Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa Kampala Workshop

August 16, 2018


Kampala, Uganda—Fellows from the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa program convened at Makerere University last month for the 13th biannual fellows workshop, where they honed in their research questions, engaged with mentors in their fields, and refined their dissertation writing through cross-disciplinary dialogue. The fellows hail from all corners of the continent and have graduate research topics ranging from the cultures of childcare in Ghana to proactive counterterrorism measures in Nigeria.

Although the disciplines and topics of our 53 fellows vary, all of their research coalesces around the themes of peace, security, and development on the African continent and beyond. According to 2017 Next Gen dissertation research fellow Safiyya Goga, such cross-disciplinary feedback fostered by the workshop is a critical aspect of the research process.

“A lot of the time, people think there isn't value in listening to work from colleagues that have nothing to do with your area of research, but I think quite the opposite,” Goga said in reference to the workshops she attended last year. “I think speaking to people who seemingly have very little to offer, because their content is so different from yours, can actually trigger thoughts and ideas you hadn't anticipated precisely because they’re coming from such a different perspective. For me, that’s been a really exciting process.”

Interdisciplinarity has always been a cornerstone of the SSRC’s academic philosophy, just as such workshops are central to Next Gen’s program model. In addition to building research skills and helping fellows prepare for publication, workshops afford fellows the opportunity to engage with scholars from across the African continent, forging networks across disciplines, institutions, and career stages.

“I don’t even know how I would have gone ahead if it hadn’t been for that workshop. It was totally transforming for me in the way I look at my work.” - Susan Muriungi

“So far, I have gained a significant advantage, because the facilitators encouraged us to go further in improving our work. It was the best workshop I have ever attended in my academic time.” - Salma Khatibu

“The fact that there was proposal, research and completion fellows all at the workshop was a very good perspective to bring in. The facilitators were also very helpful in computing the linkages and identifying patterns [between our research]… not to be so narrow-minded in questioning a lot of the concepts we are using in our research.” - Faith Mabera

“These kinds of workshops really work. They build me up. They give you the chance to challenge, to be challenged, and to learn.” - Margaret Monyani

“The workshops aren't just a resource that fellows use to strengthen their dissertation--it's about being introduced into a network of scholars who are going to shape the future of knowledge production on the continent and the opportunity to participate in meaningful exchange.” - Mamasa Dukureh