I came to the University of Maryland after working in the field of international development, where I managed post-conflict, anti-corruption, and democratization programs across Africa and in Afghanistan. I am passionate about issues of political corruption, government dysfunction, and political conflict.

My dissertation research focuses on why African anti-corruption social movements respond to government corruption in such different ways, and I focus on how the types of corruption and the distribution of corrupt spoils shape contentious movement goals and coalitions. I am particularly fascinated by how different forms of corruption shape social and institutional trust, which affect citizen mobilization. My work is supervised by John McCauley, Mark Lichbach, and David Cunningham.

I have several articles under review that complement my dissertation, including work that looks at how government corruption shapes the conditions for social movement mobilization, the impact of corruption on future-oriented grievances (with Brandon Behlendorf), and the way in which uncertainty and trust shape violent escalation of peaceful protests (with Brandon Ives).

During my first three years at the University of Maryland, I conducted research for Paul Huth and Mark Lichbach on their forthcoming book. Over the past two years, I have taught classes in the Minor in International Development and Conflict Management program, where I have benefited from mentorship from Stacy Kosko and David Backer.

 

Areas of Interest

  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Conflict Processes
  • Social Movements & Contentious Politics
  • Corruption
  • Ethnicity
  • Institutions

Degrees

  • Degree Type
    MA
    Degree Details
    International Affairs & Public Policy - American University of Paris
  • Degree Type
    BA
    Degree Details
    Psychology - Hobart & William Smith Colleges

Awards

  • 2018-04-01
    BSOS Excellence in Teaching Award - Instructor

Conferences

  • “Whom to Trust? The Politics and Religious and Ethnic Trust in Africa,” with John F. McCauley, African Studies Association Annual Conference
  • “Distributions of Corruption and Trust Outcomes in Africa,” American Political Science Association Annual Conference
  • “Violations and Distributions: How Corruption Affects Trust in Africa,” International Society for Political Psychology Annual Conference
  • “Contentious Responses to Corruption in Africa,” International Studies Association Annual Conference
  • “Structures of Governance and Corruption,” Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa Annual Conference
  • “Ethnic Marginalization and Perceptions of Corruption,” International Society for Political Psychology Annual Conference
  • “Ethnic Marginalization and Perceptions of Corruption,” Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference
  • “Mobilizing Voice or Violence? Mapping Corruption, Contention, and Terror in Africa”, Midwest Political Science Association Annual Conference
  • “Revisiting the Neopatrimonial State: Rules, Institutions, and Democratic Transition”, Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa Annual Conference

Research

  • I research dynamic conflict processes, including violent conflict as well as contentious politics in Africa. I am interested in how government dysfunction shapes contention.
  • I also focus closely on why different types of corruption matter. In doing so, I focus on the normative violations of each corrupt act, as well as the distributions of corrupt spoils.
  • I work primarily with geospatial and quantitative analysis, experimental methods, and qualitative field work.

Research Topics

  • Comparative Politics
  • International Relations
Jacob Lewis Headshot
Tydings Hall 5107
Government and Politics Department
Email
jslewis [at] umd.edu
Office Hours
By Appointment