I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Government at the College of William and Mary as well as the Director of the Center for African Development (CAD) at the Institute for the Theory and Practice of International Relations (ITPIR) at W&M.

My research and teaching offer new perspectives on conflict, state-building, and development, with a focus on the region of sub-Saharan Africa, where I have conducted extensive field research.


I have written two books. The first, Ethnic Politics and State Power in Africa: The Logic of the Coup-Civil War Trap, is published by Cambridge University Press (2016). (For book overview and highlights.) The second book, co-authored with Harry Verhoeven of Georgetown University-SFSQ, Why Comrades Go To War: Liberation Politics and the Outbreak of Africa’s Deadliest Conflict, is now out with Hurst Publishers/Oxford University Press. (For book overview and highlights.)

Existing research projects address other big questions in the study of development, conflict and state-building, including: the effects of the mobile phone revolution on use of digital financial services and women’s empowermentthe causes and consequences of spatial inequality in Africathe impact of Chinese investment and development projects on state capacity and legitimacy; and the micro-level consequences of state partition.

My research has been funded by Innovations for Poverty Action, the National Science Foundation Political Science Program, the British Academy, the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the Institute of International Education and United States Agency for International Development and been published in or is forthcoming in International OrganizationWorld PoliticsJournal of Politics, the American Journal of Political Science, Comparative Politics and other outlets.