Yolande Bouka

Yolande Bouka

Assistant Professor


PhD (American University); MA (Seton Hall University)

Political Studies

International Relations, Gender and Politics

Assistant Professor

People Directory Affiliation Category

Research Interests

Gender and security, African politics and security, International Relations, non-state armed groups, political violence, decoloniality


Yolande Bouka (Ph.D. American University) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Studies at Queen’s University. Her research and teaching focus on gender, African politics and security, political violence, and field research ethics in conflict-affected societies. She holds a Ph.D. in International Relations from American University.  Her current research is a multi-sited historical and political analysis of female combatants in Southern Africa. Her previous research which is now a book manuscript “In the Shadow of Prison: Power, Identity, and Transitional Justice in Post-Genocide Rwanda” focused on the social and political impacts of the power-laden nature of the Rwandan transitional justice program.  Her research has received support from the Fulbright Scholar Program and the American Association of University Women.  Prior to joining Queen’s University, she was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, and a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Denver.

In addition to her academic work, she has extensive experience with development and security research agencies.  She has worked with and offered support to USAID, the UK Department for International Development, the United Nations, the African Union, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the United States Institute of Peace. Between 2014 and 2016 she was a researcher at the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) in the Conflict Prevention and Risk Analysis Division in Nairobi, Kenya, where she led research on peace and security in Africa’s Great Lakes Region. She currently serves on the Research Advisory Council of the RESOLVE Network, a global consortium of researchers, research organizations, policymakers, and practitioners committed to empirically driven, locally-defined research on the drivers of violent extremism and sources of community resilience.


For detailed information about political studies courses and instructors, please refer to the Undergraduate and Graduate pages. 

Service (2023/2024)

  • Appointments Committee
  • Departmental Committee
  • Library Representative
  • Undergraduate Committee

Selected Publications

Refereed Journal Articles

“Barriers and Enablers of Women’s Political Participation in Kenya’s Devolved Political System.” 2019. Journal of Eastern African Studies 13(2): 313-333 (with Marie. Berry and Marilyn Muthoni Kamuru)

 “(Oral) History of Violence: Political Analysis of Conflicting Narratives.” 2013. Oral History Forum, 33, Special Issue: Confronting Mass Atrocities.

Book Chapters

“Burundi: Between War and Negative Peace” In War and Peace in the Great Lakes Region, edited by Gilbert Khadiagala. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).

“Nacibazo, No Problem: Journeying Beneath the Official Discourse of Post-Genocide Rwanda.” In Emotional and Ethical Challenges for Field Research in Africa: The Story Behind the Findings, edited by Susan Thomson, An Ansoms and Jude Murison. (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).

Policy Reports

"Strengthening the leadership and influence of women in politics in Kenya" DFID/EARF Report, 2017 (with Marie Berry and Muthoni Kamuru)

Missing the Target: The African Union’s Mediating Efforts in Burundi.” Africa Policy Brief, No 16. Egmont – Royal Institute for International Relations, 2016.

 “Gender Mainstreaming in the Military in Africa: Kenya Case Study” East Africa Report, Issue 7 Institute for Security Studies, 2016 (with Romi Sigsworth).

 “Analysing Post-Transition Violence in Burundi” Central Africa Report, Issue 6. Institute for Security Studies, 2016 (with Stephanie Wolters).

 “The Crisis in Burundi and the Apathy of International Politics” Heinrich Böll Foundation E-Paper, 2016 (with Nanjala Nyabola).

Status and Dynamics of Political Situation in Burundi” Central Africa Report, Issue 1. Institute for Security Studies, 2014.

Web-Based Publications and Op-Eds

Collaborative Research as Structural Violence.” Political Violence @ A Glance, July 2018.

 “Burundi Votes Tomorrow on Controversial Constitutional Amendments. A Lot Is at Stake.” With Sarah Jackson The Monkey Cage, May 2018.

Wakanda, Afrofuturism, and Decolonizing International Relations Scholarship.” Political Violence @ A Glance, February 2018.

  • 2019 Online Achievement In International Studies Best Blog Post

Kenyan Women Just Fought One of the Most Violent Campaigns in History.” Foreign Policy, August 2017(with Marie Berry & Marilyn Muthoni Kamuru).

The True Price of Nkurunziza's Third Term” ISS Today, August 2015.

 “How to Bring Burundi Back from the Brink of Violence” CNN International, May 15 2015.

Burundi Goes from Peacebuilding Success to Growing Mess” Africa is a Country, May 5, 2015.

A House Divided in Burundi: Rifts at the Heart of the Ruling Party” ISS Today, April 2015.

Rwanda: Twenty Years Later” ISS Today, April 9, 2014

Research Highlight with Yolande Bouka

Assistant Professor Yolande Bouka (International Relations/Gender and Politics) discusses her ongoing research.