Dr. Mark Duerksen is a research associate at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies. His research focuses on Africa’s unparalleled urbanization and the security challenges and opportunities this presents. Dr. Duerksen closely follows Nigeria, Africa’s largest urban population, and its tumultuous political and urban histories. Trained as a historian, he brings deep knowledge of the underlying land, governance, social, and developmental dynamics driving current tensions and conflicts in and around the continent’s cities.
Dr. Duerksen’s projects at the Africa Center include tracking security-related news and strategic trends across the continent and creating analytic maps and infographics to visualize spatial patterns and historical precedents. His maps of Lagos have been recognized through various awards and he has used spatial analysis to examine the spread of Ebola in Sierra Leone and the historical development of transportation networks across Africa. His background includes training in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and writing on African art and architecture.
Dr. Duerksen holds a Ph.D. in African History from Harvard University and a BA in Political and Social Thought from the University of Virginia. His dissertation research on the history of Lagos’s ecology, housing, and politics was funded by a Boren Fellowship (National Security Education Program) and a Frederick Sheldon Fellowship (Harvard). Previously, he taught at Hunter College in New York and the African School of Economics in Benin. He has a working knowledge of French and Yoruba.
Areas of Expertise
African Urbanization Trends, Urban Fragility and Resiliency, Nigeria, Benin
Africa Center for Strategic Studies, April 9, 2020
Africa Center for Strategic Studies, April 3, 2020
Africa Center for Strategic Studies, March, 2020
Africa Center for Strategic Studies, February 18, 2020
“A History of Violence in Acholi Architecture” in Architectural Guide: Sub-Saharan Africa,” Philipp Meuser and Adil Dalbai, eds.
Africa Center for Strategic Studies, May 29, 2019
Africa Center for Strategic Studies, February 25, 2019
College Art Associate, 2018
The Johannesburg Salon (Special Issue: Imagining Africa’s Future Cities), 2014
African Studies Quarterly, 2014
SJ Magazine of Contemporary Arts & Culture in East Africa, 2012
Africa Center for Strategic Studies, May 13, 2020
Hunter Department of Art and Art History, 2019
Harvard History Design Studio exhibition at the Hutchins Center, 2014
April 30, 2020
April 20, 2020