Author Archive

Zach Warner

Zach Warner is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His dissertation research is on the causes of decentralization, with a focus on Nigeria. More broadly, Zach is interested in political economics, inequality and representation, formal theory, dynamic models, and Bayesian statistics.

This year Zach Warner is a pre-doctoral researcher at the Latin American Public Opinion Project at Vanderbilt University. Last year he was a Junior Visiting Scholar at Nuffield College, University of Oxford.

When Boko Haram killed nearly 70 civilians over the Christmas holidays, many observers in the Western media were quick to chalk it up to wanton Islamic extremism. The attacks, it was concluded, reflected global jihadist activity. Emphasis was placed on the group’s links to al Qaeda. This narrative is shortsighted. For one, it ignores Christian retaliation just days later, including the bombing of a madrasa that injured seven. More broadly, it decontextualizes the violence. Nearly 500 Nigerians were killed in the northeast in 2011 due to sectarian conflict. Suicide attacks, car bombings, and assassinations-by-machete have been documented throughout the country, Africa’s most populous and the linchpin of Western engagement with the continent. Such killings are not new to Nigeria: religious strife has been a constant for decades, …