Laura E. Seay
|Assistant Professor, Political Science
Laura E. Seay is an assistant professor of political science at Morehouse College. She holds a Ph.D. in government from the University of Texas at Austin, an M.A. in African studies from Yale University, and a B.A. in international studies from Baylor University.
Dr. Seay’s current research is a study of the effects of advocacy efforts and United States legislation designed to mitigate the effects of conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Uganda, and the Central African Republic. Recently, she traveled to Eastern DRC and Uganda.
In her own words:
"I traveled to the eastern DRC and Uganda in June for a preliminary research trip to conduct interviews and gather information for a longer trip next year, when I'll be doing interviews and surveys to determine the effects of two US laws (2009 Northern Uganda Recovery and LRA Disarmament Act and sections 1502 and 1504 of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act) and what Ugandans, Congolese, and Central Africans think about the effects of these laws and other US-driven advocacy efforts.
Part of this research is on legislation relating to conflict minerals, which are minerals from the DRC that armed groups profit from in one way or another (e.g., they control the mines or tax mineral traffic along smuggling routes). This law, though it was passed with the best of intentions, has had a series of unintended consequences in mining communities in eastern DRC, including putting somewhere between 50,000 and 2 million miners out of work.
In January, I published a policy paper on this problem for the Center for Global Development (CGD, a Washington, DC think tank). CGD hosted a debate on my paper in March, and in May, I testified before Congress on the legislation's effects in the DRC. This fall semester, I'll be teaching a course on the politics of advocacy, activism, and social movements that relates to this research. Of course, many of the students in the class are already very active in advocacy movements around several issues, including the death penalty, incarceration rates for black men, and gang violence. We'll draw on their experiences while also raising questions about the most effective ways of advocating for social change in the political sphere and ensuring that we do no harm while trying to do good. Students enrolled in the course will prepare policy briefs and interact with activists around the world via Skype and Google Hangout.”
Dr. Seay writes “Texas in Africa,” a widely read blog on African politics, development and security. She also is a contributor to the Christian Science Monitor’s Africa Monitor blog, The Guardian’s Global Development blog, Al Jazeera English, ForeignPolicy.com, and TheAtlantic.com. Her research addresses the measurement and evaluation of community responses to state fragility in central Africa and has appeared in African Security Review, L’Afrique des Grands Lacs: L’Annuaire 2010-11, St. Antony’s International Review, Accord, and an edited volume, War and Peace in Africa. She is also the author of a recent Center for Global Development policy paper on advocacy efforts and the mineral trade in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). She has conducted extensive fieldwork in eastern Congo and is completing a book, Substituting for the State, on the differences in the ways that civil society organizations respond to the state’s absence in social service provision in the Kivu provinces and Ituri district.
At Morehouse, Dr. Seay teaches comparative politics, African politics, conflict and conflict resolution, and international organizations. During the fall semester (2012), she will teach a course on the politics of advocacy, activism and social movements that relates to her current research.
For more information, visit Dr. Seay’s blog on African politics, security, and development at http://texasinafrica.blogspot.com and follow her on Twitter as @texasinafrica.