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Fostering interdisciplinary research and debate

Faculty clusters foster the sharing of research and ideas across scholarly domains at the School of International Service. Clusters build on faculty strengths and serve as catalysts for cross-field dialogue and debate. Find recordings of select cluster events on SIS-OR's YouTube channel (CC'd).


This cluster focuses on the African continent. But while this narrowly refers to a geographical region, we collectively and more broadly interrogate the idea of Africa as it is sometimes (mis)construed in policy planning and the popular imagination. This includes discussions of colonialism as a critical juncture, or an event in a longer, more continuous historical experience of coercion or violence.

Lead Faculty: Ernest Ogbozor

Members: Susanna Campbell, Dylan Craig, Lauren Carruth, Daniel Esser, Gina Lambright, Adrienne LeBas*, Carl LeVan, Jordanna Matlon, Naomi Moland, Kwaku Nuamah, Rachel Sullivan Robinson, Lauren Sinclair, Megan Stewart, Nina Yamanis

America & the World

The America and the World research cluster brings together scholars who focus on the history of America’s relations with the world, changing US foreign policy institutions and processes, US relations with particular countries and regions, and US national security policies.

Lead Faculty: Joshua Rovner & Sharon Weiner

Members: Amitav Acharya, Phil Brenner, James Bryan, Elizabeth Cohn, Michelle Egan, Max Paul Friedman, Matthew Hartwell, Ji-Young Lee, Jong Eun Lee, Garret Martin, David Mislan, Shoon Murray, Eric Novotny, Randy Persaud, Sarah Snyder, Jordan Tama, Stephen Tankel, Elizabeth Thompson, Matthew Timmerman, Guy Ziv

Complex Governance

The Complex Governance cluster brings together SIS faculty and Ph.D. students who share research interests in new forms of governance — novel in both actors and processes as well as spanning multiple levels (global, regional, national, subnational). The disciplinary range of the cluster is wide, spanning anthropology, sociology, history, and political science.

Lead Faculty: Adam Auerbach

Members: Mayesha Alam, Susanna Campbell, Derrick Cogburn, Ken Conca, Arunjana Das, Todd Eisenstadt*, Jonathan Fox, Agustina Giraudy, Shagun Gupta, Tamar Gutner, Randall Henning, Eric Hershberg*, Bryan Hickel, Eunbi Jung, Miles Kahler, Min Jung Kim, Adrienne LeBas*, Nanette Levinson, Garret Martin, Sahil Mathur, Dilan Okcuoglu, Malini Ranganathan, Rachel Sullivan Robinson, Chris Rudolph, Cherie Saulter, Michael Schroeder, Susan Shepler, Jeremy Shiffman*, Stephen Silvia, Sarah Snyder, Megan A. Stewart, Jordan Tama, Kimberly Tower, Matthew Taylor, Yang Zhang

Ethnographies of Empire

The Ethnographies of Empire Research Cluster provides an intellectual space for SIS scholars whose work uses ethnography, critical theory, and historical research to interrogate structures of domination rooted in historical legacies and contemporary iterations of “empire,” broadly conceived. We use the term “empire” to refer to exploitative economic orders and manifestations of power in rule and sovereignty. We explore how empire is historically and geographically situated, and ways it organizes material and social difference.

Lead Faculty: T. Garrett Graddy-Lovelace and Jordanna Matlon

Members: Marcelo Bohrt, Robin Broad, Lauren Carruth, Christine Chin, Elizabeth Cohn, Erin Collins, Ken Conca, Maria de Jesus, Daniel Esser, Julia Fischer-Mackey, Anthony Fontes, Jonathan Fox, Scott Freeman, Carole Gallaher, Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, Anne Kantel, Nanette Levinson, Veronica Limeberry, James Mittelman, Shadi Mokhtari, Mirjana Morosini, Randolph Persaud, Malini Ranganathan, Cathy Schneider, Susan Shepler, Rose Shinko, Stephen Silvia, Maina Chawla Singh, Sarah Snyder, Amanda Taylor, J. Ann Tickner, Kimberly Tower, Sharon Weiner, Wanda Wigfall-Williams, Yang Zhang

