Brittany Meche

Fellowship Recipient
Department: Geography
Country Expertise: West African Sahel
Language Expertise:
Fellowship Year(s): 2016
Project/Theme Title: Geohistories of Securitization in the West African Sahel
Abstracts: The recent spate of terrorist attacks in Burkina Faso, Mali, Nigeria, Niger, and Chad has thrust West Africa into debates about transnational terrorism. Acts of violence carried out by Boko Haram, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and AQIM affiliate al-Mourabitoun have prompted serious concerns about safety, security, and political stability across the West African Sahel.1 In the last several years, counterterrorism initiatives in the region have grown exponentially, most often led by the United States, France, and various United Nations agencies. My project considers the following question: how are contemporary counterterrorism efforts in the Sahel prefigured by longer processes of securitization? Drawing from previous research I conducted in two Sahelian countries (Senegal and Burkina Faso), I am applying for the Rocca pre-dissertation fellowship to return to Dakar and Ouagadougou to undertake additional interviews, conduct archival research, and further develop my dissertation prospectus.