Nafisa Abdulhamid

PhD Candidate

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Nafisa A. Abdulhamid is a PhD candidate in Political Science at Dalhousie University. Her doctoral research examines the extent to which the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine has been sustained, adapted, and realized within the African regional context. Her research uses the constructivist concept of “communities of practice” to first explore the dynamics of norm localization within the African Union, and then examine the extent to which R2P norms are inflected in its institutional architecture (both in theory and in practice).

Nafisa was born and raised in Mombasa, Kenya but moved to Edmonton, Canada when she was 18 to pursue postsecondary education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (honours) and a Master of Arts in Political Science from the University of Alberta. Her M.A. thesis undertook a critical historical and postcolonial theoretical approach to trace and examine the rise of the Islamic State first in Iraq (2003) and later in Syria (2011). Her other research interests include analyzing the effects of commercialized micro-credit and critically examining the implementation of the Gender and Development (GAD) model in the developing world.

Despite being professionally rooted in Canada, Nafisa maintains strong connections with her community in Mombasa. Before moving to Edmonton, Nafisa worked with a local hospital to establish a clinic in the outskirts of Mombasa, which administers de-worming medication to primary school students, and educates rural families about the importance of hygiene and proper sanitation. In addition, Nafisa is a strong advocate for the pursuit of female education in her community in Mombasa. She works closely with local NGOs to survey and deliver primary school textbooks to rural schools around the city, and facilitates workshops for young girls that guide them through college applications processes for universities in Kenya and abroad.

Current Curriculum Vitae


Humanitarian intervention, Rise of Salafi-jihadist organizations in the Middle East and North Africa, Gender and Development, Approaches to Development in the Global South (specifically Micro-Finance).


Abdulhamid, Nafisa. “The Islamic State in Context: A Historical and Postcolonial Approach to Understanding its Emergence in Iraq and Syria.” Education and Research Archive: University of Alberta Libraries. 2017.

Abdulhamid, Nafisa. “The Securitization of Migration in the European Union.” Potentia, October 2018. (forthcoming)


Abdulhamid, Nafisa. “The Islamic State in Context: A Postcolonial Approach to Understanding its Emergence in Iraq and Syria.” MA thesis. University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB. May 2017.

Presenter, “Lessons from Libya: Questioning our Responsibility to Protect,” Canada 150: View from the Margins, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB. March 2017.

Presenter, “Muslims, Islam, and the Media,” International Week, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB. February 2015.

Public Lecture “Operation Iraqi Freedom: Implications of the War on Terror on Iraqi Civil Society,” Political Science. University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB. June 2016.

Presenter, “Rethinking Female Suicide Terrorism,” Feminisms in Fast Forward: Gender and Politics in ‘Queer Times,’” University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB. March 2016.