Spring 2022

  • Megan Shanks, SIS PhD student
  • EOE 2021 Symposium - Indigenous Soverignties: Unraveling Empire for Climate Justice 
    • Professor Moreton-Robinson; The University of Queensland,
    • Goenpul woman of the Quandoamooka people,
    • Kayla Marin: artist, filmmaker, musician, activist, Garifuna diaspora in Turtle Island,
    • Professor Clint Carroll: The University of Colorado, Denver, Cherokee Nation,
    • Veronica Limeberry: AU SIS PhD candidate, scholar-activisim with and from Eastern Cherokee Band communities.
  • Eve Darian Smith, Global Burning
  • Maliha Chishti, University of Chicago - How NOT to Intervene: Gender, Imperialism and Foreign Aid in Afghanistan & Beyond
  • Book Talk - Global Race War: International Politics and Racial Hierarchy, by Alexander Barder, Florida International University, with Shiera Malik, DePaul University.

Fall 2021

Summer 2021

  • Disparity to Parity: Economic Justice and Agricultural Policy - This panel dove into the fundamental cost-price squeeze, debt, and concentration at the heart of the dominant agricultural political economy. As part of the year-long Disparity to Parity webinar series, this event gathers practitioners and analysts to unpack the economic inequities--and economic justice potential--of farm policy. EOE Faculty Lead and SIS professor Garrett Graddy-Lovelace and National Family Farm Coalition president Jim Goodman welcome several experts for this interesting conversation, including:
    • Jose Oliva , campaigns director, HEAL Food Alliance
    • Patty Lovera, policy director, Organic Farmers Association
    • Ken Meter, director, Crossroads Resources Center; author of Building Community Food Webs
    • Siena Chrisman, communications advisor, National Family Farm Coalition, and
    • civil rights activist and community organizer Dolores Huerta, the president and founder of the Dolores Huerta Foundation, addresses the group.
  • SIS Global to Local: Sustainable Agriculture through a Justice Lens - During this panel discussion, EOE Faculty Lead and SIS professor Garrett Graddy-Lovelace discuss sustainable agriculture through a justice and equity lens. The panelists discuss issues of race, gender, socio-economic status, and more and how they intersect with the field of sustainable agriculture. Panelists represent the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture, Aranya Agricultural Alternatives, and the Slow Food movement.
  • History of Ag Parity
  • Summer 2021 Book Club - Worldmaking After Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination, by Adom Getachew
  • Summer 2021 Book Club - As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance, by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

Spring 2021

  • Horace Bartilow, SIS, Formerly of the University of Kentucky - Drug War Capitalism: Corporate Power, Capital Accumulation in US Drug Enforcement Policy Making
  • Walter Rodney and the Struggle for Global Justice - with,
    • Randolph Persaud, SIS,
    • Patricia Rodney, Morehouse School of Medicine, The Walter Rodney Foundation, and Partner in Health, Education, and Development,
    • Robbie Shilliam, Johns Hopkins University
  • EOE 2021 Spring Symposium: Theory, Method, and Praxis from the Afro-Caribbean: Centering Black Radical Traditions, with:
    • Saudi Garcia, New York University,
    • Jovan Lewis, University of California, Berkeley.
    • Ricarda Hammer, Brown University
    • Percy Hintzen, Florida International University
    • Patricia Rodney, Walter Rodney Foundation
  • India Farmers Uprising: Tipping Point for International Ag Policy?, with: 
    • Devinder Sharma, India’s leading ag & food policy expert
    • Indra Shekhar Singh, policy expert, former Policy & Outreach Director, National Seed Association of India
      and Discussants:Adam Jadhav, Daljit Soni, Shiney Varghese, Veronica Limeberry, Kanika Varma
      Moderated by: Garrett Graddy-Lovelace, AU SIS & Disparity to Parity

Fall 2020

  • Naomi Hossain, Accountability Research Center - Bare life in 1970’s Bangladesh: The Storm, the Beatle and Henry Kissinger
  • Melchor Quick-Hall, Fielding Graduate School - Transnational Black Feminism
  • Authoritarianism, Populism & Emanipatory Rural Politics in the US & Beyond - A special event highlighting a special issue of the Journal of Rural Studies.

