Susan Thomson, Co-Chair

Susan Thomson is Associate Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies at Colgate University (USA).  She received her PhD in Political Science from Dalhousie University (Canada) in 2009.  Thomson’s scholarship is dedicated to understanding how systems of power structure the lives of individuals, and how individuals subject to state power experience it in so-called times of peace. Her focus on how individuals live through and rebuild their lives after violence also drives Thomson’s interest in studying the practical and ethical challenges of doing field-based research in post-conflict and other difficult settings. She is the author of Whispering Truth to Power: Everyday Resistance to Reconciliation in Postgenocide Rwanda (Wisconsin University Press, 2013), Rwanda: From Genocide to Precarious Peace (Yale University Press, 2018) and co-editor of Emotional and Ethical Challenges for Field Research in Africa: The Story Behind the Findings (Palgrave MacMillan, 2013). In 2021, Thomson published Field Research in Africa: The Ethics of Research Vulnerabilities (James Currey), co-edited with An Ansoms and Aymar Nyenyezi Bisoka.

Lisa Wedeen, Co-Chair

Lisa Wedeen

Lisa Wedeen is the Mary R. Morton Professor of Political Science and the College and the Co-Director of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory at the University of Chicago. She is also Associate Faculty in Anthropology and the Co-Editor of the University of Chicago Book Series “Studies in Practices of Meaning.” Her publications include three books: Ambiguities of Domination: Politics, Rhetoric, and Symbols in Contemporary Syria (1999; with a new preface, 2015); Peripheral Visions: Publics, Power and Performance in Yemen (2008); and Authoritarian Apprehensions: Ideology, Judgment, and Mourning in Syria (2019). Among her articles are : “Conceptualizing ‘Culture’: Possibilities for Political Science” (2002); “Concepts and Commitments in the Study of Democracy” (2004), “Ethnography as an Interpretive Enterprise” (2009), “Reflections on Ethnographic Work in Political Science” (2010), “Ideology and Humor in Dark Times: Notes from Syria” (2013), and “Scientific Knowledge, Liberalism, and Empire: American Political Science in the Modern Middle East” (2016). She is the recipient of the David Collier Mid-Career Achievement Award and an NSF fellowship.

Nadia E. Brown

Nadia E. Brown (Ph.D., Rutgers University) is a Professor of Government, chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program and affiliate in the African American Studies program at Georgetown University. She specializes in Black women’s politics and holds a graduate certificate in Women’s and Gender Studies. Dr. Brown’s research interests lie broadly in identity politics, legislative studies, and Black women’s studies. While trained as a political scientist, her scholarship on intersectionality seeks to push beyond disciplinary constraints to think more holistically about the politics of identity.

She is the author or editor of several award winning books – including Sisters in the Statehouse: Black Women and Legislative Decision Making (Oxford University Press);  Sister Style: The Politics of Appearance for Black Women Political Elites (with Danielle Lemi);  Distinct Identities: Minority Women in U.S. Politics (with Sarah Allen Gershon, Routledge Press); The Politics of Protest: Readings on the Black Lives Matter Movement (with Ray Block, Jr. and Christopher Stout, Routledge Press); Approaching Democracy: American Government in Times of Challenge (with Larry Berman, Bruce Allen Murphy and Sarah Allen Gershon, Routledge Press). Professor Brown is the lead editor of Politics, Groups and Identities. Professor Brown is part of the #MeTooPoliSci Collective where she spearheads efforts to stop sexual harassment in the discipline. Along with co-PIs Rebecca Gill (University of Nevada, Las Vegas) Stella Rouse (University of Maryland, College Park), Elizabeth Sharrow (University of Massachusetts, Amherst) she is the recipient of a million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation for their project titled “#MeTooPoliSci Leveraging A Professional Association to Address Sexual Harassment in Political Science.” Lastly, Professor Brown is an editor with The Monkey Cage, a political science blog in the Washington Post.

Nick Cheesman

Nick Cheesman is a Fellow in the Department of Political & Social Change, Australian National University, where he convenes the Interpretation, Method and Critique network with April Biccum. His research sits at the nexus between law, violence and politics, in principle and in practice. Currently, he is studying the work that torture does in mainland Southeast Asia. He is the author of Opposing the Rule of Law: How Myanmar’s Courts Make Law and Order (Cambridge University Press, 2015), and joint editor of the Southeast Asia Publications Series for NUS Press. From 2019 he is hosting a new podcast series, New Books in Interpretive Social Science, on the New Books Network.

