Public debate

Mamadou Diouf

I would like to capture both the language which describes and analyses Africa, and the language of Africans themselves, in their multiplicity, in their diversity.

Senegalese historian Mamadou Diouf skilfully explains the political and societal changes in Africa. In his numerous books he breaks down disciplines and proposes an analysis that is both historical, sociological and anthropological.

Updated on 05/06/2020

2 min

Doctor of history, Mamadou Diouf specialises in major historical, social, political and cultural african issues. From 1982 to 1999, he was lecturer, then assistant professor in the history department of the University of Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal. In 1999, he moved to the United States where he taught African-American history and studies at the University of Michigan. Today, Mamadou Diouf is a professor at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University in New York, USA, where he heads the Institute of African Studies. An international intellectual, Mamadou Diouf shares his knowledge in Europe, where he is a visiting professor at the Paris School of International Affairs at Sciences Po in Paris.

Mamadou Diouf's main aim is to study the political and societal liberalisation of many African countries. One of his first works, Senegal under Abdou Diouf: State and society (1992), co-written with Momar Coumba Diop, has established itself as a seminal work in the study of Senegalese democracy. A dozen essays followed, such as Political figures in Africa (1999), also co-written with Momar Coumba Diop, which explores social movements and economic reforms in Africa in the 1980s and 1990s, and The Arts of Citizenship in African Cities (2014), co-directed with Rosalind Fredericks, which offers a reading of the social and urban policies deployed in Africa today.

Its analysis of contemporary African societies promotes cross-disciplinary and cultural exchange. Through his various work, he establishes connections between history, anthropology, sociology and urban studies, interconnecting the tools, concepts and analyses of these disciplines. At the crossroads of theoretical approaches, Mamadou Diouf’s books are published in English and French.

  • 1981


    Mamadou Diouf submits his thesis on the Kingdom of Cayor, a former kingdom of Senegal, at Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne University (France). He obtains the title of Doctor of History.

  • 1982


    Mamadou Diouf begins his career as a teacher at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar, Senegal.

  • 1999


    Mamadou Diouf moves to the United States, where he teaches at the University of Michigan.

  • 2007


    Mamadou Diouf is appointed Director of the Institute of African Studies at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, New York (USA).

  • 2014


    Mamadou Diouf cowrites with Rosalind Fredericks the essay The arts of citizenship in Senegal: contested spaces and urban civilisations (2013), a major contribution to the study of African cities.

The Institut français and Mamadou Diouf

Mamadou Diouf is the "literature and debate of ideas" sectoral expert for the Africa2020 Season. They support the General Commission of Africa2020 in order to put African professionals in contact with French institutions that are partners to the Africa2020 Season.



Initiated by Emmanuel Macron, the President of the French Republic, the Africa2020 Season will take place throughout France (mainland and overseas territories) from December 2020 to mi-July 2021. It will be dedicated to the 54 states of the African continent. Find out more about the Africa2020 Season


Visit the Africa2020 Season website


L'institut français, LAB