Zoe Marks Photo
Lecturer in Public Policy
Assistant: Beth Tremblay

Zoe Marks is a Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Her research and teaching focuses on the intersections of conflict and peacebuilding; gender and intersectional inequality; and African politics.

Dr. Marks has two book projects under way. Her first solo-authored book - Anatomy of an African Rebellion - examines how and why rebel groups can sustain a viable threat to the state without widespread support. It provides an in-depth case analysis of the internal dynamics of rebellion in Sierra Leone and draws on two years of fieldwork, several hundred interviews with former combatants, elected officials, and community members, as well as private archives from members of the Revolutionary United Front. 

Her second book project, Bread and Roses: Women at the Frontlines of Revolution, co-authored with Erica Chenoweth, documents the historic role women have played in violent and nonviolent mass movements globally since 1945. Drawing on a novel dataset on women in resistance (WiRe 2.0 and WiRe+), the authors argue that gender-inclusive mass movements are larger, more likely to succeed, and more likely to lead to democratic consolidation and gains in gender equality than movements dominated by men. It is under contract with Princeton University Press.

In addition to her work on civil war and revolutionary movements, Dr. Marks studies peacebuilding and community reintegration after war. Using surveys and social network analysis in Northeast Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, her research compares protracted conflict settings to explain how exposure to violence and conflict experiences affects intergroup reconciliation and peacebuilding.

Professor Marks is committed to creating space for conversations about ethical research praxis and making academia more inclusive. She has convened workshops related to decolonizing the academy and edited a special double issue of the journal Critical African Studies with colleagues at the University of Cape Town.

Her work has been supported by the UK Economic and Social Research Council, UK Department for International Development, Swedish Government's Folke Bernadotte Academy, British Academy, Carnegie Trust, US Fulbright Program, and Oxford Beit Fund. Her research has been published in leading journals in the field, including PLOS OnePolitical GeographyAfrican Affairs, and Civil Wars, and in peer-reviewed books and edited volumes from Oxford University and Palgrave press. Her dissertation received the Winchester Prize for the best dissertation in Politics at the University of Oxford. She serves on the editorial board for Civil Wars and editorial committee for the Journal of Peace Research, and chaired the editorial board for Critical African Studies (2016-2020). 

Dr. Marks holds a DPhil in Politics and a MSc in African Studies from the University of Oxford, and a BA in Government and African American Studies from Georgetown University. Prior to joining the Kennedy School, she was a Chancellor’s Fellow and Lecturer (tenured) at the University of Edinburgh, where she directed the masters program in African Studies and was Director of the University's Global Development Academy. She has previously worked for UN and non-governmental organizations in Ethiopia, France, Sierra Leone, South Africa, the UK, and the US.

Executive Education Programs

Transparent Engagement 

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Outside Professional Activities For Zoe Marks

Organization Relationship
Council on Foreign Relations Paid media appearance (may include written, audio, video, or other digital format)
United Nations University Consulting
United Nations University Reimbursed travel
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Consulting
Science Applications International Corporation Speaking engagement, invited lecture, or presentation


Assistant: Beth Tremblay


Human Rights
Fairness & Justice
Gender, Race & Identity
Poverty, Inequality & Opportunity
International Relations & Security

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Harvard Kennedy School
79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138