Meet the Inaugural M. Crawford Young Fellowship Fund in African Politics Winner

My name is Irène (E-Ren) Tombo and I am PhD Candidate in Comparative Politics and Political Methodology. I was born and raised in Eastern Congo, specifically, the town of Goma. Prior to attending UW-Madison, I graduated from Johns Hopkins University – SAIS with an MA (2017) in International Economics with concentrations in African Studies and International Political Economy. Prior to attending SAIS, I attended the University of the Incarnate Word where I received a BA (2015) in International Relations with a minor in Political Economy.

I am honored to be the recipient of the inaugural M. Crawford Young Fellowship Fund. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the late Crawford Young’s family and the donors for your generosity in funding the Crawford Young Research Award. Thanks to your donations, I am able to conduct my dissertation research in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

As a 5th year doctoral candidate, the main objective of my research is to analyze ‘state-citizen’ relationships in a context where the state is ‘dysfunctional’. This upcoming Summer and Fall, I intend to carry on with my dissertation research in the DRC. My field research examines the nature of citizenship from a bottom-up perspective in Kinshasa, the capital city of the DRC. I pay close attention to the reality of the lived experiences of Congolese citizens to focus on practices of citizenship in two communes of Kinshasa, Limete, and Bandalungwa. I focus on polities as arenas of citizenship construction and negotiation. I intend to demonstrate how other ways of belonging, engaging, and participating in politics are important to understand for Political Scientists. This is especially important in a context where the state is a ‘dysfunctional’ and remote entity, though not always absent, and other forms of self-making and communities prove more important daily than the national collectivity.

Thank you for supporting me towards completing my dissertation research which lays the foundation for a body of research through my future career as a political scientist of Congolese origin.

Produced by Cecilia Kyalo