Spring 2020

  • 2020 Spring Symposium: Robbie Shilliam, Johns Hopkins University - The Past and Present of Abolition: Reassessing Adam Smith’s ‘Liberal Reward of Labor’
  • Carl LeVan, SIS - Liberal Visions of Multiculturalism and Majoritarianism
  • Robin Broad, SIS - Water or Gold?: How El Salvador became the first country to ban metals and lessons for other countries.

Spring 2019

  • 2019 Spring Symposium: Sharmila Rudrappa, University of Texas - Austin - Discounted Life: The Price of Global Surrogacy in India
  • Lauren Carruth, SIS - Using Ethnography to Question the Categories and Clinical Treatments of Diabetes in the Horn of Africa
  • Yang Zhang, SIS - Rhythm of Revolt: Religion, Ethnicity, and Rebellions in Mid-19th Century China
  • Saher Selod, Simmons University - Forever Suspect: Racialized Surveillance of Muslim Americans in the War on Terror
  • Guadalupe Correa-Cabrera, George Mason University - Ethnographies of Transnational Criminal Corporations: Los Zetas Case

Fall 2018

  • Julia Fischer-Mackey, SIS - Is Research Useful for Practice? Perspectives of Ugandan Development Practitioners on the Usefulness of Research
  • David Vine, American University - State of War: US Empire and Military Bases Abroad from Columbus to ISIS
  • Garrett Graddy-Lovelace, SIS - The Secret Old Crisis of Surplus: 20th Century Geopolitics of U.S. Agricultural Governance, Gain & Glut
  • Alexander White, Johns Hopkins University - Imperial Transformations and Racial Orders: The World Health Organization and the Management of Infectious Disease

Spring 2018

  • Garrett Graddy-Lovelace, Betsy Cohn, Jim Mittelman, Randy Persaud, Malini Ranganathan, David Vine, and Wanda Wigfall-Williams, with CTRL -Canons Under Fire: Struggles in Decolonizing University Curriculum
  • Francisco Cantu - The US/Mexico Border: Psychogeography, Violence, and Rhetoric

Fall 2017

  • Fall Symposium: with Janet Roitman, The New School

Global Economy & Development

Centered around a weekly seminar, the cluster has established itself as an intellectual fixture for the presentation and discussion of high-quality academic research on policy relevant issues relating to the global economy and economic development. Previous speakers have been drawn from local academic institutions and places like the World Bank, the IMF, the Federal Reserve and the Census Bureau.

Lead Faculty: Austin Davis

Members: Adam Auerbach, Daniel Bernhofen, Robert Blecker*, Claire Brunel, Susanna Campbell, Boris Gershman*, Austin Hart, John Heath, Gregory Lane*, Gabriel Mathy*, Stefanie Onder, Walter Park*, Jennifer Poole, Stephen Silvia, David Simpson

Spring 2021

  • Stefanie Onder, SIS, Harun Onder, Emma Smith - It's About Time: When Do Conflicts Displace People?
  • Marko Klasnja, Georgetown University, Lucia Motolinia, Simon Weschle - Campaign Finance Rules and Politician Wealth
  • Desha Girod, Georgetown University - Aid in a Time of Terror
  • Lutz Sager, Georgetown University - The Global Consumer Incidence of Carbon Pricing: Evidence from Trade
  • Marc Hafstead, Resources for the Future - Carbon Prices vs Carbon Intensity Standards to Reduce US CO2 Emissions: A Dynamic General Equilibrium Assessment
  • Sam Asher, Johns Hopkins, SAIS - Residential Segregation and Unequal Access to Public Goods in India
  • Gregory Lane, American University - Monitoring in Target Contracts" Theory and Experiment in Kenyan Public Transit
  • John C. Brown, Clark University - Testing the Invisible Hand

