Assistant Professor of International Affairs

Curriculum Vitae

Professional Website

Megan Turnbull is an Assistant Professor of Comparative Politics in the Department of International Affairs. She is also a Faculty Affiliate with the Center for International Trade and Security and the African Studies Institute. During Fall 2022, she was a Visiting Scholar with the Elections, Violence, and Parties Project at the University of Amsterdam. She was also a Research Fellow in the International Security Program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School during 2021-2022.

Dr. Turnbull studies political order and violence with a focus on Sub-Saharan Africa. Her book project, Political Order and Election Violence in Nigeria, explains the scale of election violence, paying close attention to how and why violence is jointly organized by politicians and different groups. In other work, she studies armed groups and their relationships with citizens and governments, election violence and political participation, community mobilization against electoral manipulation and violence, and democratic backsliding.

Her research has been published in World Development, International Security, and Political Science Quarterly. It has been generously supported by the Center for International Trade and Security at the University of Georgia, the Smith Richardson Foundation, and the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. She earned her Ph.D. in Political Science from Brown University in 2017. She is an alumna of the interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Development, where she was a National Science Foundation-IGERT Doctoral Fellow.


Ph.D., Brown University 2017, Political Science

M.A., Leiden University 2008, Political Science, cum laude

B.A., University at Albany 2007, Political Science, summa cum laude

Areas of Expertise
  • Election Violence
  • Armed Politics
  • African Politics
  • Political Violence

Faculty Affiliate, Center for International Trade and Security

Faculty Affiliate, African Studies Institute

Course Instruction

Introduction to Comparative Politics, undergraduate (2018-2019, 2019-2020, 2020-2021, Spring 2023, Fall 2023)
African Politics, undergraduate (Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2024)
Democratic Erosion, undergraduate (Fall 2020, Summer 2023); graduate (Spring 2021)
Election Violence, graduate (Fall 2023)

Research Interests
  • Election Violence
  • Armed Politics
  • African Politics
  • Political Violence
Selected Publications

2021. “When Armed Groups Refuse to Carry Out Election Violence: Evidence from Nigeria.” World Development, 146,

2020/21. “Elite Competition, Social Movements, and Election Violence in Nigeria,” International Security, 45 (3): 40-78,

2018. “When Militias Provide Welfare: Lessons from Pakistan and Nigeria,” with Yelena Biberman. Political Science Quarterly, 133 (4): 695-727,