Alexander Thurston

Campuses and Conflict in the Lake Chad Basin: Violent Extremism and the Politics of Religion in Higher Education


Campuses and Conflict in the Lake Chad Basin is the first in a series of RESOLVE Network research studies investigating violent extremism and the politics of religion on university campuses in the Lake Chad Basin — particularly in Cameroon, Chad, and Nigeria. As a component of the RESOLVE Lake Chad Basin Research Initiative, this report aims to advance RESOLVE’s mission to address gaps in locally-informed, empirically-driven research on violent extremism by mapping out current knowledge, research gaps, and emerging trends related to religion within the higher education sector and its relation to violent extremism.

The report addresses several topics: the significance of higher education to violent extremist groups, in particular the group popularly known as Boko Haram; the impact of colonial legacies on the university system; and areas warranting further study related to violent extremism, religiosity, and student life. The report provides a guide for those seeking to broaden their understanding of Boko Haram and emerging trends in the Lake Chad Basin. The report also tests prevailing assumptions about the relationship between education, religion, and violent extremism. Finally, the report suggests means by which to address violent extremism in the Lake Chad region and beyond.