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Sarah Smierciak

  • Position: Assistant Professor
  • Department: Department of Political Science
Brief Biography

Sarah Smierciak holds a PhD in Middle East studies and a master’s in international development from the University of Oxford, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. She is a non-resident research fellow at Harvard University’s Middle East initiative. 

Smierciak's research sits at the intersection of international development and political economy in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), with a focus on poverty, inequality and corruption. She authored Cronyism and Elite Capture in Egypt: From Businessmen Cabinet to Military Inc. (Routledge 2021) and co-edited the Routledge Handbook on Contemporary Egypt (2021). Her monograph focuses on business-state relations in Egypt in the two decades leading up to the January 2011 uprising and its aftermath. 

As an analyst, Smierciak has written dozens of reports and policy briefs for international consulting firms on political and economic developments in the region. While at Oxford, she taught undergraduate courses on history and politics in the MENA. She has conducted research throughout Egypt and in Istanbul, Turkey, as a Fulbright scholar. She holds a BA in history and Middle East Studies from Northwestern University, where she graduated summa cum laude.

Research Interest
  • Political Economy 
  • International Development
  • Global North-South Relations
  • Political Economy of the Middle East
  • Elite Capture
  • Corruption 
  • Poverty and Inequality
  • Social Networks 
  • International Finance and Development
  • DPhil in Middle East Studies, University of Oxford
  • MPhil in International Development, University of Oxford
  • BA in History and Middle East Studies, Northwestern University