Fall 2020

  • C. Austin Davis, SIS - Labor in the Time of Zika: Childbirth and the Gender Gap in Brazil
  • Claire Brunel, SIS - Out of the Frying Pan: Climate Change and Internal Migration in Brazil
  • Jennifer Poole, SIS - Connect and Protect: The Role of Trade, Technology, and Labor Practices on Informality

Fall 2019

  • Kenneth Gillingham, Yale University - US Tariffs and Chinese Solar Panel Imports
  • Yang Zhang, SIS - Alliance in Action: Elite Networks and Political Alignment in China's Reform Era
  • David Simpson, SIS - Evaluating the Cost-Effectiveness of Nature-Based Solutions for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation
  • Maurice Kugler, George Mason University - School Vouchers, Labor Markets, and Vocational Education

Spring 2019

  • Shushanik Hakobyan, International Monetary Fund - Local-Labor-Market Effects of NAFTA: The Other Shoe Drops
  • Jennifer Poole, American University, SIS - How are Firms Organized? A Descriptive Analysis of Establishment Networks
  • Megan Stewart, American University, SIS - Statebuilding, Social Order and Violence: Evidence from US Reconstruction
  • Jonathan Timmis, OECD - Capital Incentives and Digital Diffusion
  • Raphael Calel, Georgetown University - Do Pollution Offsets Offset Pollution? Evidence from the Indian wind power sector
  • Adrienne LeBas, American University - Tax Appeals and Voluntary Compliance: A Field Experiment in Lagos, Nigeria
  • Joshua Linn, Resources For the Future - Pass-Through and Welfare Effects of Regulations that Affect Product Attributes
  • Emily Sellars, Yale University - Does Emigration Inhibit Reform? Evidence from Mexico

Fall 2018

  • Paulo Bastos, World Bank - Resource Rents, Coercion and Local Development: Evidence from post-Apartheid South Africa
  • Jessica Goldberg, University of Maryland - Incentives for Patients and Referrals for TB Treatment: A Randomized Field Experiment in India
  • David McKenzie, World Bank - Testing Classic Migration Theories in the Lab
  • Gabriel Mathy, American University - Bad Luck or Bad Workers? A View of the Long-term Unemployed in the Great Depression through Matched Census Records
  • Sandip Sukhtankar, University of Virginia - Authentication and Targeted Transfers
  • Susanna Campbell, American University, SIS - Buying Influence: A survey experiment on the logic of aid allocation in conflict-affected countries

Spring 2018

  • Justin Pierce, Federal Reserve Board - Trade Liberalization and Mortality: Evidence from U.S. Counties
  • Mariano Bosch, IADB - The Effect of Welfare Payments on Work in a Middle-Income Country
  • Nathan Lane, MIT - The Historical State, Local Collective Action, and Economic Development in Vietnam
  • Ferdinando Monte, Georgetown University - The Geography of Consumption
  • Mary Lovely, Syracuse University - Techno-industrial FDI Policies and China’s Export Surge
  • Erhan Artuc, World Bank - Automation, Technology, and Geography: The Impact on Trade
  • Nina Yamanis, American University, SIS - Using Social Network Analysis to Evaluate Health Behavior Change During a Randomized Controlled Trial in Tanzania

