Thursday, January 23, 2014

Who Are the African Immigrants?

Who Are the African Immigrants? A presentation at Willingboro Public Library, NJ on Saturday, December 7, at 2 p.m.

Willingboro Public Library presented an interactive lecture "Who Are the African Immigrants?," with Professor Mojúbàolú Olufúnké Okome.  "Our goal is to inform and create awareness about this growing and diverse group of Africans, who live and interact with others in New Jersey," says Paulette Doe-Williams, adult services librarian. "We aim to dispel stereotypes and encourage dialogue between groups in
Willingboro and surrounding towns."

The talk is the second in a series on African Immigrants in New Jersey, funded by a grant from the N.J. Council for the Humanities.  Mojúbàolú Olufúnké Okome is a professor of political science at Brooklyn College.  A Nigerian by birth, she was educated at the University of Ibadan, Long Island University, and Columbia University. Her most recent books are:  Mojubaolu Olufunke Okome, editor. Contesting the Nigerian State: Civil Society and the Contradictions of Self Organization; and State Fragility, State Formation, and Human Security in Nigeria. Both were published by Palgrave-Macmillan in 2013.  Together with Professor Olufemi Vaughan, Geoffrey Canada Professor of Africana Studies & History at Bowdoin College, she also co-edited West African Migrations: Transnational and Global Pathways in a New Century; and Transnational Africa and Globalization, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012.  She is the editor of Ìrìnkèrindò: a Journal of African Migration, a peer-reviewed journal devoted to the study of African migration and immigration to other parts of the world.

The introduction was by Mrs. Paulette Doe-Williams, Adult Services Librarian at Willingboro Library

Willingboro Public Library ( is located at 220 Willingboro Parkway, just off of Route 130 and Levitt Parkway, next to Strayer University. For further information, call 609-877-6668.

Two new books: Contesting the Nigerian State AND State Fragility, State Formation and Human Security in Nigeria

For the past year, I've been working on two edited books.  The second one was just published.

Contesting the Nigerian State: Civil Society and the Contradictions of Self Organization (Palgrave -Macmillan, 2013)

Contesting the Nigerian State - Edited By Mojúbàolú Olúfúnké Okome
his book addresses the meanings and implications of self-organization and state society relations in contemporary Nigerian politics. The conventional wisdom in public choice theory is that self-organization could generate collective action problems, via the tragedy of the commons, or the prisoner's dilemma, or a condition akin to Hobbes' state of nature, where selfish interests produce social conflict rather than cooperation. In the absence or unwillingness of the state to provide such services, entire communities in Nigeria have had to band together to repair roads, build health centers, repair broken transformers owned by the public utilities company, all from levies. Consideration of post-authoritarian state-civil society relations in Nigeria began in a situation where the state was deeply embroiled in a morass of economic and political crises, further complicating these relations, and lending urgency to questions about state capacity, as well as the nature of the relationship between state and civil society, and their implication for the social, economic and political health and well being of the democratizing polity and its citizens.

The other book I edited was published in April.  
 State fragility, State formation and Human Security in Nigeria  (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2013)

State Fragility, State Formation, and Human Security in Nigeria - Edited By Mojúbàolú Olúfúnké Okome
he democratic transition processes in Africa since the 1990s have carried great hopes and expectations about 'civil society' and ambivalence about the state. This book explores the complex interactions between state fragility, self-help, and self organization in Nigeria. Nigeria's associational life is highly developed and multifaceted, reaching far beyond 'civil society organizations' (CSOs) or non-governmental organizations (NGOs). There is a 'third sector' within civil society that encompasses a spectrum extending from community-based forms of self-help to ethnic or religious representation, and even militias. Some self organization formations have narrow, pragmatic aims. Others have an explicit socio-cultural or political agenda. Many respond to, and cope with consequences of the Nigerian state's inability to deliver services and provide functioning regulatory frameworks. Examining and analyzing the emergence of broader forms of civil society, the book considers its roots, dynamics and successes, but also pinpoints its costs, ambivalences, and contradictions. Despite strong traditions of self-organization in Nigeria, many pressure groups, organizations defending rights, independent policy consultants and other structures known as 'civil society organizations' are also dependent on foreign aid. The book contributes to deliberations on the relationship between state and civil society in Nigeria, Africa, and globally.

US Immigration Reform: Implications for West Africans on Both Sides of the Atlantic

The West African Research Association (WARA) sponsored roundtable on "US Immigration Reform: Implications for West Africans on Both Sides of the Atlantic" at the annual meeting of the African Studies Association (ASA) Friday, November 22, 2013, from  4:45-6:30pm in Harborside Ballroom, Waterfront Marriott, Baltimore, MD.

Chair: Louise Badiane, Bridgewater State University
Zain Abdullah, Temple University
Emira Wood, Institute for Policy Studies
Mojubaolu Olufunke Okome, Brooklyn College, CUNY
Moderator: Ndimyake Mwakalyelye, VOA Broadcast journalist; Africa expert

The video was recorded by students from Morgan State University

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