The Dominique Jacquin-Berdal Travel Grant was established by the International Relations Department at the LSE in memory of Dr Dominique Jacquin-Berdal who was a lecturer in the Department from 1999 until her death in 2006. She taught on nationalism and Africa as well as in the field of international relations theory. Her most well-known publication is Nationalism and Ethnicity in the Horn of Africa published in 2002. Her colleague James Mayall wrote an obituary in The Guardian, plus a longer piece in the IR Department journal Millennium.
The annual grant of £2,500 is intended to support travel and living costs for IR Department students’ research in the fields of Africa, ethnicity and nationalism. The 2017 grant holder is Ilari Aula and he gives his reactions, plus details of his project, below.
“I am extremely grateful and honoured for this choice. Conducting fieldwork in DR Congo and Nigeria later this year would be impossible without the Grant. Dr Jacquin-Berdal was passionate about connecting international relations theory with empirical analysis. To me, such footsteps are especially inspirational, and I will do my very best to follow her example in my own journey.”
Thesis Title: ‘Bloody hands, dirty ethics? Consumer responsibility and armed conflicts in DR Congo and Nigeria’
Ilari explores one of the central concepts in the field of International Relations, responsibility, and the challenges that globalisation of production poses to its conventional understandings. Activists and academics alike have highlighted the way how powerful collective agents, such as states, corporations and INGOs, increasingly govern global supply chains together. Ilari’s thesis explores whether as disparate a group as consumers in industrialised democracies bears an obligation to act upon harms that occur abroad as commodities are produced to serve their needs. As its original contribution, the work builds a pragmatist variant of the capacity principle of responsibility, which is substantiated by a close study on consumers’ capacity to alleviate recurrent armed conflicts in the DR Congo and Nigeria, two countries exporting raw materials essential for many modern industries. Ilari’s work strives to bridge together the subdisciplines of International Political Economy and International Relations Theory.