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Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs

Postdoctoral Fellows

We have paused this opportunity while we conduct a review of our funding. We are not accepting applications at this time.

Each fellow is affiliated with Northwestern Buffett and an appropriate department at the University. They pursue a program of independent scholarship and teach one quarter-long undergraduate class each academic year. Fellows deliver one public lecture at Northwestern Buffett.


Diego Arispe-Bazán received his PhD from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania. A linguistic and cultural anthropologist, his research centers on the production and circulation of history via linguistic and discursive strategies in interaction. More specifically, his focus is on the schism in how Spanish and Peruvian citizens valorize the colonial past, and how differences in dialectal forms reaffirm ideas about national belonging based on ideologies surrounding colonization. His ethnographic research in both countries investigates the global effects of economic crisis in the “developed” world. Furthermore, his ethnographic and semiotic approach allows for a fine-grained approach to understanding the composition of categories of race and class in Latin America as intertwined processes both synchronic and diachronic. Diego is one of the organizers of the Thinking Andean Studies conference series and a co-producer of the American Anthropological Association’s flagship podcast, "Anthropological Airwaves."
Wendell Hassan Marsh conducts research and teaches on the encounter of Islam and the African world as mediated in Arabic and vernacular texts. Overall, his work seeks to decentralize the study of Islam from the classical Arab heartlands by locating debates over religious authority in French West Africa within an equivocal tradition of argument and dissent specific to the region. He has been awarded Fulbright, Ford, and Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowships for his work. Marsh is an assistant professor of African American and African Studies at Rutgers University-Newark.
Nicole Weygandt received her PhD in political science from Cornell University in 2017 and was previously a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University’s Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance. Her research centers on the diffusion of laws and policies, emphasizing the role of developing countries and private sector actors in these processes. She is working on a book manuscript that explores the mechanisms underlying the diffusion of petroleum fiscal systems across developing countries over the past half-century. Her dissertation research on this topic was supported by the National Science Foundation. In addition, her research examines the role of private corporations in international institutions and explores the distinctions between private consultants and other types of non-state actors engaged in policy diffusion.

Maria Akchurin

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2015–17

Maria Akchurin is a sociologist studying political processes around social and environmental policies in Latin America. Her dissertation research compares the privatization of urban water supply systems in Argentina and Chile from the late 1980s to the present, analyzing the implementation of the market paradigm in water and sanitation as well as social mobilization around water. In another recent project, she analyzed how the rights of nature were introduced into the Ecuadorian constitution. Her broader interests are in political sociology and mobilization, economy and society, and historical sociology. While at Buffett, she presented on Water, Environmental Conflict, and Mobilization in Chile.

Morgan Kaplan

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2017–19

Morgan Kaplan received his MA and PhD in political science at the University of Chicago. Prior to coming to the Buffett Institute, Kaplan was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School. His primary research examines the international politics of rebellion with a focus on how insurgent groups use international diplomacy to solicit third-party support. His research also examines intra-insurgent politics, international security, and state formation. The empirical focus of his work is on the Middle East, with a specialization in Kurdish and Palestinian politics. Kaplan has conducted field work in Iraqi Kurdistan, Israel-Palestine, Jordan, and the United Kingdom.

Kathleen Klaus

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2015–17

Kathleen Klaus received her PhD in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her BA from Smith College. Her dissertation and book project, Claiming Land: Institutions, Narratives, and Political Violence in Kenya, examines the relationship between land rights and electoral violence. She received support for her research from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the Strauss Center (UT-Austin), the United States Institute of Peace, the Social Science Research Council, and the NSF. Her broader research interests include political violence, African politics, elections, and field research methods. She has also conducted extensive fieldwork in Ghana and Malawi. While at Buffett, she presented Land Security and Patterns of Election Violence in Kenya.

Erin Moore

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2016–18

Erin Moore received her PhD from the University of Chicago in 2016. She is a sociocultural anthropologist interested in transnational processes, international development and global health, and the study of gender, sexuality, and youth. Her geographic focus is urban Uganda, and sub-Saharan Africa more broadly. Her doctoral research explores the global movement to “empower” adolescent girls as it unfolded through the transnational channels of a major NGO and into the lives of teenage women living in Kampala, Uganda’s capital.

Nermeen Mouftah

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2015–17

Nermeen Mouftah completed her doctoral work at the University of Toronto in 2014. Her ethnographic research explores how religion is defined, marshaled, and condoned in Egypt today by examining charitable and development interventions. She is currently developing her doctoral research into a monograph that examines a particular form of development—literacy development—in order to investigate how activism for, and techniques of, literacy are imbricated in religious reform that shape public religion in post-Mubarak Egypt. Her interaction with charitable organizations prompted her second major research project that explores how religion shapes the legal, biological, and affective negotiations involved in practices of orphan care. While at Buffett, she presented research on Islamic Literacy Activism in Egypt’s (Counter-) Revolution.

Irene Pang

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2017–18

Irene Pang is a political sociologist who received her PhD at Brown University and studies issues of citizenship and rights contestation in China and India. Her dissertation provides a comparative ethnographic account of the citizenship struggles of internal migrant construction workers in Beijing and Delhi. She analyzes how everyday lived experiences, as well as larger state, market, and civil society structures, give rise to various forms of citizen silencing and citizen resistance. Pang's broader research interests include development and sociology of the Global South, labor, dynamics of capitalism, and comparative research.

Başak Taraktaş

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2016–18

Başak Taraktaş earned her PhD from the Department of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania in 2016. Her dissertation investigates the effect of preference diversity and preference compatibility on cooperation for regime change among organized challengers to authoritarian regimes. This work fills the gap in regime literature by explaining the conditions under which challengers are able to form a coherent united oppositional coalition capable of changing the regime. Her research interests include political regimes, social movements, and financial and sovereign debt crises. Başak’s co-authored work on the 2013 Gezi protests won the Sidney Tarrow Best Article Prize.

Hollian Wint

Postdoctoral Fellow, 2016–18

Hollian Wint received her PhD from New York University in 2016. She specializes in the socio-financial history of East Africa, western India, and the Indian Ocean. Her current project charts the transformations of regional financial and familial networks in the aftermath of the abolition of slavery and the consolidation of British imperial rule in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Her research has received support from the American Institute of American Studies, the Fulbright-Hays, and the NYU-Abu Dhabi Humanities Institute. Hollian is a contributor to Perspectives of Female Researchers: Interdisciplinary Approaches to the Study of Gujarati Identities, ed. Sharmina Mawani and Anjoom A. Mukadam.