Chapman University associate professor of political science Crystal Murphy has been named a U.S. Fulbright Scholar for 2023-24. She will spend 10 months at Makerere University in Uganda completing a documentary that tracks the decades long movement for democracy in Sudan.
The Fulbright program is the U.S. government’s flagship program of international educational and cultural exchange, offering the opportunity to study, teach, conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to mutual understanding in more than 160 countries.
Murphy, Ph.D., originally intended to carry out her work in Sudan, but her plans were disrupted by the ongoing armed conflict in that country.
“I got the letter from Fulbright on April 13, and the war started on the 15th,” Murphy says.
She says Fulbright was wonderful in helping to find a new location to complete the fellowship, and Makerere is the perfect fit.
For Murphy, it would have been a “dream come true” to go back to Sudan, where she feels invested in the struggles to embrace democracy, but “this war is the worst nightmare anyone could dream of.”
Murphy, who teaches a course in the politics of humanitarianism at Chapman, began her own career in humanitarian work in Uganda, where she first noticed the mismatch between the foreign aid that was offered and the actual needs of the people there. Her research focuses on bridging that gap, and advancing the voices of people who are directly affected in policy decisions.
She says that many of her Sudanese collaborators have already relocated to Uganda, where they will be able to complete the film. She is thrilled to work with students and faculty in Makerere’s esteemed Political Science Department.
Murphy is the director of the MA in International Studies program in Wilkinson College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences.