Lisa Anderson is Special Lecturer and James T. Shotwell Professor of International Relations Emerita at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs.

Anderson served as President of the American University in Cairo for five years, from 2011-2016. Prior to her appointment as President, she was the University’s provost, a position she had assumed in 2008.  She is Dean Emerita of the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia, where she led the school from 1997-2007. She was on the faculty of Columbia since 1986; prior to her appointment as Dean, she served as Chair of the Political Science Department and Director of Columbia’s Middle East Institute. She has also taught at Princeton and Harvard Universities.

Anderson’s scholarly research has included work on state formation in the Middle East and North Africa; on regime change and democratization in developing countries; and on social science, academic research and public policy both in the United States and around the world. Among her books are The State and Social Transformation in Tunisia and Libya, 1830-1980 (1986) and Pursuing Truth, Exercising Power: Social Science and Public Policy in the Twenty-first Century (2003); she has also published numerous scholarly articles.

Anderson is a trustee of the Aga Khan University, Tufts University and the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. She is a member emerita of the Board of Directors of Human Rights Watch, served as elected President of the Middle East Studies Association, and as Chair of the Board of the Social Science Research Council.  A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Council on Foreign Relations, she has received honorary degrees from Monmouth University and the American University in Paris.



Pursuing Truth, Exercising power: Social Science and Public Policy in the Twenty-first Century, Columbia University Press, 2003. Issued in Paperback in 2005.
editor, Transitions to Democracy, Columbia University Press, 1999.
editor, with Rashid Khalidi, Muhammad Muslih, and Reeva Simon, The Origins of Arab Nationalism, Columbia University Press, 1991
The State and Social Transformation in Tunisia and Libya, 1830-1980, Princeton Studies on the Near East, Princeton University Press, 1986. Issued in paperback in 1987.

Book Chapters

“’. . . To Save Us All:’ Lessons from the American University in Cairo, a Community of Learning in Revolutionary Times,” in Ted Purinton and Jennifer Skaggs, eds.,  American Universities Abroad. The Leadership of Independent Transnational Higher Education Institutions, (Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 2017).
“Authoritarian Legacies and Regime Change: Towards Understanding Political Transition in the Arab World,” in Fawaz Gerges, ed., The New Middle East: Protest and Revolution in the Arab World (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013).
“Early Adopters and Neighborhood Effects,” in Clement Henry, Ji-Hyang Jang, eds, The Arab Spring: Will It Lead to Democratic Transitions?, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).
“‘Western Institutions’ and ‘Universal Values’: Barriers to Adoption of Democracy,” Peter F.  Nardulli, ed., International Perspectives on Contemporary Democracy (Champaigne: University of Illinois Press, 2008).
“Conflict in the Middle East,” in Martin Jones and Andrew Fabian, editors, Conflict, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006).
“Dynasts and Nationalists: Why Monarchies Survive” in Joseph Kostiner, ed., Middle East Monarchies: The Challenge of Modernity, (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2000).
“Politics in the Middle East: Opportunities and Limits in the Quest for Theory” in Mark Tessler, ed., Area Studies and Social Science: Strategies for Understanding Middle East Politics, (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999).
“Fulfilling Prophecies: State Policy and Islamist Radicalism” in Political Islam: Revolution, Radicalism or Reform edited by John Esposito, Lynne (Boulder: Rienner Publishers, 1997).
“Patterns of State Formation and Regime Change in North Africa,” in Crisis of Authoritarianism in North Africa edited by John Entelis, (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997).
“Politics Unleashed: Liberalization and Radical Politics in Jordan and Algeria,” in Liberalization and Foreign Policy, ed. Miles Kahler, (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997).
“Democracy in the Arab World: A Critique of the Political Culture Approach” in Rex Brynen et al, eds., Political Liberalization and Democratization in the Arab World, (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 1995).
“Qaddafi’s Libya: The Results of an Experiment” in Dirk Vandewalle, ed., Qaddafi’s Libya, (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1995).
“Ramadan al-Suwayhli: Hero of the Libyan Resistance,” in Edmund Burke III, ed., Struggle and Survival in the Modern Middle East (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.
“Tribe and State: Libyan Anomalies,” in Tribes and State Formation in the Middle East, edited by Philip Khoury and Joseph Kostiner, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990).
“Legitimacy, Identity and Writing of History in Libya,” in Eric Davis and Nicolas Gavrielides, eds., Power and Representation: State Formation and Intellectual Paradigms in Arab Oil-Producing Countries, (Miami: University of Florida Presses, 1990).
“Policy-Making and Theory-Building: American Political Science and the Islamic Middle East,” in Hisham Sharabi, ed., Theory, Politics, and the Arab World, (New York: Routledge, 1990).
“Tunisia and Libya: Response to the Islamic Impulse,” in John L. Esposito, ed., The Iranian Revolution: Its Global Impact (Miami: Florida International University Press, 1989).
“Democracy Frustrated: The Mzali Years in Tunisia,” in Reeva S. Simon, ed., The Middle East and North Africa: Essays in Honor of J. C. Hurewitz The Middle East Institute, Columbia University, 1989.
“Friends and Foes: American Foreign Policy in North Africa,” in Robert I. Rotberg, ed., Africa in the 1990s and Beyond: U. S. Policy Opportunities and Choices, A World Peace Foundation Study, Boston: Reference Publications, Inc., 1988.
“Oïl and Water: Agricultural Development in Libya,” in Terroirs et Sociétés au Maghreb et au Moyen Orient, Etudes sur le Monde Arabe, Université de Lyon, 1984.
“Qaddafi’s Islam,” in John L. Esposito, ed., Voices of Resurgent Islam, New York: Oxford University Press, 1983.
“The Tripoli Republic, 1918-1922,” in E. G. H. Joffe and K. S. MacLachlan, eds., The Economic and Social Development of Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Libya London: MENAS Press, Ltd., and Boulder: Westview Press, 1982.

Journal Articles

“‘Shithole Countries’:” The Wretched of the Earth, Franz Fanon” Social Research 85:3 Fall 2018
“Bread, Dignity and Social Justice: Populism in the Arab World,” Philosophy and Social Criticism 44, no. 2 Spring 2018
“Libya and American Foreign Policy,” The Middle East Journal 36, no. 4, Autumn 1982.  Reprinted in J. E. Peterson, ed., The Politics of Middle Eastern Oil, Washington, DC: The Middle East Institute, 1983
“Roundtable: The State and Its Competitors” International Journal of Middle East Studies 50, no. 2 (Spring 2018).
“They Defeated Us All”: International Interests, Local Politics, and Contested Sovereignty in Libya,” The Middle East Journal 71, no. 2 (Spring 2017).
“‘Creative Destruction’: States, Identities and Legitimacy in the Arab World” Philosophy & Social Criticism 40, no. 4-5, (2014), reprinted in Seyla Benhabib and Volker Kaul, eds., Toward New Democratic Imaginaries—Istanbul Seminars on Islam, Culture and Politics Springer 2016).
“Fertile Ground: The Future of Higher Education in the Arab World,” Social Research 79, no.2 (Fall 2012).
“Too Much Information? Political Science, the University, and the Public Sphere,” Perspectives on Politics 10, no. 2 (June 2012).
“Searching Where the Light Shines: Studying Democratization in the Middle East,” Annual Review of Political Science 9, (2006).
“Shock and Awe: Interpretations of the Events of September 11,” World Politics 56, no. 2, (January 2004).
“A Last Resort, an Expedient and an Experiment: Statehood and Sovereignty in Libya,” Journal of Libyan Studies 2, no. 2 (Winter 2001).
“Obligation and Accountability: Islamic Politics in North Africa,” Daedalus 120, no. 3 (Summer 1991).
“Political Pacts, Liberalism, and Democracy: The Tunisian National Pact of 1988,” Government and Opposition 26, no. 2 (Spring 1991).
“Absolutism and the Resilience of Monarchy in the Middle East,” Political Science Quarterly 106, no. 2 (Spring 1991).
“The State in the Middle East and North Africa,” Comparative Politics October, (1987).
“Religion and State in Libya: The Politics of Identity,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 483, (January 1986).
“Qadhdhafi and his Opposition,” The Middle East Journal 40, no.2 (Spring 1986).
“Ottoman Reform in Nineteenth Century Libya,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 16, no.3 (1984).
“Libya and American Foreign Policy,” The Middle East Journal 36, no. 4, Autumn 1982.  Reprinted in J. E. Peterson, ed., The Politics of Middle Eastern Oil, Washington, DC: The Middle East Institute, 1983.

Other Articles

“An American in Cairo: Egypt Through Western Eyes,” Review Essay, Foreign Affairs 98, no. 5 (September/October 2019).
“Pre-Copernican Political Science: What Analysis of “Authoritarianism” Reveals about the American Study of Politics,” Journal of International Affairs 71, no. 1 (Fall/Winter 2017).
“International Universities in the Arab World: What is their Place?” International Higher Education 88, (2017).
“Demystifying the Arab Spring,” Foreign Affairs, May/June 2011, reprinted in The New Arab Revolt (Council on Foreign Relations, 2011).
“Ex-Presidents” Journal of Democracy 21, no. 2 (April 2010).
“Libya’s Long Road Back,” Middle East Report 241 (Winter 2006).
“Antiquated Before They Ossify: States That Fail Before They Form,” Journal of International Affairs 58, no. 1 (Fall 2004).
“Scholarship, Policy, Debate and Conflict: Why We Study the Middle East and Why It Matters (2003 MESA Presidential Address)” Middle East Studies Association Bulletin 38, No. 1 (Summer 2004).
“Arab Democracy: Dismal Prospects,” World Policy Journal,18 no.3 (Fall 2001).
“Political Decay in the Arab World,” Middle Eastern Lectures 4 (2001).
“Las ciencias sociales bajo presión,” Economía Institutional 2, no. 1 (2000).
“Human Capital in the Social Sciences,” Items, Social Science Research Council, 52 no. 2-3 (June-September 1998).
“Identità e Interessi Nei Welfare States Pre-Industriali: Le Prospettive del Liberalismo Nella Politica Araba,” Teoria Politica, 13, no. 3 (1996).
“Peace and Democracy in the Middle East: The Constraints of Soft Budgets” Journal of International Affairs 49, no. 1 (Summer 1995).
“North Africa: the Limits of Liberalization,” Current History 167, (April 1995).
“Islam and Liberal Politics” Dissent (Fall 1994).
“Remaking the Middle East: The Prospects for Democracy and Stability,” Ethics and International Affairs, 6 (1992).
“Liberalism in North Africa,” Current History 89, no.546 (April 1990).
“Lawless Government and Illegal Opposition: Reflections on the Middle East,” Journal of International Affairs 40, no. 2 (Winter 1987).
“Libya’s Qaddafi: Still in Command?” Current History 86 no. 517 (February); reprinted in Current Affairs Bulletin, [Sydney, Australia], 64 no. 4 (September 1987).
“Qaddafi and the Kremlin,” Problems of Communism 34, no.5 (September 1985).
“Assessing Libya’s Qaddafi,” Current History 84, no. 502 (May 1985).
“Religion and Politics in Libya,” The Journal of Arab Affairs 1, no.1 (Autumn 1981).
“Research Facilities in the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriyyah,” Middle East Studies Association Bulletin 14, no.1 (July 1980).