I am an Assistant Professor of Justice and Rule of Law at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies on the National Defense University campus. Previously, I was an Advisor in the Research, Evaluation, and Learning Division of the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative. A West and Central Africa specialist fluent in French and proficient in Wolof, I also write and consult about regional rule of law, democracy, and governance issues. I have been a Penn Kemble Democracy Forum Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy, a Mellon/American Council of Learned Societies Public Fellow, a Postdoctoral Fellow at Washington University in St. Louis, and a West Africa Research Association Postdoctoral Grantee.
I hold a Ph.D. (2014) from Harvard University in the Department of Government, where I was an interdisciplinary Graduate Student Associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs as well as a Harvard Sciences-Po Exchange Fellow. Previously, as a Fulbright Scholar, I earned a post-Graduate Certificate in International Politics from the Université Libre de Bruxelles (2007), with a specialization in “Europe, Conflict Resolution, and Peacebuilding.” I have a B.A. summa cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis (2006).
As a practitioner, I analyze post-conflict security and justice, citizen and community security, security governance, transnational organized crime, legal aid and paralegalism, sexual and gender-based violence prevention, countering violent extremism, and civil society capacity-building. Monitoring, evaluation, and learning is an additional specialty. This work has afforded me experience in Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and South Africa.
My academic work is on the comparative politics of Africa, especially party building, democratization, and Islam in politics, with a focus on Senegal, where I spent eighteen months conducting fieldwork for my book, Party Proliferation and Political Contestation in Africa: Senegal in Comparative Perspective (2019, Palgrave Macmillan). Fieldwork and language acquisition have deeply informed my teaching, most recently as a West Africa Course Coordinator at the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute, and previously as the leader of advanced undergraduate courses of my own design at Washington University of St. Louis and as a teaching assistant at Harvard University.
My research has been supported by two U.S. Department of Education Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowships, the West Africa Research Association, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, and the American Political Science Association (APSA) Africa Workshop. My work has appeared in Comparative Politics, Journal of Democracy, Journal of Religious and Political Practice, as American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative Issue Papers, and on the blogs of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Monkey Cage at The Washington Post, the Social Science Research Council, and the American Evaluation Association.