Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Cancelled - Laura Vinson ─ Explaining Patterns of Religious Violence & the Role of Ethnic Identities: The Case of Northern Nigeria

Monday, April 15, 2019

4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

McKinney Conference Room, 111 Thayer Street

Reports of inter-religious and ethnic violence in states in the Global South seem to frequent international news headlines. Yet, in countries like Nigeria with recurring ethnic conflict, violence only erupts in some pluralistic communities and not others. Under what conditions does religious identity become a divisive cleavage and source of communal violence? Based on intensive field research in Northern Nigeria, this research advances a new theory of power-sharing, showing that communities are less prone to inter-group violence where local government leaders have established informal local government power-sharing arrangements. Additionally, recent survey experiment research in Jos, Nigeria emphasizes the importance of disaggregating analyses of ethnic conflict, showing how individuals’ associations with religious or tribal identity can distinctly shape perceptions of conflict dimensions and grievances.

Africa Initiative

Laura Thaut Vinson received her PhD from the University of Minnesota in 2013 and is an assistant professor of International Affairs at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR. Her research explores ethnic and religious violence with a particular focus on Nigeria. She is the author of Religion, Violence, and Local Power-Sharing in Nigeria (2017, Cambridge University Press).