a scholar of film and literature who attended graduate school with him at the University of Wisconsin. In Boko Haram, McCain explained how art, entertainment and ways of thinking were influenced by the conflict.

Kenhammer’s choice to publish with OU Press was because of OU’s extensive history and prominent reputation for publishing good books about Africa, as well as a new series of short and accessible books.

“They have this new series that were short, accessible books for the kind of people who want to learn more about an area but aren't specialists or experts in it,” Kendhammer said.

Many students are interested in the prospects of a professor sharing their work.

“People should take into consideration what's going on in other places that they might not know about,” Megan Hall, a junior studying health services administration, said. “I think that that's a great thing that he's doing research and sharing...knowledge.”

Others also appreciate the opportunity to learn something new.

“I think it's good if professors share their research because students become more knowledgeable about that stuff, and the situation,” Leah Gregory, a junior studying nursing, said. “I've never heard of it but ... if he didn't share that information I wouldn’t have known about that.”


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