Author Archives: Safia Aidid



Safia Aidid

Safia Aidid is a PhD Candidate in History at Harvard University, whose research focuses on Somali nationalism and its interaction with the Ethiopian state. You can find her on Twitter @SafiaA.

My dining table/dissertation war room
in Blog

On Dissertation Writing

ABD. All But Dissertation. It’s the unofficial milestone all PhD students reach upon completing comprehensive exams and other program requirements needed to progress to PhD candidate status. I remember telling a friend who was unfamiliar with the structure of North American PhD programs what ABD meant. I had a good idea of the contours of what my dissertation topic would be and conducted preliminary research...

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14 Oct 2017
A Conversation with Muna Ahmed and Khadija Charif
in Blog, Featured

A Conversation with Muna Ahmed and Khadija Charif

Muna Ahmed and Khadija Charif are two emerging Minnesota-based photographers. After attending their exhibits “Behind Both Fences” (Muna Ahmed) and “Jaded Youth” (Khadija Charif) on view at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs in Minneapolis this past April, we spoke more about their work. Safia Aidid: In “Jaded Youth” and “Behind Both Fences,” you both mediate on the tensions and contradictions of the Somali American...

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24 Nov 2016
In the Borderlands
in Blog, Dispatches

In the Borderlands

Dispatches #5 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia I sit on a quiet patio in Bole on a Sunday afternoon, catching up with an old friend from Canada who, like me, is completing a PhD in history in the United States. Like me, she is a child of the diaspora, born abroad to parents from the Horn, retracing and rediscovering roots alongside academic research. It strikes me that...

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26 Jan 2016
Somali Britain
in Blog, From the Archives

Somali Britain

From the Archives A few years ago, I attended a talk at Harvard by MIT professor Vivek Bald on his research documenting the Bengali presence in the United States (he has since published a book on the topic). Among his central arguments is that South Asians have a much longer history in the United States than recognized, and that there were settled communities of working...

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14 Sep 2015
To be Young, Gifted and Somali: The Somalidemic Survival Kit
in Blog

To be Young, Gifted and Somali: The Somalidemic Survival Kit

It’s September, that time of year when many of us are returning to campus after the summer holidays, whether it’s as college freshmen, graduate students, researchers or faculty. The university is a contradictory institution, at once a tool for advancement and opportunity as well as a hierarchal institution that produces inequalities and barriers for people from marginalized backgrounds. For Somali students who have already faced...

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08 Sep 2015
First Footsteps in Europe: Among the British
in Blog

First Footsteps in Europe: Among the British

First Footsteps in Europe is a Somali ethnographic diary in three parts. I. Among the British London “Hiya” I paused for a moment, unable to quite decipher the meaning of this odd sounding term. Was it a hello, or a how are you? Hi…ya? The man’s unchanged expression left me no clues. I took a guess. “Hi, an earl grey tea please.” “Takeawayorsitin?” Take away...

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17 Aug 2015
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