Janet I. Lewis


I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at George Washington University in Washington, DC. Previously, I was Assistant Professor of Political Science at the United States Naval Academy. My research and teaching focus on political violence, ethnic conflict, and state formation, with an emphasis on Sub-Saharan Africa. I completed my Ph.D. in the Department of Government at Harvard University.

My current book project 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 others fail early on. It focuses on Ugandan rebel groups and involved extensive fieldwork 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.

In other projects, I examine how ethnicity and rumors relate to social networks in rural areas, and the logic of how states structure their subnational administrative units (such as districts). Please see my research page for other projects and links to my papers.

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 earned my M.A. in International Policy Studies and a B.A. with Honors in Political Science from Stanford University.