School of Humanities and Sciences
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David D. Laitin
James T. Watkins IV and Elise V. Watkins Professor
BioDavid D. Laitin is the James T. Watkins IV and Elise V. Watkins Professor of Political Science at Stanford University. He received his BA from Swarthmore College, and then served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Somalia and Grenada, where he became national tennis champion in 1970. Back in the US, he received his Ph.D. in political science from UC Berkeley, working under the direction of Ernst Haas and Hanna Pitkin.
He has taught at three great universities: UCSD (1975-87), the University of Chicago (1987-1999) and now at Stanford. Over his career, as a student of comparative politics, he has conducted field research in Somalia, Yorubaland (Nigeria), Catalonia (Spain), Estonia, and France, all the time focusing on issues of language and religion, and how these cultural phenomena link nation to state. His books include Politics, Language and Thought: The Somali Experience (1977), Hegemony and Culture: Politics and Religious Change among the Yoruba (1986), Language Repertoires and State Construction in Africa (1992), Identity in Formation: The Russian-Speaking Populations in the Near Abroad (1998); Nations, States and Violence (2007); Why Muslim Integration Fails in Christian-Heritage Societies (2016); and African Politics Since Independence (2019).
Over the past decade, mostly in collaboration with James Fearon, he has published several papers on ethnicity, ethnic cooperation, the sources of civil war, and on policies that work to settle civil wars. Laitin has also collaborated with Alan Krueger on international terrorism and with Eli Berman on suicide terrorism.
In 2008-2009, with support from the National Science Foundation, and with a visiting appointment at Sciences-Po Paris, Laitin conducted ethnographic, survey and experimental research on Muslim integration into France, seeking to assess the magnitude of religious discrimination and isolate the mechanisms that sustain it. The initial results from that project were published in the "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" (2010).
In 2016, Laitin became co-director of Stanford's Immigration Policy Lab, and has co-authored several papers published in "Science", "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" and "Nature Human Behavior" that estimate the effects of policy on immigrant integration.
Laitin has been a recipient of fellowships from the Howard Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Russell Sage Foundation. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the National Academy of Sciences. In 2021 Laitin was the recipient of the John Skytte Prize in Political Science from the Johan Skytte Foundation in Uppsala University, Sweden.
Professor of Political Science, Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and at the Woods Institute for the Environment
BioMargaret Levi is Professor of Political Science, Senior Fellow, Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, the former Sara Miller McCune Director and current Faculty Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS), and Senior Fellow of the Woods Institute, Stanford University. She is Jere L. Bacharach Professor Emerita of International Studies in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington. She held the Chair in Politics, United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, 2009-13. At the University of Washington she was director of the CHAOS (Comparative Historical Analysis of Organizations and States) Center and formerly the Harry Bridges Chair and Director of the Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies.
Levi is the winner of the 2019 Johan Skytte Prize and 2020 Falling Walls Prize for Breakthrough of the Year in Social Sciences and Humanities. She became a fellow of the National Academy of Sciences in 2015, the British Academy in 2022, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001, and the American Academy of Political and Social Science in 2017, and the American Philosophical Society in 2018. She was a John Simon Guggenheim Fellow in 2002. She served as president of the American Political Science Association from 2004 to 2005. She is the recipient of the 2014 William H. Riker Prize for Political Science. In 2019 she received an honorary doctorate from Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, 2019.
Levi is the author or coauthor of numerous articles and six books, including Of Rule and Revenue (University of California Press, 1988); Consent, Dissent, and Patriotism (Cambridge University Press, 1997); Analytic Narratives (Princeton University Press, 1998); and Cooperation Without Trust? (Russell Sage, 2005). One of her most recent books, In the Interest of Others (Princeton, 2013), co-authored with John Ahlquist, explores how organizations provoke member willingness to act beyond material interest. In other work, she investigates the conditions under which people come to believe their governments are legitimate and the consequences of those beliefs for compliance, consent, and the rule of law. Her research continues to focus on how to improve the quality of government and how to generate a better political economic framework. She is also committed to understanding and improving supply chains so that the goods we consume are produced in a manner that sustains both the workers and the environment.
She was general editor of Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics and remains on the editorial board. She is co-general editor of the Annual Review of Political Science and on the editorial board of PNAS.. Levi serves on the boards of the: Berggruen Institute: Center for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (CEACS) in Madrid; Research Council of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR), and CORE Economics. She is chair of Section 53 of NAS. Levi and her husband, Robert Kaplan, are avid collectors of Australian Aboriginal art. Ancestral Modern, an exhibition drawn from their collection, was on view at the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) in 2012. Yale University Press and SAM co-published the catalogue.
Her fellowships include the Woodrow Wilson in 1968, German Marshall in 1988-9, and the Center for Advanced Study of the Behavioral Sciences in 1993-1994. She has lectured and been a visiting fellow at the Australian National University, the European University Institute, Max Planck Institute in Cologne, the Juan March Institute, the Budapest Collegium, Cardiff University, Oxford University, Bergen University, and Peking University. She was a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar in 2005-6. She periodically serves as a consultant to the World Bank.