My research focuses on the politics of armed conflict, conflict resolution, state-building and institutional change in fragile states. I bridge academic scholarship with practice.
I am an Academy Scholar at the Harvard Academy of International and Area Studies at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University and an Assistant Professor of Politics and Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame. At Notre Dame, I am core faculty at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies and the Keough School of Global Affairs, a faculty fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies and hold a concurrent appointment in the Department of Political Science. I completed my Ph.D. in Political Science at Northwestern University in 2017.
My research examines dynamics of rebel organization, how armed groups engage with pre-existing state institutions, and how rebel-brokered institutional change shapes post-conflict political order. My primary area of focus is central Africa, where I have spent four years in the Democratic Republic of the Congo studying conflict, as well as seven months' field research in Kenya, focused on vigilante enforcement of informal housing rights in urban areas.
My work has been published in International Organization, African Affairs, Comparative Political Studies, and with an edited volume organized by the Wilson International Center for Scholars. My research has been sponsored by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Award, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
I connect research findings to policymakers and practioners through appointments as a Conflict Expert with the United Nations Secretary-General, Office of the Special Envoy to the African Great Lakes Mission, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the UN mission in DR Congo. Too often, research in conflict settings and fragile states turns in to its own extractive industry. I aim for engaged scholarship that partners with African scholars and researchers to addresses issues of core concern for local communities. Building a knowledge base that incorporates feedback and dialogue with local researchers, journalists, and mamas in markets also uncovers surprising findings for seminal questions of political science. I do so through teaching at local universities in Congo and participation in Africa-based conferences such as the American Political Science Association Africa Workshop.