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I am a PhD candidate at the Harvard Department of Government. My research lies at the intersection of political violence and the political economy of development, with a regional focus on sub-Saharan Africa.

I study the relationship between citizens and the state during times of conflict and state fragility. Who governs during war and peace, and how do those who seek to govern penetrate local communities? What explains political participation during periods of political insecurity? My dissertation examines the consolidation of power after rebel victory, and offers a theory linking rebel governance during war to post-war statebuilding decisions.

From 2018-2019, I was a Jennings Randolph Peace Scholar at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). My research has also been supported by the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, the Institute for Quantitative Social Science, and the Center for African Studies at Harvard.

Prior to graduate school, I received a BA from Columbia University in Political Science, and completed the Columbia-Juilliard Exchange Program in Violin Performance.

Please contact me at:
shelleyxliu@g.harvard.edu