Fotini Christia

Fotini Christia

Ford International Professor in the Social Sciences

Director, MIT Sociotechnical Systems Research Center (SSRC)

CV

Civil wars; political violence; identity politics; post-conflict reconstruction; field experiments; big data; Middle East.

Biography

Fotini Christia is the Ford International Professor in the Social Sciences in the Department of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is Director of the Sociotechnical Systems Research Center (SSRC), Associate Director of the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS), and Chair of the doctoral program in Social and Engineering Systems (SES). Her research interests include issues of conflict and cooperation in the Muslim world, and she has conducted fieldwork in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iran, the Palestinian Territories, Syria, and Yemen. She is also working to bridge the social sciences, data science, and computation by bringing researchers from these disciplines together to address systemic racism across housing, healthcare, policing, education, and employment.

Fotini is the author of “Alliance Formation in Civil War” (Cambridge University Press, 2012), which was awarded the Luebbert Award for Best Book in Comparative Politics, the Lepgold Prize for Best Book in International Relations, and a Distinguished Book Award from the International Studies Association. Her research has also appeared in Science, Review of Economic Studies, IEEE Transactions on Network Science and Engineering, American Political Science Review, and Annual Review of Political Science among other journals, and her opinion pieces have been published in Foreign Affairs, The New York Times, and The Washington Post among other outlets.

Fotini graduated magna cum laude from Columbia University in 2001 with a joint BA in economics–operations research and an MA in international affairs. She joined the MIT faculty in 2008 after receiving her PhD in public policy from Harvard University that year.

 

Research

Fotini has done extensive experimental, survey, and ethnographic fieldwork on ethnicity, conflict, and development in divided societies in the Muslim world. She has completed impact evaluations of an experimental design on the largest community driven development program in Afghanistan and on school integration in Bosnia-Herzegovina. She has done survey and experimental research on religion and sectarianism in Iraq and is working with Cellphone Data Records from Yemen and Turkey, exploring drone strikes in the former and Syrian refugee integration in the latter. Fotini is the author of Alliance Formation in Civil War, published by Cambridge University Press in 2012, which received the Luebbert Award for Best Book in Comparative Politics, the Lepgold Prize for Best Book in International Relations and the Distinguished Book Award of the Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Migration Section of the International Studies Association. She was also an inaugural Andrew Carnegie Fellow and a Harvard Academy Fellow. Her articles have been published in Science, Review of Economic Studies, Journal of Development Economics, American Political Science Review, Annual Review of Political Science and Journal of Comparative Politics, among other journals. For her research, Fotini has received support from a MURI grant, as well as from the International Growth Center, the Russell Sage Foundation, USAID, CIDA, the UN, and the World Bank among others.

Recent Publications

Community Policing Does not Build Trust in Police or Reduce Crime in the Global South”, Science 374, 1098 (2021). (With Graeme Blair, Jeremy Weinstein, Eric Arias, Emile Bardan, Robert A. Blair, Ali Cheema, Ahsan Farooqui, Thiemo Fetzer, Guy Grossman, Dotan Haim, Zulfiqar Hameed, Rebecca Hanson, Ali Hasanain, Dorothy Kronick, Benjamin Morse, Robert Muggah, Fatiq Nadeem, Lily Tsai, Matthew Nanes, Tara Slough, Nico Ravanilla, Jacob N. Shapiro, Barbara Silva, Pedro L. Souza, Anna Wilke).

“The Nature and Origins of Sectarian Animosity,” forthcoming in Nature Human Behavior (With Elizabeth Dekeyser and Dean Knox.

Scalable Equilibrium Computation in Multi-agent Influence Games on Networks,” in Proceedings of the 35th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-21), (with Michael Curry, Constantinos Daskalakis, Erik Demaine, John P. Dickerson, Mohammad Taghi Hajiaghayi, Adam Hesterberg, Marina Knittel, and Aidan Milliff).

State Capacity Redux: Integrating Classical and Experimental Contributions to an Enduring Debate,Annual Review of Political Science (ARPS), Vol.21, 2018 (with Elissa Berwick).

Electoral Rules and Political Selection: Theory and Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan,” The Review of Economic Studies (ReStud), 83 (3), 932-968. (With Andrew Beath, Georgy Egorov and Ruben Enikolopov)

Empowering Women through Development Aid: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan,” American Political Science Review. 107 (3): 540-557. (With Andrew Beath and Ruben Enikolopov)

"Alliance Formation in Civil Wars," Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Context Modularity of Human Altruism,” Science. 334 (6061): 1392-1394. (With Marc Alexander)

Teaching

17.586 Comparative Politics and International Relations of the Middle East
17.504 Ethnic Politics I
17.582 Civil War
17.583 Conflict through the Graphic Novel
17.586 Warlords, Terrorists and Militias
17.869 Scope and Methods
17. 956 Insurgency







 

News

Racial equity and data science

MIT IDSS

Professor Fotini Christia introduces a new MIT-wide effort to address systemic racism with social science and computation.

Community policing in the Global South

Stephanie M. McPherson MIT News

Professor Fotini Christia is part of a team examining the challenges of implementing community policing across a range of countries.

3 questions with Fotini Christia, the new Chair of the Social & Engineering Systems PhD program

IDSS

Fotini Christia is a professor of political science and faculty member of the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society. Her research interests deal with the political economy of conflict and development in the Muslim world and she has done extensive experimental, survey, and big data research on Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iraq, and Yemen. In addition to chairing the Social & Engineering Systems PhD program, she directs the Sociotechnical Systems Research Center (SSRC) within IDSS.

