Osita Afoaku

Clinical Professor

(812) 855-0749
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Curriculum Vitae


  • Ph.D., Washington State University, 1991
  • M.A., Washington State University, 1986
  • B.A., University of IFE, 1980


  • African Political Economy
  • Global Governance in the 21st Century
  • National & International Policy
  • U.S. Foreign Policy and Third World Regimes


Dr. Osita Afoaku is an expert in U.S.-African/Third World relations, human rights, democratization, state reconstruction, and sustainable development in Africa. Prior to joining IU in 2003, he was professor and department chair of Africana Studies at University of Northern Colorado. 

Afoaku's research and teaching areas straddle interdisciplinary boundaries of public policy, comparative politics, international relations and foreign policy. His scholarship has been centrally concerned with understanding the interplay of forces affecting the tension between state-centric notions of security and the ideals of human security such as democracy, human rights, and sustainable development. 

A major focus of Afoaku's current work is the multiple drivers of bilateral relations between the States and Third World regimes. Building on his previous works on the subject, Afoaku is currently working on a book project entitled U.S. Foreign Policy and Third World Regimes: Patron-Client Relations in the International Sphere. Among the issues addressed in this volume is the relevance of policy tools that facilitated U.S. intervention in Third World countries during the Cold War era in the post 9/11 global environment. 

Afoaku is also investigating the implications of Islamist terrorism relative to the legitimacy of the Nigerian state. His recent study attempts to show that the ineptitude of Nigeria's security organizations, which accounts for the effectiveness of Boko Haram-the fundamentalist Muslim sect that has terrorized northeastern Nigeria since 2010- is indicative of a much larger, albeit previously ignored, problem of state failure.


  • Director of African Studies Outreach Program, Indiana University
  • Member, African Studies Outreach Advisory Committee, since 2007
  • Board of Trustees, Holy Ghost University, Afikpo, Eboyi State, Nigeria
  • Organizer/co-organizer of more than two dozen professional workshops on African and International Studies
  • Editorial Advisory Board, International Journal of African Studies

In the News

Selected Works

  • “Boko Haram and Islamist Fundamentalism in Northern Nigeria: Costs and Consequences of a Broken State,”African Studies in a Globalized World (2018)
  • "Islamist Terrorism and State Failure in Northern Nigeria,"Africa Today, vol. 63, no 4, (Summer 2017)
  • "Democratic Republic of Congo," Countries at the Crossroads. New York: Freedom House (2010)
  • "The Anti-Kabila war, 1998-2003," War and Peace in Africa (Toyin Falola & Raphael Njoku, Eds.). Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press (2010)
  • "Beyond Mobutu: The opposition and the struggle for democracy in Zaire," Multiparty Democracy and Political Change: Constraints to Democratization in Africa (Julius Ihonvbere & John Mukum Mbaku, Eds.). Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, Inc. (2006)
  • Explaining the Failure of Democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo: Autocracy and an Ambivalent World, Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press (2005)
  • Sustainable Development in Africa: Multifaceted Challenge, Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press (2005)
  • "The United Nations security council reform: A critical examination of enlargement options," Journal of Third World Studies18(2), (2001)
  • "U.S. foreign policy and authoritarian regimes: Change and continuity in international clientelism," Journal of Third World Studies17(2), (2000)
  • "The politics of democratic transition in Congo-Zaire: Implications of the Kabila revolution," Journal of Conflict Studies, 19(2), (1999)
  • "Balance of power and northern hegemony in Nigerian political discourse: Implications of southern responses to the Abacha dictatorship," Journal of Nigerian Affairs, 8(2), (1999)