Jaimie Bleck Wins Award for Best Dissertation in African Politics

Author: Elizabeth Rankin

Jaimie Bleck

University of Notre Dame political scientist Jaimie Bleck has won the 2011 Lynne Rienner Award for Best Dissertation in African Politics from the American Political Science Association’s Africa Politics Conference Group (APCG).

Bleck’s award-winning work, “Schooling Citizens: Education, Citizenship, and Democracy in Mali,” explores the political effect of education in the West African country.

According to the selection committee, the dissertation is “informed by a deep knowledge of contemporary Mali, methodologically sound, and makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the links between education, state service provision, and democracy.”

Bleck, Ford Family Assistant Professor of Political Science in the College of Arts and Letters and a faculty fellow in the University’s Kellogg Institute for International Studies, says she is currently expanding the work into a book manuscript.

“I am analyzing how different educational experiences—public/private and secular/Islamic—affect citizenship in Mali in the context of expanded access to schooling,” she explains.

She draws on data from a year of fieldwork, including 1,000 surveys, exit polls during municipal elections, politicians’ educational profiles, government schooling data, and interviews with Malian educators and government officials as well as 200 university students.

Bleck joined Notre Dame’s Department of Political Science in fall 2011. She received her Ph.D. from Cornell University, where her dissertation committee included Nicolas van de Walle (chair), Valerie Bunce, Kenneth Roberts, and Devra Coren Moehler.

Bleck has served as a consultant for the World Bank, Freedom House, and Care International. Prior to graduate school, she spent three years working in Central and Southern Africa with Winrock International on the Africa Education Initiative Ambassadors Girls Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships to 20,000 girls in 15 African countries each year.

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