Surer Mohamed, from Western University, was a Highly Commended entrant at the Undergraduate Awards (UA) 2014, for her paper ‘The Trouble with ‘Tribe’: Beyond a Monocausal Explanation for Ethnicized Conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa’ in the Politics & International Relations category.
Surer’s paper shines a light on the lack of emphasis on ethnicity with the all encompassing term ‘tribe’, which neglects the structural considerations that grant ethnicity its salience. The paper investigates numerous critical causes that lead to the instrumentalization of ethnicity, such as the use of ‘tribe’ as a political currency by African leaders. Surer pushes back against the widely held belief that “ethnic conflict and ‘tribalism’ are exclusively at the heart of civil conflicts and electoral contests in Africa”.
Surer Mohamed is currently studying at the University of Cambridge, where she is pursuing a PhD in Politics and International Studies.
Attending the Undergraduate Awards Summit in 2014 was an important formative experience for Surer.
At the UA Summit, I began to envision myself as a part of a community of scholars, and began to pursue an academic career.
Since the Summit, Surer has completed a M.A. at the University of Western Ontario and an MPhil at the University of Cambridge. She has been the recipient of scholarships from the David and Elaine Potter Foundation, the Mackenzie King Trust, and the Rotary Foundation.
Surer has a keen interest in critical theory, postcolonial African studies, and critical approaches to transitional justice. Her doctoral research considers property disputes in the Somali capital city, Mogadishu, as a site of justice contestation in the post-conflict era. She considers how mass violence creates competing claims of “victimhood” that have important political ramifications for the emerging state and society.
In addition to her studies, Surer is a Research Assistant on the “Rethinking Transitional Justice from African Perspectives” project, where she is works with partner organisations from Uganda, South Sudan, Somalia, and Kenya that address innovative approaches to transitional justice in their immediate contexts. She is also a co-host on the Declarations podcast that considers the complexities of human rights in the real world.
Surer is interested in pursuing a career in academia that straddles the divide between scholarship and practice. She is passionate about challenging the boundaries of knowledge production and producing scholarship that can enable grassroots political engagement.
Read Surer’s Highly Commended paper in the UA Library.
If you would like to find out how to submit to this year’s Undergraduate Awards click here.