Nicholas Sambanis named the Kalsi Family Professor of Political Science

Sambanis’s work has re-shaped how scholars conceive of inter-group conflicts, ranging from everyday forms of discrimination to violent protests and civil wars.
Nicholas Sambanis
Nicholas Sambanis

Nicholas Sambanis, whose field-defining work has re-shaped how scholars conceive of inter-group conflicts, ranging from everyday forms of discrimination to violent protests and civil wars, has been appointed the Kalsi Family Professor of Political Science.

He joined Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), in the Department of Political Science, on July 1.

Sambanis came to Yale from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the Presidential Distinguished Professor of Political Science. He previously was the Philip R. Allen Professor of Political Science at Yale. A graduate of Middlebury College, he earned an M.A. from Johns Hopkins University and his Ph.D. in international affairs from Princeton University.

He is the co-author of six books, including “Making War and Building Peace,” the first quantitative analysis of the effectiveness of United Nations peacekeeping operations after civil war, and “Breaking the Conflict Trap: Civil War and Development Policy,” a book that launched a large research agenda on the economics of political violence. He has published dozens of papers in top journals, and has authored policy reports for the World Bank and Economic Research forum. He also collaborated on the first multi-country mixed-method (“nested”) research project exploring causes of civil war in a two-volume book, “Understanding Civil War: Evidence and Analysis.” A contributor to the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Foreign Affairs, Sambanis is shaping discourse on conflict both within and beyond academia.

At Penn, Sambanis co-founded the Identity & Conflict Lab, an inter-disciplinary initiative addressing a broad range of topics related to inter-group conflict, including the effects of external intervention on peace-building after ethnic war; the analysis of violent escalation of separatist movements; conflict between native and immigrant populations; strategies to mitigate bias and discrimination against minority groups; and the impact of peer groups on the formation of policy preferences.

Sambanis approaches these questions with a focus on the connection between identity politics and conflict processes drawing on social psychology, behavioral economics, and the comparative politics and international relations literatures in political science. His work has been supported by major grants from the National Science Foundation, the World Bank, and other institutions, and has been recognized with numerous awards and fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson International Center, the Mellon Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, and other organizations.

Sambanis teaches undergraduate and graduate-level courses on ethnic conflict, civil war, nationalism, international relations, and political boundaries, as well as core research and writing methodology courses. He serves on the editorial board for American Political Science Review, is a senior fellow of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy, and plays a critical role in defining the global agenda of his area of study.

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