Janet I. Lewis

Janet I. Lewis is Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University. Her research examines political violence, intergroup conflict, social networks, and state formation, with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa.

Her book How Insurgency Begins: Rebel Group Formation in Uganda and Beyond won three awards for Best Book of the year: from the International Studies Association, the Conflict Research Society, and the African Politics section of the American Political Science Association (APSA). It also received an Honorable Mention from the Qualitative and Mixed Methods section of APSA. It seeks to understand why only some nascent rebel groups become viable challengers to states, while others fail early on.

Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the H.F. Guggenheim Foundation, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Smith Richardson Foundation, and the Minerva Research Initiative. It integrates methods from qualitative fieldwork to statistical methods and field experiments. Recent projects are published in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, British Journal of Political Science, Comparative Political Studies, and International Organization, among others, and several won best article awards.

Since May 2023, she also serves as Associate Editor at Security Studies.

Previously, she was Assistant Professor of Political Science at the United States Naval Academy. She has also held fellowships at Harvard University’s College Fellows Program and Yale University’s Program on Order, Conflict and Violence (OCV). Outside academia, she has 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).

She completed her Ph.D. and M.A. in Government at Harvard University, and earned an M.A. in International Policy Studies and a B.A. with Honors in Political Science at Stanford University.