Professor of Political Science

Professor of Political Science

Abdourahmane Idrissa is a political scientist with a strong interest in history and political economy. He earned his doctorate from the University of Florida, where his research focused on democratization and political Islam in the Sahel. Subsequently, he developed expertise in the political economy of development during a two-year postdoctoral position at the universities of Oxford and Princeton. Prior to this, he served as a Senior Researcher at Leiden University’s African Studies Centre.

Idrissa has a substantial body of work published in both English and French, including a comprehensive book on the Politics of Islam in the Sahel, which covers five countries and multiple historical periods. He has also authored "L’Afrique pour les nuls" – 'Africa for Dummies,' part of the French version of the popular 'For Dummies' collection. His recent research focuses on the impact of Jihadist violence on state building and socio-political democratization in the Sahel region, with a particular focus on Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso. Some of this work is conducted in collaboration with the Dutch research institute Clingendael and a think tank founded by Idrissa in Niger, known as EPGA.

Idrissa's work has been featured in widely circulated magazines such as the London Review of Books, the New York Review of Books, the New Left Review, and Sidecar. Furthermore, he held the position of Ali A. Mazrui Senior Fellow (2022-2023) at The Africa Institute, where he worked on his book about the Songhay Empire and the significant changes that occurred on the global stage during its century of existence, especially during the pivotal sixteenth century. This book is currently under contract with publishers Allen Lane and Penguin Books. Abdourahmane Idrissa joins us as Professor of Political Science at The Africa Institute in 2025 Spring.


Idrissa’s research interests focuses on politics of Islam and secularism in Africa, mainly Sub-Saharan Africa, and the other, state formation in African contexts. 


  • Dialogue in divergence: the impact of EU migration policy on West African integration: the cases of Nigeria, Mali, and Niger. Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, 2019.
  • Tinder to the fire: Burkina Faso in the conflict zone. Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, West Africa, 2019.
  • Genealogies of a Non-Political Islam in the Sahel: The Burkina Case. No. 23. SSP Working Paper, 2017.
  • Idrissa, Abdourahmane, and Samuel Decalo. Historical dictionary of Niger. Scarecrow Press, 2012.
  • The invention of order: Republican codes and Islamic Law in Niger. University of Florida, 2009.
  • "The Politics of Islam in the Sahel." 155.
  • Idrissa, Abdourahmane, and Samuel Decalo. Historical dictionary of Niger. Scarecrow Press, 2012.
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