Biography

Fotini Christia is the Ford International Professor in the Social Sciences in the Department of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is Director of the Sociotechnical Systems Research Center (SSRC), Associate Director of the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society (IDSS), and Chair of the doctoral program in Social and Engineering Systems (SES). Her research interests include issues of conflict and cooperation in the Muslim world, and she has conducted fieldwork in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iran, the Palestinian Territories, Syria, and Yemen. She is also working to bridge the social sciences, data science, and computation by bringing researchers from these disciplines together to address systemic racism across housing, healthcare, policing, education, and employment.

Fotini is the author of “Alliance Formation in Civil War” (Cambridge University Press, 2012), which was awarded the Luebbert Award for Best Book in Comparative Politics, the Lepgold Prize for Best Book in International Relations, and a Distinguished Book Award from the International Studies Association. Her research has also appeared in Science, Review of Economic Studies, IEEE Transactions on Network Science and Engineering, American Political Science Review, and Annual Review of Political Science among other journals, and her opinion pieces have been published in Foreign Affairs, The New York Times, and The Washington Post among other outlets.

Fotini graduated magna cum laude from Columbia University in 2001 with a joint BA in economics–operations research and an MA in international affairs. She joined the MIT faculty in 2008 after receiving her PhD in public policy from Harvard University that year.

 

Research

Fotini has done extensive experimental, survey, and ethnographic fieldwork on ethnicity, conflict, and development in divided societies in the Muslim world. She has completed impact evaluations of an experimental design on the largest community driven development program in Afghanistan and on school integration in Bosnia-Herzegovina. She has done survey and experimental research on religion and sectarianism in Iraq and is working with Cellphone Data Records from Yemen and Turkey, exploring drone strikes in the former and Syrian refugee integration in the latter. Fotini is the author of Alliance Formation in Civil War, published by Cambridge University Press in 2012, which received the Luebbert Award for Best Book in Comparative Politics, the Lepgold Prize for Best Book in International Relations and the Distinguished Book Award of the Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Migration Section of the International Studies Association. She was also an inaugural Andrew Carnegie Fellow and a Harvard Academy Fellow. Her articles have been published in Science, Review of Economic Studies, Journal of Development Economics, American Political Science Review, Annual Review of Political Science and Journal of Comparative Politics, among other journals. For her research, Fotini has received support from a MURI grant, as well as from the International Growth Center, the Russell Sage Foundation, USAID, CIDA, the UN, and the World Bank among others.

Recent Publications

Community Policing Does not Build Trust in Police or Reduce Crime in the Global South”, Science 374, 1098 (2021). (With Graeme Blair, Jeremy Weinstein, Eric Arias, Emile Bardan, Robert A. Blair, Ali Cheema, Ahsan Farooqui, Thiemo Fetzer, Guy Grossman, Dotan Haim, Zulfiqar Hameed, Rebecca Hanson, Ali Hasanain, Dorothy Kronick, Benjamin Morse, Robert Muggah, Fatiq Nadeem, Lily Tsai, Matthew Nanes, Tara Slough, Nico Ravanilla, Jacob N. Shapiro, Barbara Silva, Pedro L. Souza, Anna Wilke).

“The Nature and Origins of Sectarian Animosity,” forthcoming in Nature Human Behavior (With Elizabeth Dekeyser and Dean Knox.

Scalable Equilibrium Computation in Multi-agent Influence Games on Networks,” in Proceedings of the 35th AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence (AAAI-21), (with Michael Curry, Constantinos Daskalakis, Erik Demaine, John P. Dickerson, Mohammad Taghi Hajiaghayi, Adam Hesterberg, Marina Knittel, and Aidan Milliff).

State Capacity Redux: Integrating Classical and Experimental Contributions to an Enduring Debate,Annual Review of Political Science (ARPS), Vol.21, 2018 (with Elissa Berwick).

Electoral Rules and Political Selection: Theory and Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan,” The Review of Economic Studies (ReStud), 83 (3), 932-968. (With Andrew Beath, Georgy Egorov and Ruben Enikolopov)

Empowering Women through Development Aid: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Afghanistan,” American Political Science Review. 107 (3): 540-557. (With Andrew Beath and Ruben Enikolopov)

"Alliance Formation in Civil Wars," Cambridge University Press, 2012.

Context Modularity of Human Altruism,” Science. 334 (6061): 1392-1394. (With Marc Alexander)

Teaching

17.586 Comparative Politics and International Relations of the Middle East
17.504 Ethnic Politics I
17.582 Civil War
17.583 Conflict through the Graphic Novel
17.586 Warlords, Terrorists and Militias
17.869 Scope and Methods
17. 956 Insurgency







 

News

Racial equity and data science

MIT IDSS

Professor Fotini Christia introduces a new MIT-wide effort to address systemic racism with social science and computation.

Community policing in the Global South

Stephanie M. McPherson MIT News

Professor Fotini Christia is part of a team examining the challenges of implementing community policing across a range of countries.

3 questions with Fotini Christia, the new Chair of the Social & Engineering Systems PhD program

IDSS

Fotini Christia is a professor of political science and faculty member of the Institute for Data, Systems, and Society. Her research interests deal with the political economy of conflict and development in the Muslim world and she has done extensive experimental, survey, and big data research on Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iraq, and Yemen. In addition to chairing the Social & Engineering Systems PhD program, she directs the Sociotechnical Systems Research Center (SSRC) within IDSS.