Mahmood Mamdani is an academic, author and political commentator. He is a Professor and Director of the Makerere Institute of Social Research at Makerere University (MISR), Kampala, Uganda, and the Herbert Lehman Professor of Government at Columbia University, New York.
He grew up in Uganda and acquired his B.A from the University of Pittsburgh, before attaining a Masters and Ph.D from Harvard University in 1974. Mamdani specializes in the study of African and international politics, colonialism and post‐colonialism, and the politics of knowledge production.
His works explore the intersection between politics and culture, a comparative study of colonialism since 1452, the history of civil war and genocide in Africa, the Cold War and the War on Terror, and the history and theory of human rights. Prior to taking the directorship of MISR in 2010 and joining the Columbia faculty in 1999, Mamdani was a professor at the University of Dar‐es‐Salaam (1973‐79), Makerere University (1980‐1993), and the University of Cape Town (1996‐1999).
He has received numerous awards and recognitions, including being listed as one of the “Top 20 Public Intellectuals” globally by Foreign Policy (US) and Prospect (UK) magazine in 2008. He received an honorary doctorate from Addis Ababa University and the University of Johannesburg, both in 2010. From 1998 to 2002 he served as President of CODESRIA (Council for the Development of Social Research in Africa). His essays have appeared in the London Review of Books, among other journals.
Mamdani is also the author of several highly acclaimed books, including Saviors and Survivors: Darfur, Politics, and the War on Terror, Pantheon, New York. 2009, Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War and the Roots of Terror, Pantheon, New York. 2004, and When Victims Become Killers: Colonialism, Nativism and Genocide in Rwanda, Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.Y. David Phillip, Cape Town: Fountain, Kampala; and James Currey, London. 2001.