New Faculty Friday: Q&A with Dr. Megan Turnbull

SPIA is excited to introduce Megan Turnbull.

Megan Turnbull received her PhD in Political Science from Brown University. She studies political order, violence, and democratization with an empirical focus in Sub-Saharan Africa.  Her book project examines the relationship between democracy and state-building through the lens of government strategies toward armed groups. Turnbull is teaching Introduction to Comparative Politics this fall.

What attracted you to UGA?
MT: The opportunity to work alongside incredible scholars doing rigorous research that speaks to real-world problems

What are you working on that you’re most excited about?
MT: My book manuscript, which is based on my dissertation.  It examines the impact of democratization on state-building through the lens of government strategies toward armed groups, from collusion to repression.

What was your favorite part of your college experience?
MT: Studying abroad during my junior year in Budapest, Hungary.

Please tell us about your research interests.
MT: My primary field is comparative politics and I’m broadly interested in state-building, democratization, armed groups, electoral violence, political participation, non-state welfare, and the political economy of development, with an empirical focus in Sub-Saharan Africa.

How do you like to spend your time when you’re not working?
MT: Running (I’ve run 5 half-marathons, most recently the Saratoga Springs half marathon this July. I’m looking forward to running the Athens Half this October). Skiing (something I’ll miss from living in the northeast!), yoga, wandering around bookstores; grabbing dinner with friends.  

What is your favorite food?
MT: Affogato (espresso over gelato).

Please tell us one fun fact about you.
MT: I have the same birthday as Fidel Castro (and my brother has the same birthday as Benito Mussolini).

What are you looking forward to in the coming year?
MT: Getting to know the wonderful faculty, staff, grad students, and undergrads at UGA.

What is one goal you have for yourself for the next year?
MT: To start learning French again- I started taking classes my second to last year in grad school but then finishing the dissertation and applying for academic positions got in the way.

What advice do you have for SPIA students?
MT: Study abroad if you have the chance- you’ll not only learn a lot about another country, but your own as well.  Putting things in comparative perspective gives you new insights and makes you see the “ordinary” in a different light.