Meet 2018 Carnegie Fellow Sarah Zukerman Daly

The Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program recognizes an exceptional group of both established and emerging scholars, journalists, and authors with the goal of strengthening U.S. democracy, driving technological and cultural creativity, exploring global connections and global ruptures, and improving both natural and human environments. 

Sarah Zukerman Daly is assistant professor of political science at Columbia University, officially effective on July 1. Her research focuses on civil wars and peace-building, democratic elections, organized crime, and ethnic politics with a primary regional focus on Latin America. She is the author of Organized Violence after Civil War: The Geography of Recruitment in Latin America, published by Cambridge University Press in its Comparative Politics series in 2016. Daly received her PhD in Political Science at MIT where she was awarded the Lucian Pye Award for the Best Dissertation in Political Science. She holds a MSc (Distinction) in Development Studies from London School of Economics and BA (Honors, Distinction, Phi Beta Kappa) in International Relations from Stanford University.

“I would encourage students to ask big questions about puzzles that you believe are important in the world and that genuinely interest you, to ask questions that transcend sub-fields and disciplines, to spend time in the field to ensure that your theories match empirical realities on the ground, to match your methods to your questions, and to understand the policy implications of your work.”

How will the Andrew Carnegie Fellows Program impact your research and overall career?

Daly: The Carnegie Fellows Program will enable me to research and write my second book that seeks to understand political life after episodes of mass violence. After suffering wartime atrocities and winning peace, surprisingly, millions of people around the world elect to live under the rule of political actors with deep roots in the violent organizations of the past. My book will analyze why citizens vote in this counterintuitive fashion and what the implications of these elections are for efforts at successful peacebuilding and democratization. Support from the Carnegie Corporation will enable me to engage in cross-national, sub-national and individual-level statistical analysis, experimental survey data, in-depth interviews, field observations and archival research to offer tangible recommendations for deepening democracy and building sustainable peace after war.

What research topics do you primarily focus on? How can people access your work?

Daly: My research focuses on civil wars and peace and specifically what happens after episodes of mass violence in terms of the recurrence of violence, criminality, transitional justice, political life and elections. My first book was about organizational-level dynamics of ending wars and building peace: why armed organizations demilitarize or remilitarize in the aftermath of civil conflict. This second book is about political legacies of violence: how citizens come to terms with violent pasts and do so in the context of conflicting narratives of that past, how postwar parties run and how postwar citizens vote, how normal electoral politics takes hold, and what the implications are for democracy and peace of having formerly coercive actors in political office.  I also have active research projects on wartime electoral politics, on relations among criminal gangs – why they spark turf war or instead agree to truces, and on the demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants. My research is available through my website: www.sarahzukermandaly.com

Do you have any advice for students in political science, including tips on how to find funding and support for research projects?

Daly: I am not sure I am the best person to offer advice! I would encourage students to ask big questions about puzzles that you believe are important in the world and that genuinely interest you, to ask questions that transcend sub-fields and disciplines, to spend time in the field to ensure that your theories match empirical realities on the ground, to match your methods to your questions, and to understand the policy implications of your work.