APSA Research Partnerships on Critical Issues Research Grant 2021 Awardees

Susanna P. Campbell, American University (left) and Hilary Matfess, University of Denver (right)

APSA Research Partnerships on Critical Issues Research Grant 2021 Awardees:  Susanna Campbell and Hilary Matfess 

The American Political Science Association (APSA) Research Partnerships on Critical Issues (RPCI) research grant aims to deepen ties among political scientists, between political science and the public, and to strengthen the contributions of political science to the public good.  

Susanna P. Campbell (American University) and Hilary Matfess (University of Denver) have been awarded the 2021 RPCI award in the amount of $10,000 for “Aiding People: Non-State Armed Group Service-Delivery and Governance Patterns during the COVID-19 Pandemic.”  In collaboration with policymakers, Campbell and Matfess seek to analyze how non-state armed groups like gangs, rebel groups, and community militias play an important governance role in service provision and citizen policing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Anecdotal evidence ranging from Somalia, Nigeria and Brazil suggests that armed groups have established treatment centers, criticized state policy for being discriminatorily restrictive and have stepped up in response to the perceived inadequacy of the government’s response. While there are strikingly different approaches to this crisis– to date, no framework exists for understanding why this is.

By examining both the change in the pattern of violence and the nature of non-state governance associated with the 100 most active non-state armed groups, this work will be a critical tool for both the academic study of non-state governance and the legacies of political violence, as well as for policymakers and practitioners concerned with stabilization and peacebuilding efforts. Drawing not only on the Armed Conflict Location and Event Data Project (ACLED)’s tracking of political violence, but also on a diverse set of academic, journalistic, and policy reports on non-state actors’ activities during the pandemic. This project will produce a typology of non-state actors’ response to the crisis and host roundtables with practitioners to unpack implications for policy and development programming. 

Susanna P. Campbell, American University

Susanna P. Campbell is an Assistant Professor at the School of International Service and Director of the Research on International Policy Implementation Lab (RIPIL) at American University. Her research examines interactions between international actors and fragile and conflict-affected states, addressing debates in the statebuilding, peacebuilding, peacekeeping, international aid, and global governance literatures. She uses mixed-method research designs and has conducted extensive fieldwork in conflict-affected countries, including Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nepal, Sudan, South Sudan, and East Timor. Her research has been supported by awards from the US National Science Foundation, Humanity United, the Swiss National Science Foundation, the United States Institute of Peace, the Swedish and Dutch governments, and the United Nations.  

Hilary Matfess, University of Denver

Hilary Matfess is an Assistant Professor at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, a Research Fellow at the Research on International Policy Implementation Lab, a Senior Associate (non-resident) at the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ (CSIS) Africa Program, and a Fellow with the George Washington University’s Program on Extremism. She was a Peace Scholar Fellow at the United States Institute for Peace from 2020-2021. Her research focuses primarily on the intersection of gender and conflict and she has conducted fieldwork in a number of countries, including Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Uganda.

Spearheaded by the APSA Presidential Task Force on New Partnerships, RPCI grants are also made by possible thanks to the support of the Ivywood Foundation. To learn more about this program, click here.

To learn about all of APSA’s grant opportunities, visit: apsanet.org/grants