Annual History Lecture by Dr. Jennifer Lofkrantz

February 12, 2019
Annual History Lecture by Dr. Jennifer Lofkrantz


Jennifer Lofkrantz will discuss local responses to the Boko Haram Crisis in Yola, Nigeria, as part of the Annual History Lecture at STU. The lecture, which coincides with Black History Month, will take place on Tuesday, February 12 at 7 pm in Brian Mulroney Hall, Room 101.


According to the 2017 Global Terrorism Index report, Boko Haram has killed more than 20,000 people and displaced 2.6 million people in Nigeria between 2009 and the end of 2016, making it one of the deadliest terrorist organizations of the twenty-first century. Though never occupied by Boko Haram, Yola, the capital of Adamawa State in northeastern Nigeria, was impacted by the insurgency. At one point Boko Haram occupied villages only two hours away from the city. Moreover, during the height of the crisis, the internally displaced population (IDP) doubled the size of greater Yola’s pre-crisis population of approximately 370,000.


Drawing upon contemporary history methodology and based primarily on oral interviews with local residents, this talk is focused on local responses to Boko Haram in Yola, especially during the height of the crisis in 2014-2015. Yola residents drew upon various self-help traditions to respond to the need to protect the city from a Boko Haram invasion; to provide humanitarian relief to IDPs; and to establish programs to lower Boko Haram’s recruitment of local youth.  As well as discussing the formation and ideological roots of Boko Haram, this talk will situate Yola’s reactions to the Boko Haram crisis into the historical context of Yola as a pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial regional capital and within the religious traditions of the region.


Dr. Jennifer Lofkrantz is an Associate Professor of History and the Program Coordinator of the History Minor at American University of Nigeria. She holds a Ph.D. in African History from York University, an M.A in African History from Queen’s University and a B.A (Hons) from Simon Fraser University. She specializes in the history of pre-colonial West Africa and the contemporary history of northern Nigeria. Her research is focused on Muslim West African intellectual debates on enslavement and remedies for "illegal" enslavement, especially the ransoming of war captives, and on historical and contemporary jihadism. Her research has appeared in the journals Slavery & Abolition, The Journal of African History, International Journal of African Historical Studies, and The Journal of West African History among others. She is a former co-editor of African Economic History and is the co-editor of Ransoming, Captivity, and Piracy in Africa and the Mediterranean (Africa World Press, 2016). She is a co-recipient of a SSHRC Partnership Grant for the research project Boko Haram, Islamic Protest and National Security.