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Hali Cartee
IU East

Last modified: Wednesday, May 19, 2010

IU East sociologist researches civil strife, social change and land use

In recent video, Wazir Mohamed talks about civil strife in Guyana and land use patterns in both Guyana and Wayne County, Ind.

May 19, 2010

RICHMOND, Ind. -- Wazir Mohamed, assistant professor of sociology at Indiana University East, did not plan for his life to lean toward academics and research. Mohamed was born and raised in the 1950s in a rural village with 12 families in Guyana, on the northern coast of South America, where he was a rice farmer before he chose to pursue academics. He decided to go to college at the University of Guyana where he earned his Diploma in Public Communications and a bachelor's degree in communications.

Wazir Mohamed

Wazir Mohamed, a professor at IU East, researches land organization and commonality between farmers in his native Guyana and Wayne County, Ind.

A recent video has been published on the IU East YouTube Website featuring Mohamed's research and academic work. In the video, Mohamed recounts the civil strife between the Indo-Guyanese (East Indians) and the Afro-Guyanese (Africans).

"They were at each other's throat over the question about power. In my research, I was able to discover that actually the ethnic division that persists in my country has to do with the way that land is organized with colonial authorities."

The two ethnic groups have been the focus of Mohamed's research and he has found that conditions improve for farmers who own large tracts of land -- not only in Guyana but in Wayne County, Indiana.

Today, Mohamed is teaching classes with titles such as "Social Change," "The World at the Table" and "The Anthropology of Food." He said students in his classes have changed their eating habits once they learn the bad effects industrialized food has on their health with trying to eat organic and healthy foods.

"As a professor here, I'm bringing that experience. I'm trying to link theory with practice," Mohamed said. "I'm giving students an opportunity to see themselves as part of a world that is changing."

Mohamed received his M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the State University of New York at Binghamton. Prior to joining the faculty at IU East, Mohamed was an adjunct lecturer at Binghamton University.