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Political Science Nadine Machikou

September - December 2023

Transnation Humanitarian Intersections Between Germany and Cameroon: Religion, Intersectionality, and Agency (with Cecelia Lynch)

A major challenge for international politics is how to effectuate equitable aid relationships. Addressing this issue requires in-depth examinations of how people in postcolonial societies navigate colonial legacies and internal/external dynamics of transnational humanitarianism and interstate securitization, amidst intersectional identities and multiple crises (poverty, civil conflict, COVID-19). Conversely, it also requires examining whether and how officials and aid agencies in former colonizing countries see links between colonial legacies and contemporary aid relationships, and how they perceive agency in those relationships. Our project addresses these issues with a focus on relations between Germany and one of its former colonies, Cameroon. Our central research questions follow:

To what degree do transnational humanitarian practices help or hinder the survival of Cameroonians, and of Cameroon as a country?
What does it mean for Cameroonians to “survive together”?

By “together,” we do not refer to any notion of a homogeneous or unified state or people with a common purpose, but rather to the minimal fact of survival as citizens of the same country. Addressing this question requires examination of historical legacies of colonization as well as ongoing humanitarian relationships. It requires examination of how these legacies influence the everyday (bureaucracy, entrenched ethnic and religious divisions, displacement and violence from the Anglophone Crisis, Boko Haram, and climate change) in conjunction with the transnational: in other words, it requires examination of the quotidian processes, debates, struggles, and fears that mark the lives of Cameroonians of different genders, ages, religions, languages, regions, and ethnicities, vis-à-vis the transnational dynamics of aid and securitization. Our project builds on collaborative research we have done on several religious women's groups in the country by engaging with perspectives from German aid agencies and nongovernmental organizations, using African feminist approaches to address a) gaps in theorizing about Cameroon as a "stationary state" and 2) promises by transnational agencies to "decolonize humanitarian aid."


Nadine MACHIKOU is a Tenure Professor in Political Science at the University of Yaoundé II (Cameroon). She is currently Vice-Rector in charge of Research, Cooperation and Relations with the business world at the same university and co-editor-in-chief of the French journal Politique africaine. She has been a Seminar Director at the Cameroon International War College since 2012. She is Since 2021 she has been the Vice-president of the African Association of Political Science. Her research today focuses on the practical and symbolic expressions of violence, autocratization, the political and moral economy of emotions (compassion in foreign policy, anger, agency). She is visiting professor at several institutions, including the Universities of Abomey -Calavi (Benin), Lomé and Kara (Togo), Felix Houphouet Boigny (Côte d’ivoire), the Global Institute of the University of Geneva, the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam. She is a member of the Cluster Africa Multiple of Bayreuth University where she works on invisible scholars and has been a Fellow of the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies. She also collaborates with the Contending Modernities Project research group at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana (USA) since 2018. The fellowship at the Academy of International Affairs is the continuity of a long stand collaboration with Cecilia LYNCH (Professor of Political Science, University of California Irvine). Their joint project is on “Transnational Humanitarian Intersections between Germany and Cameroon. Religion, intersectionality, and Agency”.
She is also a conciliatory judge on the National Olympic Committee, founder and honorary president of the think tank Ayen-Observatory of Politics in Africa, and founder Polit’Elles, African francophone female political scientists association.