Alexander Thurston

Non-Resident Fellow

Expertise

West Africa, North Africa, jihadist movements, counterterrorism, religion and politics, U.S.-Africa policy

Programs

Bio

Alexander Thurston is a Non-Resident Fellow at the Quincy Institute and is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Cincinnati. He has conducted research on issues pertaining to Islam and politics in northwest Africa since 2006. He has a Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Northwestern University and an M.A. in Arab Studies from Georgetown University. From 2013-2014, he was a Desk Officer for Nigeria at the State Department’s Africa Bureau, a placement arranged through the Council on Foreign Relations’ International Affairs Fellowship program. He is the author of three books: Salafism in Nigeria (Cambridge, 2016); Boko Haram: The History of an African Jihadist Movement (Princeton, 2018); and Jihadists of North Africa and the Sahel (Cambridge, 2020). He has authored reports and briefings on African politics and security for the Carnegie Endowment, the Brookings Institution, the RESOLVE Network, the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, USAID, and other organizations. He has conducted field research in Senegal, Nigeria, Mali, Mauritania, and Burkina Faso.