Fall 2017

  • Jessica Leight, American University - Trade Liberalization and Local Labor Market Adjustment in South Africa
  • Special Session on The Reformation, Institutional Change and State Capacity
    • Noel Johnson, George Mason University - The idea of religious freedom, state capacity and the reformation
    • Ralf Meisenzahl, Federal Reserve - Beyond religious renewal: reformation law, public goods provision and economic growth
    • Sigrun Kahl, Princeton University - The politics of salvation: the reformation and modern welfare reform
  • Kerem Kosar, University of Virginia - Trade, merchants and lost cities of the Bronze age
  • Austin Hart, American University, SIS - Getting the signal? Irrelevant information and the challenge of democratic accountability
  • Rodney Ludema, Georgetown University -The Sword and the Shield: The Economics of Targeted Sanctions
  • Tim Schmidt-Eisenlohr, Federal Reserve - Learning and the value of trade relationships
  • Florence Jaumotte, International Monetary Fund - Impact of Migration on Income Levels in Advanced Economies
  • Joana Silva, World Bank - The Impact of International Trade on the Composition of Employment in Brazilian Manufacturing Firms
  • Fariha Kamal, U.S. Census Bureau - Recall and Response: Transaction-Level Impact of Supply-Chain Disruptions

Spring 2017

  • Markus Eberhardt, University of Nottingham - Sources of Market Disintegration in 18th century China
  • Boris Gershman, American University - Subnational Diversity in Sub-Saharan Africa: Insights from a New Dataset
  • Andrew McCallum, Federal Reserve Board of Governors - Goods-market Frictions and International Trade
  • Christy Zhou, Resources for the Future - How Much Do New Vehicle Consumers Value Fuel Economy and Performance? New Estimates and Implications for the Energy Efficiency Gap
  • Remi Jedwab, George Washington University - Economic Shocks, Inter-Ethnic Complementarities and the Persecution of Minorities: Evidence from the Black Death
  • Heiwai Tang, Johns Hopkins University, SAIS - Do Multinationals Transfer Culture? Evidence on Female Employment in China

Historical International Studies

The Historical International Studies (HIS) research cluster was founded in order to build an intellectual community among SIS scholars who use historical methods to interrogate economic, political, social structures and changes on the cross-national, transnational, and international levels. As SIS scholars have increasingly come to apply a historical lens to their field, the time was ripe to share our insights in an interdisciplinary forum.

Lead Faculty: Elizabeth Thompson and Ji-young Lee

Members: Sarah Snyder, Erin Collins, Keith Darden, Carolyn A. Gallaher, Patrick Thaddeus Jackcson, Garret Martin, Randolph Persuad, Mirjana Morosini, Malini Ranganathan, James Mittleman, Daniel Bernhofen, Robert Kelley, Stephen Silvia, J. Ann Tickner, Daniel E. Esser, Jordanna Malton, Max Friedman, Boaz Atzili, Jordan Tama, Marcelo Bohrt, Robert Adcock, Anthony Wanis-St.John, Amitav Acharya, Garrett Graddy-Lovelace, Pedram Partovi, Elke Stockreiter, Lisa Leff, Philip J. Brenner, Akbar Ahmed, Joseph Torigian, Adrienne LeBas, David Vine, Ernesto Castenda, Miles Kahler, Cathy Schneider, Yang Zhang

Political Violence & Security

The Political Violence and Security cluster aims at bringing together faculty and PhD students with an intellectual and research focus on understanding the causes and consequences of violent political behavior of states, non-state actors, and individuals, across, between and within formal political boundaries. Our research seeks to understand political violence, security, and insecurity across a range of disciplines, approaches, regions, and levels of analysis.

Lead Faculty: Joseph Torigian

Members: Boaz Atzili, Laura Bosco, Chuck Call, Susanna Campbell, Audrey Kurth Cronin, Keith Darden, Lucas Dolan, Brandon Donelson-Smith, Eleni Ekmeksioglou, Tyler Evans, Yumna Fatima, Anthony Fontes, Jaclyn Fox, Carole Gallaher, Andrew Hagopian, Claudia Hofmann, Ben Jensen, Min Jung Kim, John King, Ji-Young Lee, Balazs Martonffy, Dave Ohls, Randy Persaud, Joshua Rovner, Cathy Schneider, Dan Schneider, Megan Stewart, Jordan Tama, Stephen Tankel, Sharon Weiner, Joe Young

* denotes non-SIS AU faculty