Daniel Douek

Academic title(s): 

Faculty Lecturer

Daniel Douek
Contact Information

855 Sherbrooke St. W.
Montreal, Quebec
H3A 2T7

Email address: 
daniel.douek [at] mcgill.ca
Ferrier 460

PhD, McGill University

Research areas: 
Comparative Government and Politics
International Relations

Daniel Douek joined the Department as Faculty Lecturer in 2019. His teaching focuses on International Relations and Comparative Politics in Africa and the Middle East, and on civil wars and political violence. He is passionate about researching rebel movements and state security forces in Southern Africa, especially during transitions from colonialism to independence.

Douek has written extensively about the African National Congress’ armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe. His research has shed new light on the assassinations of Mozambican president Samora Machel and South African rebel leader Chris Hani. Douek’s first book, Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in South Africa, was published in 2020 (London: Hurst Publishers). In African Studies Review, veteran Southern Africa researcher, William Minter, wrote that among numerous recent works on the late-apartheid era and its legacies, Douek’s book “stands out for its sustained investigation of how South African counterinsurgency forces secretly and systematically fostered violence during the transition and in that way shaped the contours of the new government and society.”

Allen Isaacman, Regents Professor, University of Minnesota and Extraordinary Professor, University of Western Cape, wrote of the book:

Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in South Africa makes an extremely significant contribution to our knowledge of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK),the armed wing of the African National Congress ( ANC) and the efforts of the apartheid regime to eliminate, or at least contain, the guerrillas. Douek's study is meticulously researched, carefully crafted and well-written. It is a pioneering work that documents the live experiences of members of MK and the contradictions, internal conflicts and physical and emotional challenges many of its members faced as well their awareness that they have been consigned to the shadows of history. Douek stresses in the Introduction that "most of the ex-guerrillas told me I was the first researcher of any kind to ask them about their experiences in the armed struggle"(p.25).

But this is more than a study of the shadow war between the apartheid security apparatus and MK. He also explores the efforts of senior members of the military and police to marginalize MK in the post-apartheid era and the negative consequences in terms of post-transitional violence and the preservation of law and order after the ANC came to power. The study concludes with a thoughtful comparative analysis of how authoritarian security apparati in countries as diverse as Algeria and El Salvador have stifled democratic reform."

In 2020, Douek won the Principal’s Prize for Excellence in Teaching at McGill. He also won the President’s Excellence in Teaching Award at Concordia University in 2016.

Please note that Professor Douek teaches at the Undergraduate level only and does not teach or supervise graduate students.

Areas of interest: 

African Politics, Middle East Politics, Civil Wars, Political Violence, Democratic Transitions

Faculty Lecturer
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