I’m Melani Cammett, Clarence Dillon Professor of International Affairs in the Department of Government and Chair of the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies at Harvard University. I hold a secondary faculty appointment in the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health and, for the 2019-2020 academic year, I am Acting Director of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard. I specialize in the politics of development, identity politics and the Middle East; teach graduate and undergraduate courses on comparative politics, development, and Middle East politics; and consult for development policy organizations.
I am a co-editor of the Cambridge University Press Elements series on the Politics of Development. (More information on the series is available here). In addition, I am currently serving as a Commissioner on the Lancet Commission on Syria, which will release a report on the humanitarian crisis in Syria next year.
My current research focuses on a variety of topics related to identity politics, welfare and development, and the intersection of these themes. Some of my projects explore the politics of social service provision by state and non-state actors, intergroup relations, and the influence of historical legacies for economic and social development. Most of my work has an empirical focus in the Middle East, although I work in other places, such as India and Brazil, as well. I am also starting a new project on how communities “reconcile” after violent conflict along ostensibly identity-based lines. More information on some of my research is available here.
I co-authored a new version of A Political Economy of the Middle East (with Ishac Diwan, Alan Richards and John Waterbury), which was published in 2015.
My book Compassionate Communalism: Welfare and Sectarianism in Lebanon (Cornell University Press 2014) explores how politics shape the distribution of welfare goods by ethnic and religious groups, in turn reshaping or reinforcing sectarianism in my book. This book won the 2015 American Political Science Association (APSA) Giovanni Sartori Book Award and the Honorable Mention for the 2015 APSA Gregory Luebbert Book Award, and an article based on the book won the 2011 APSA Alexander L. George Award.
A volume I co-edited with Lauren Morris MacLean, The Politics of Non-State Social Welfare (Cornell University Press, 2014),focuses on the political consequences of non-state social welfare and received the Honorable Mention for the 2015 Outstanding Book in Nonprofit and Voluntary Action Research of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA).
My first book, Globalization and Business Politics in North Africa: A Comparative Perspective (Cambridge University Press 2007, 2010), examines how global economic integration affects state-business relations and industrial development in developing countries, focusing on Morocco and Tunisia.