Kathleen Klaus, "Political Violence in Kenya: Land, Elections, and Claim-Making" (Cambridge UP, 2020)


Kathleen Klaus, Assistant Professor of Politics at the University of San Francisco has written a terrific book, Political Violence in Kenya: Land, Elections, and Claim-Making published in 2020 by Cambridge University Press. Kathleen’s book is richly researched and beautifully written. She draws on 15 months of survey and interview methods to center the politics of elites in crafting land narratives that lead—or not—to electoral violence. Kathleen’s book is a great example of mixed methods as a way to understand and explain what are the conditions in which individuals can be primed for physical violence. Political Violence in Kenya is a fascinating book that raises novel questions about the role of contentious politics in framing elite political outcomes, as well as how elites coordinate with ordinary people to try to instigate violence.

For those wanting to dig deeper into Kenya politics or electoral violence, Dr. Klaus recommends:

-The Elephant Blog.

-The Journal of Peace Research: Special Issue on Electoral Violence, January 2020.

-Violence in African Elections: Between Democracy and Big Man Politics, edited by Bjarnesen and Söderburg Kovacs (2019).

-Voting in Fear: Electoral Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa, edited by Bekoe (2012)

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Susan Thomson

Susan Thomson is Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Colgate University. I like to interview pretenure scholars about their research. I am particularly keen on their method and methodology, as well as the process of producing academic knowledge about African places and people.

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