John Harbeson

Professor Emeritus

Main Affiliation

Political Science

John Harbeson


John Harbeson is currently Professor of Political Science Emeritus as well as a professorial lecturer for the African Studies Program, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies. He is a current member of the National Endowment for Democracy’s International Forum for Democratic Studies Research Council

Previously, he was a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace and a Visiting Fellow of the Center of International Studies at Princeton University. While on leave from his academic positions, he twice served in the U.S. Agency for International Development, most recently as Regional Democracy and Governance Advisor for Eastern and Southern Africa. Harbeson received grants from the MacArthur Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies. He has taught at the Universities of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Nairobi, and Kenya. He chairs the editorial board for the Lynne Rienner series on Challenge and Change in Contemporary African Politics. Combining the study of politics with its practice, he was twice elected to the Board of Trustees (city council) of Croton-on-Hudson, NY.


Ph.D. University of Wisconsin, 1970.

Research Interests

Professor Harbeson's research has centered on the comparative study of political change and the political economy of development in less developed countries, with a concentration on sub-Saharan Africa.


Nation Building in Kenya (Northwestern)
The Ethiopian Transformation: The Quest for the Post Imperial State (Westview)
Civil Society and the State in Africa (Lynne Rienner)
Africa in World Politics (ed.) (3rd. ed) (Westview)
The Military in African Politics (ed.) (Praeger)
Responsible Government: The Global Challenge (ed.) (University Press of America)
Rural Development in Ethiopian (ed.) (MichiganStateUniversity)