fbpx Zoe Marks | Harvard Kennedy School
Zoe Marks Photo
Lecturer in Public Policy
Assistant: Charlie Porter

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, racism, and 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 male-dominated movements. It is under contract with Princeton University Press.

Among other active projects, Dr. Marks is actively examining how wartime experiences shape individual wellbeing and community reintegration after war. Using surveys and social network analysis in Northeast Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the project compares protracted conflict settings to explain how mobilization for violence affects prospects for intergroup reconciliation and peacebuilding.

In addition to her research on peace and conflict, 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 with colleagues at the University of Cape Town edited a related special double issue of the journal Critical African Studies.

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 Political 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 boards for the journals Critical African Studies and Civil Wars, and on the editorial committee of the Journal of Peace Research

Dr. Marks holds a DPhil in Politics and 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 

Harvard Kennedy School is proud of its energetic involvement in the world. To better understand how to solve public problems by improving policy and leadership, we engage directly with policymakers, public leaders, governments, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit businesses whose activities affect those problems. However, we recognize that such engagement can raise questions about perceived and potential conflicts of interest, so we disclose publicly the key professional activities of our faculty outside the Kennedy School. The activities disclosed below are for the most recent reporting period, as defined by University policy. Some may be paid, some may be unpaid, and others may be in exchange for expense reimbursement only.

Outside Professional Activities For Zoe Marks

Organization Relationship
Council on Foreign Relations Paid media appearance (may include written, audio, video, or other digital format)
Folke Bernadotte Academy Reimbursed travel
Ms. Magazine Paid media appearance (may include written, audio, video, or other digital format)
Social and Economic Justice Leaders Consulting
The Implementation Group Consulting
United Nations University Consulting
United Nations University Reimbursed travel
University of Massachusetts - Amherst Consulting
Women Moving Millions Reimbursed travel
Women Moving Millions Speaking engagement, invited lecture, or presentation


Assistant: Charlie Porter


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

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Harvard Kennedy School
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