Bill W. Hansen


Assistant Professor and Chair, International and Comparative Politics
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Bill (William W.) Hansen was born and raised in the American Midwest in Cincinnati, Ohio. Hansen was educated at the University of Maryland (US), the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies (UK), the University of Leipzig (Germany) and Boston University (US). He has taught at universities in North America, Western Europe, Central Asia and West Africa. Currently, chair for the second time of the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), Hansen was also the founding chair in 2005. He is the first faculty member at AUN and has been here for all of its thirteen years.

Hansen is either the author or editor of three books; two smaller works on Frantz Fanon and the third, a co-edited volume, on the Soviet Bloc and the Third World. He currently is writing a book (contract with Africa World Press, USA) on Boko Haram tentatively Parasites, Predators and Terrorists: The Nigerian State and the Pursuit of Boko Haram.

Over the past five years Hansen has published five articles on Boko Haram in prestigious journals such as the Canadian Journal of African Studies, the Journal of Asian and African Studies and Perspectives on Terrorism. He is widely regarded as an expert on Boko Haram and the insurgency in northeast Nigeria. As such he is regularly asked to review books and to do peer reviews for leading international scholarly journals on subjects having to do with the Boko Haram insurgency.

Hansen’s areas of research are: comparative politics, insurgencies and revolutions, the political thought of Frantz Fanon, the post-colonial state, Boko Haram, socialism, nationalism, race and ethnicity. He teaches courses on these subjects as well as on Democracy in Africa, South African Politics and American Politics.

Prior to becoming an academic, Hansen was a civil rights activist, Freedom Rider and labor organizer in the United States. As an organizer for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), an American civil rights organization in the sixties, he was arrested 45 times for political offenses protesting racism and organizing black voter registration campaigns. On several occasions Hansen was beaten severely (broken jaw, broken ribs, hospitalization) and shot at. Two of his arrests were with Martin Luther King, Jr, a personal friend before his own assassination. Hansen was the founding director of SNCC’s Arkansas Project.

Hansen is divorced with three grown children. Since coming to Nigeria in 2005 he has adopted four Nigerian children; 3 boys and a girl.