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Aala Abdelgadir

Aala Abdelgadir

Conflict and Polarization Initiative Fellow
Spring 2016 Graduate Student Fellowship Recipient
Fall 2018 Graduate Student Research Funding Recipient


Aala Abdelgadir is a PhD candidate in political science. She holds a BA in political science from Yale University. Prior to Stanford, she worked as a research associate for the Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy Program at the Council on Foreign Relations. Abdelgadir’s dissertation focuses on ideological transformation of Islam in sub-Saharan Africa and its impact on inter-religious conflict. In other work, she focuses on the effect of integration policies on Muslims in the West.

2018-2019 Graduate Student Research Funding project abstract

Islamic Conservatism and Women's Empowerment

How has the rise of Islamic conservatism affected female empowerment in sub-Saharan Africa? In Arab countries, strict interpretations of Islam place restrictive demands on women and favor men in education and employment, leading to women’s relative disempowerment (Blaydes and Linzer 2008). On the other hand, there is evidence that women’s educational attainment and reproductive health improve under the rule of Islamists (Meyersson 2014). This study investigates how the importation of conservative ideology in sub-Saharan Africa and its dissemination through mosque sermons shape women’s economic prospects.

2015-2016 Graduate Student Fellowship project abstract

The Effects of Social and Ethnic Ties on Public Goods Provision

This study examines how social ties between local bureaucrats and the communities they serve affect the provision of public services. A priori, it is not clear whether strong social ties would lead to higher or lower provision of public goods. In this study, I investigate: when do ethnic and social ties induce bureaucrats to provide better services and when don’t they? I address this question by exploring how ethnic and social ties between local officials and communities affect patterns of school inspections in Uganda.