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University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies


Maimuna MohamudCambridge Trust Africa Scholarship

Citizens of the Third Republic? Gendered Performances of Citizenship in the Somali Peace Processes  

Supervisor: Dr Devon Curtis (Department of Politics and International Studies)


This project is fundamentally concerned with the construction of political identity and social formations in the context of post-independence Somalia. Drawing on a feminist methodology which highlights the ways in which political identities and processes are built—reinforce—and subvert gendered hierarchies and asymmetries, I argue that ideas and practices of citizenship in Somalia have undergone a transformation in recent decades. More precisely, this thesis puts forward the notion that it has not just been war, famine and state collapse that have moulded the ways in which Somalis think about political belonging and categories of inclusion and participation in the national body politic, but that some of the externally-funded peace processes too have had a significant, hitherto underestimated impact on how citizenship is to be constituted and to be expressed. In doing so and emphasising the role of political novices and civil society -especially women and diaspora groups-, this dissertation rethinks the determinants of citizenship (re)construction and studies how political roles, rights and responsibilities are altered over time, erasing some inequities and exclusionary practices, while also erecting new barriers and (gendered) expectations. Furthermore, my work contributes to the extant literature on peace-building, nation-building and war which is preoccupied with material concerns of who gets what and which strongly highlights the pivotal role of militarised elites and foreign experts, at the expense of investigating the importance of political identity in post-conflict reconstruction and the agency of non-state, unarmed political actors in impacting ideas and practices of belonging.

Peer reviewed publications:

Mohamud, Maimuna, and Harry Verhoeven. "Re-Engineering the State, Awakening the Nation: Dams, Islamist Modernity and Nationalist Politics in Sudan." Water Alternatives 9.2 (2016): 182-202.

Mohamud, Maimuna. 2016. “Women, Piety and Political Representation: Islamic Discourses in Contemporary Somalia” in Hawwa: Journal of Women of the Middle East and the Islamic World, (Vol. 14, Issue 2, pp. 166-186).