Aarie Glas


Aarie Glas is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science and Center for Southeast Asian Studies at Northern Illinois University. His research engages social IR theory and interpretive interview-based methods to explore regionalism, diplomacy, and conflict management in Southeast Asia and elsewhere in the Global South. His work has been published in the European Journal of International Relations, International Affairs, Journal of Global Security Studies, PS: Political Science and Politics, and Qualitative & Multi-Method Research, among other outlets. His 2022 book, Practicing Peace: Conflict Management in Southeast Asia and South America was published with Oxford University Press. Aarie also serves as the webmaster for the IMM group. You can read more about him here.

Nicholas Rush Smith


Nicholas Rush Smith is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the City University of New York – City College and a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Johannesburg. His research uses the politics of crime, policing, and vigilantism in South Africa as a lens through which to understand the ways in which democratic states use violence to produce order and why citizens sometimes use violence to resist that order. His first book in this area, Contradictions of Democracy: Vigilantism and Rights in Post-Apartheid South Africa, was published by Oxford University Press in 2019. Additionally, Smith has written about the relationship between comparative and ethnographic methods, including Rethinking Comparison: Innovative Methods for Qualitative Political Research (co-edited with Erica S. Simmons) published by Cambridge University Press in 2021.

Jillian Schwedler

Dr. Jillian Schwedler is Professor of Political Science at the City University of New York’s Hunter College and the Graduate Center and Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Crown Center for the Middle East at Brandeis University.  Her books include the award-winning Faith in Moderation: Islamist Parties in Jordan and Yemen (2006) and (with Laleh Khalili) Policing and Prisons in the Middle East (2010).  Her articles have appeared in numerous journals, including World Politics, Comparative Politics, Contention, and Social Movement Studies.  Her newest book, Protesting Jordan: Geographies of Power and Dissent, was published by Stanford University Press in April 2022.

Michelle D. Weitzel

Michelle D. Weitzel is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Relations at the Geneva Graduate Institute. Her research centers on affect, power, security, and violence—topics she explores via an emphasis on the sensory body. Her current book project, which relies on participant observation, interviews, and archival research, is entitled “Sound Politics: Affective Governance and the State.” The book includes empirical case studies in Palestine, Israel, Algeria, France, and Morocco. It asks how sound constitutes a form of political power. Her articles have appeared in Security DialogueMiddle East Law and Governance, and French Politics, among other journals. You can read more about her here

We remember: Lee Ann Fujii

Fujii small photo1

Lee Ann Fujii, chosen to be the IMM Executive Committee Chair in the Fall 2017, died unexpectedly on March 2, 2018. She was an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto. Her first book was Killing Neighbors: Webs of Violence in Rwanda (Cornell University Press, 2009). Her second book, Interviewing in Social Science Research: A Relational Approach (2018), was released in August 2017 as part of the Routledge Series on Interpretive Methods.

At the time of her death, she was working on a third book, entitled Show Time: The Logic and Power of Violent Display. Show Time examines the meaning-making power of “violent display” in three different sites of killing (Northwest Bosnia, Central Rwanda, and the mid-Atlantic region of the United States). She had just presented the work at Johns Hopkins University a week before her death, and it is hoped that she left a sufficiently robust manuscript draft that it can be published. Prof. Martha Finnemore, University Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at George Washington University, is working on that.

Founding Executive Committee Members (2008)

Patrick Thaddeus Jackson, American University
Cecelia Lynch, University of California, Irvine
Julie Novkov, SUNY Albany
Ido Oren, University of Florida
Timothy Pachirat, then at The New School
Peregrine Schwartz-Shea, University of Utah
Dorian Warren, then at Columbia University
Dvora Yanow, then at the Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam

Past Executive Committee Chairs

Peregrine Schwartz-Shea and Dvora Yanow, 2008-2013
Ido Oren, 2013-2017
Lee Ann Fujii, 2017-2018
Ido Oren and Dvora Yanow (interim co-chairs), 2018-2019
Frederic C. Schaffer, 2019-2022

Thea Riofrancos, Providence College

Past Program Chairs

2009: Peri Schwartz-Shea, University of Utah, and  Dvora Yanow, VU Amsterdam
2010: Kevin Bruyneel, Babson College, and  Julie Novkov, SUNY Albany
2011: Ido Oren, University of Florida
2012: Ron Schmidt, California State University, Long Beach
2013: Fred Schaffer, UMass Amherst
2014: Rich Holtzmann, Bryant University
2015: Doug Dow, University of Texas, Dallas
2016: Ed Schatz, University of Toronto
2017: Lee Ann Fujii, University of Toronto
2018: Denise Walsh, University of Virginia
2019: Nicholas Rush Smith, City College of New York
2020: Nicholas Rush Smith, City College of New York
2021: Natasha Behl, Arizona State University
2022: Farah Godrej, University of California, Riverside


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