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Dean’s New Book Showcases Importance of Global Public Policy and African Affairs.

01/27/2023| Adam Mooney

McCormack’s Interim Dean Rita Kiki Edozie celebrated the publication of her newest book in August, the culmination of six years of research and writing. Co-authored with Dr. Moses Khisa, Africa’s New Global Politics: Regionalism in International Relations offers a view of how the countries of Africa have acted as a collective to shape international relations and influence the global arena more and more in recent decades. Edozie’s eighth scholarly book, Africa’s New Global Politics has been well-received since its publication, earning a spot on the prestigious Choice Outstanding Academic Titles list from the American Library Association, which noted it as a “well-constructed, thoughtful book [that] is highly recommended.”

Group Picture Edozie Book Talk

“ There’s so much happening in Africa but not enough written about Africa from African perspectives ”

For Edozie, Africa’s New Global Politics: Regionalism in International Relations offers important contributions to the field, not least of which is that Africa has much to offer international relations, even if scholars have minimized or overlooked its place in post-colonial international relations theories. She finds such a conclusion fitting to emerge out of the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, where, she indicated, it is easy but inaccurate to categorize her research as fulfilling only the “Global Studies” component of the School. “My book might seem to veer towards the Global Studies part in terms of engaging the political affairs of this whole continent,” Edozie said, “but I want people to know that it’s also very much part of our policy dimensions in the new, growing field of global public policy.”

Edozie indicated that Africa should be an integral part of policy discussions. “My book has a lot to say about how Africans have contributed to global policy debates around the environment, global security, identity, and social issues,” Edozie said. This research is fitting within the School’s larger emphasis on policy and global studies, in this sense. As Edozie concluded, “The McCormack School of Policy and Global Studies captures and produces knowledge about the local, national, regional, and international world. We’re looking for the problems of the world—trying to capture them and trying to engage solutions—and that’s what this book does.”

Edozie’s earliest ideas for the project came to fruition at her academic “job talk” during her interview for the position of the McCormack School’s Associate Dean in 2017. In response to a question from the search committee on the new research she might conduct upon being hired, Edozie conceived of, and later proposed to Lynne Rienner Publishers, a monograph that underscores how Africa as a continent is not visible in much of the international relations and political science curricula, even though it plays a key role in global affairs in the real world. “I wanted to tell that story,” said Edozie. “There’s so much happening in Africa but not enough written about Africa from African perspectives.”

Edozie’s book project has been long in the making. Although the book’s initial idea was proposed in 2017, Edozie found herself immersed in responsibilities associated with her job as McCormack’s Associate, and then Interim, Dean. After she proposed it independently and conceived of its structure and approach, Edozie enlisted the help of Dr. Moses Khisa, an Associate Professor at North Carolina State University, to help her complete the book. The two met when they were invited to serve on expert panels at an intelligence event on Africa. “Both of us being African-born noticed each other and noticed that we were on the same wavelength in trying to persuade our other colleagues about how to think about Africa,” Edozie explained. “We connected, and I had sort of bemoaned about the coverage of Africa. I asked him to co-author with me, and we had a great co-authorship.”

Rooted in the history of Kwame Nkrumah’s vision of a pan-African union as an ideal mechanism with which to bring together the 55 African countries to leverage and match their power in international relations with colonial powers like France and the United Kingdom, Edozie’s book adopts a constructivist theory of international relations to posit that the African Union has maintained increasing agency in global affairs over the two decades since 2002. “The politics of the African Union is very much in the forefront of global politics,” Edozie commented, “and that’s what I tried to share in my book.” According to Edozie, from a comparativist, political science perspective, the ideal unit of analysis would be one country. “There’s this notion that we should not actually be writing about Africa as if it is a country, because it is a continent, not a country. I agree,” Edozie said, “but I wanted to wedge in and say that, as a matter of fact, increasingly since the 1960s, there have been continent-wide regional institutions whose goal has been to pool the foreign policies of the 55 African countries together into a single standpoint or policy orientation.”

Edozie’s and Khisa’s book draws from this institutional platform, the African Union, to describe the collective action upheld by African countries over the past two decades, arguing that Africa has an emerging ascendancy in confidence and activism in international relations. The book ultimately offers a theory of world regionalism, or regional worlds. As Edozie described, “International relations has always posited that Africa is a continent that has been transacted upon globally, but now, it is taking back its regionalism and spreading it to the world using its own agency.”

This fall, Edozie discussed her research at a book talk with Dr. Pearl Robinson, Associate Professor of Political Science at Tufts University. Edozie invited Robinson as a guest interviewer for the roundtable discussions and radio broadcasts hosted by the McCormack School in the fall semester. Robinson, a long-time colleague and friend of Edozie’s—and a champion of Edozie’s academic successes—agreed happily, having prepared interview questions with her students, with whom she had discussed Edozie’s and Khisa’s book in an international relations course at Tufts. “I found it a really fascinating experience,” Edozie noted. “I was able to see my words perceived differently and understood differently, and that challenged me.”