Janet I. Lewis

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at George Washington University in Washington, DC. Previously, I was an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

My research centers on political violence, ethnic conflict, rural social networks, and state formation, with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. It integrates methods from qualitative fieldwork to statistical methods and field experiments. Recent projects have been published in American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, and International Organization, among others, and have won several major awards.

My book examines the initial stages of rebel group formation. Among other puzzles, it seeks to understand why only some nascent rebel groups become viable challengers to central governments, while many fail early on. It involved extensive interviews with former rebels, counterinsurgents, villagers and others throughout Uganda, including border regions with DRC, Kenya, and South Sudan. The project has been supported by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Smith Richardson Foundation, the Minerva Research Initiative, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and Harvard's Committee on African Studies.

Before coming to the U.S. Naval Academy, I held academic fellowships at Harvard’s Department of Government and Yale’s Program on Order, Conflict and Violence (OCV). I have also conducted research on U.S. stability operations, fragile states, and terrorist financing, respectively, for the RAND Corporation, the Brookings Institution, and the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO). Previously, I worked for several summers with youth leaders from the Middle East and Balkans at a conflict resolution program called Seeds of Peace.

I completed my Ph.D. in the Department of Government at Harvard University, and earned my M.A. in International Policy Studies and a B.A. with Honors in Political Science from Stanford University.