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Address Department of Digital Humanities
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King's College London
London WC2R 2LS
Research interests & PhD supervision
Peter Chonka finished his PhD at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre of African Studies in 2017. His doctoral research focused on transnational Somali-language media networks and their impact on political identity and state reconstruction in the Horn of Africa. His recent publications explore the production, dissemination and use of different types of digital texts in this media environment, and online/offline contestation between state security forces and militant opposition groups. As such, he’s interested in how the digital/social media environment affects processes of political reconstruction and conflict in so-called ‘fragile’ states. He is also affiliated with an ESRC/DFID-funded ‘Security on the Move’ research project, exploring displaced people’s everyday perceptions of security and urbanisation in Somali cities.
He has previously been teaching in the fields of African Politics and Development Studies at SOAS and Birkbeck (University of London). Prior to his doctoral research he worked as a Somali-interpreter for the International Committee of the Red Cross, primarily in prisons and other places of detention across Somalia. He is on Twitter at @petechonka.
- Digital media and political communication
- Conflict and state-building
- Sub-Saharan Africa
- Migration and mobility
Expertise and public engagement
‘New media, performative violence, and state reconstruction in Mogadishu’ African Affairs, 117(468): 392-414 (2018)
‘Cartoons in conflict: Amin Arts and transnational geopolitical imagination in the Somali-language public sphere’ Critical African Studies, 9(3): 350-376 (2017).
‘Spies, stonework and the suuq: Somali nationalism and the narrative politics of Harakat Al Shabaab Al Mujaahidiin’s online propaganda’ Journal of Eastern African Studies, 10(2): 247-265 (2016).
‘Igu sawir “gone too far”? Social media and state reconstruction in Somalia’ in Social Media and Politics in Africa, edited by Molony T and Dwyer M, Zed Books (forthcoming 2019).
‘News media and political contestation in the Somali territories: defining the parameters of a transnational digital public’ Journal of Eastern African Studies (forthcoming 2019)
‘Glocalised’ Jihad, political conflict, and conspiracy theorisation across a fragmented Somalia’ in Exporting Global Jihad, edited by Schulze K, Smith T and Solomon H, I.B. Tauris (forthcoming 2019).
‘Regional’ representation and resistance: Is there a relationship between 2017 elections in Somalia and Somaliland?’ Horn of African Bulletin, Volume 29 Issue 1, January-February 2017.
Peter has testified as an expert witness for immigration cases related to Somalia, and advises UK refugee advocacy groups on issues related to his research. He has worked as the Co-Director of Studies for the Rift Valley Institute’s annual Horn of Africa course (2018), held in Kenya and designed for civil society, humanitarian, diplomatic, and security sector professionals working in the region. He regularly presents his research to various public and governmental audiences in Somalia and the UK. He also contributes specialist commentary on Somalia/Horn of Africa politics for media outlets such as Vice news and CCTV. For more details and access to his publications see his personal website.